The Washington Post had a rather interesting story on how the radical “netroots” are targeting a moderate California Congresswoman:
The Democratic majority was only three weeks old, but by Jan. 26, the grass-roots and Net-roots activists of the party’s left wing had already settled on their new enemy: Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.), the outspoken chair of the centrist New Democrat Coalition.
Progressive blogs — including two new ones, Ellen Tauscher Weekly and Dump Ellen Tauscher — were bashing her as a traitor to her party. A new liberal political action committee had just named her its “Worst Offender.” And in Tauscher’s East Bay district office that day in January, eight MoveOn.org activists were accusing her of helping President Bush send more troops to Iraq.
Politically, the netroots are probably the worst thing that could happen to the Democratic Party. They got lucky in 2006 — endorsing Democrats in a Democratic year will guarantee you win, but for the long-term future of the Democratic Party they’re only going to push the Democrats farther and farther to their radical leftist vision. You have a group of people who have absolutely no sense of compromise and will try and destroy anyone who doesn’t meet their ideological purity tests now grabbing the Democrats by the hair and screaming if they so much as protest.
If I were a moderate Democrat, I’d be scared as hell.
Why do these guys like Kos and Ralph Reed and the rest of them always get so drunk on themselves and start acting so creepy and intolerant the minute they gain the slightest pull over others? Where does their humanity go?
I’m not talking about not pushing hard or maintaining all the necessary ego for the fight. I’m talking that nasty, creepy, hate-filled sense or moral superiority that I associate with fascism and other over-the-top, emotionally distorted, authoritarian tendencies we normally link to retarded social development?
It’s just so pathetically millennial.
Why does America so often nowadays see its politically ambitious types grow so power mad so fast?
It’s just really depressing because it’s so childish, in that devolving sort of way. Most of these people I wouldn’t want anywhere near my kids. I feel dirty enough when they spew their bile here or wherever else I get posted. You just want to keep your distance from these types, like the nasty drunks in the bar or the impotent creeps who threaten your family.
It is disturbing. It isn’t necessarily unprecedent — American politics has frequently been just as vitriolic, but the effect of mass media has been to make things worse rather than better. What is the message that’s being sent by the “netroots” these days? That either you do what we want or we’ll “take you down?” If you’re a Catholic Democrat who believes strongly in the Democratic Party due to your views on social responsibility, what is your reaction to Amanda Marcotte going to be? Is that going to make you more likely to vote Democratic? What about someone who is a moderate in the vein of Ellen Tauscher? The message that’s being sent by the “netroots” is you’re not partisan enough to be a “real” Democrat.
There’s no question that the “netroots” can do what they’re doing. If they want to drive the Democrats over a cliff, that’s their prerogative. However, the question that the “netroots” should be asking is whether they should be engaging in activities that alienate their own moderates.
That’s the problem with extremists. They never bother to examine the consequences of their actions, and in a party motivated by the most base hatred of the opposition, disagreement is treason and moderation is evil. It’s interesting how much projection is involved in all the critiques of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that float around the left-wing of the blogosphere.
Sooner or later the Republicans will wake up to the fact that moderates define elections — and when they do, the result could well be a political realignment the likes of which we haven’t seen in a very long while…