Burning The Heretics

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.

Thomas Barnett finds it all to be a sign of a group of people who have gotten too big for their britches:

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…

36 thoughts on “Burning The Heretics

  1. Jay Reding… “If I were a moderate Democrat, I’d be scared as hell.”

    That must mean you are packing a nice steamy pantload all the time. That’s good. Just don’t sit down. Keep running.

  2. hey, you know how districts that are REALLY conservative usually have REALLY conservative representatives and moderately conservative districts usually elect moderate conservative representatives and moderate democratic districts tend to elect moderate democracts and really liberal districts tend to elect really liberal people? ellen tauscher is in a damn liberal district and she ain’t no damn liberal but she still has to represent THEM and, if not through a primary challenge from her left, how will she ever feel the pressure of her constituency (certainly it won’t be through fear of losing to a republican)? She’s not owed anything by the people who elected her. Who loses if she’s upset in the primary? Not her constituents, who would have a person more in line with their political philosophy as their federal representative. The only loser would be ellen tauscher, the person, the individual. this is politics. no play nicey.

    By the way, Kos doesn’t want lefty insurgents in every district pulling the party to some radical fringe. he wants democrats who can garner votes. if there are enough votes to elect someone on tauscher’s left in her district, SO F’IN WHAT? I’m sure you were complaining vociferously about the radical right ruining the party with its support of Toomey over Specter. That support came in spite of the fact that Toomey would have been annihilated in the general, whereas a potential lefty tauscher replacement would still win.

  3. If I were a moderate Democrat, I’d be scared as hell.

    Your concern is noted. Thanks for your concern.

    Now, we’ve got Republicans to unemploy, gotta go.

  4. Mr. Reding,
    Congratulations for defining, not the Democratic Party, but the Republican Party. Projection, indeed…
    For the past 40+ years, Republican’s have been becoming more and more extreme. The netroots that you condemn on the Democratic side are nothing compared to the “root’s” built and solidified by the Right. They have used churches as the medium to fertilize their extremism. They have manipulated “people of faith” to help build the foundation of their power. They have twisted the various communications mediums, which are not “Liberal” at all, to demonize those of us who disagree with them. Power abhors dissention.
    The hatred and vitriol of the right is evident anywhere you look – if you care to look. Just turn to the AM dial. Today. Rush, Savage, Hannity, Beck, etc. I know they are probably heroes to many. But, listen to them again with a dispassionate mind and you will hear, as I have for years, the demonization of those who disagree with the host. They bend the truth to suit their ends. They bend it until it snaps like a tiny branch in the face of a hurricane. And when you call them on their lies, for that is what they are, they source one another to reinforce that what they said is the truth.
    During the Clinton years, they were anti-authority. Now, under a right wing Republican President, authority must be followed and even worshipped, as if it can do no wrong. President Bush is the “Commander in Chief” only to those in the military. He is no more my “Commander in Chief” than he is yours, unless you are in the military. He is our President. And I will say no more lest I really offend those who read this site.
    Yes, a lot of us are angry. But we feel that we have good cause. We are called traitors. People like Coulter and Malkin (and countless others) call for us to be jailed, or worse yet, hung.
    If anyone cares to read our history, our Founding Father’s were “Liberals” and “Progressives.” Those who were the “Conservatives” of their times, supported the King. Ironically, King George…
    In today’s world, Thomas Paine would be demonized as a hysterical and shrill maniac blogging on his site “Common Sense.” Adams, Franklin, Henry, and Washington would have blogs like Daily Kos, Eschaton, Mahablog and Huffington Post. Supporters of King George woud read Instapundit, Malkin and Coulter.
    Yes, extremism is bad. From either side. But the middle, where I resided, has now moved so far to the right that it appears that I’m sitting next to Marx, Lenin and Mao. I’m not. I’m a little to the left-of-center Democrat – as I always have been. But, the past 40+ years have turned me into some frothing maniac in some peoples eyes. It’s not me who has changed, it is the country around me.
    And, if by holding this position, it causes you to want to hang me, go ahead and get some rope. Just don’t expect me to stand still while you try to lynch me. I don’t want to be dangling from a tree like some “Strange Fruit.” And I’ll be damned if I let you do it without a fight.
    That’s why I blog.
    Mu message to you is to look yourselves in the mirror “and judge not, lest you be judged.”
    Peace, out…

  5. Oh yeah, those moderates. The same ones (like Jay) who supported the Iraq
    war. Woooohoooooooo!!! BRING IT ON, BABY!!!!

  6. How about the right wing’s hatred of Clinton simply because he is a Democrat?
    I have never read a liberal blog where they call for an assasination of a Supreme Court Judge the way the right wing pin-up “girl” Ann Coulter does.
    You make it sound like only “liberal” blogs are nasty and hateful. Have you ever listened to the radio junkie Rush Limbaugh? Does the name Sean Hannity ring a bell?
    Michael savage Weiner?
    The list of raving lunatics on the right is nearly endless.

  7. sounds like the “Club for Growth” to me. banishing anyone who doesn’t adhere to their strict fascist mentality. yep. if i were a moderate republican,….

    oh wait, that’s right, they all dried up and blew away when karl rove huffed and puffed.

  8. Jay,

    Kos is a political activist who is challenging the congresswoman from California on political positions she has taken and which he believes are bad for the future of the Democratic party, much as Grover Norquist challenges politicians who raise taxes. You, in my opinion, rightly point out the danger of this kind of approach, that alienating moderate supporters is perhaps not the best direction the party can take.

    Both positions are perfectly reasonable and fit neatly into what I would call common political discourse. Thomas Barnett’s comment likening the founder of Daily Kos to those who would threaten his children does not, and is a perfect example of the very nastiness he, and by quoting him, you are condemning.

    Making sense is never easy, but attempting to is important.

  9. Ho Hum. Another post from a concern troll. Guess what. We Democrats have finally figured out that we certainly are not goign to take advice from someone in the ‘Always Wrong’ party. Nice try though.

  10. Gee, isn’t this post somewhat hysterical? In fact, isn’t it exactly the kind of intemperate speech, filled with sneering, ad hominem attack, that the “netroots” are so often accused of indulging in?

    The campaign against Tauscher is based on dissatisfaction with her position on specific issues. Such conflicts are exactly what politics are, or at least should be, all about. (But perhaps you, like many who earn their bread and butter as part of a professional political media and consultant class, prefer a politics that, while bearing little on the real concerns and interests of ordinary voters, naturally strengthens media power because it is totally dependent on media cooperation — that is, the distractions of unresolvable “culture war” and the titillating pleasures of trumped up “character” assassination and scandal?)

    However you dress it up, people — all across the political spectrum — participate in politics and vote based on their own self-interest and their view of the broader best interest of the country. Left, right or center, people want, and have a right to, representation. No one votes for someone to be lukewarm and “moderate” in representing their interests and hopes for their community and country.

    Those who object to Tauscher as someone who poorly represents them may or may not be ultimately successful with replacing her, or encouraging her to act in a way that is more representative of their views and interests. But, in acting to secure representation for themselves, they are doing EXACTLY what is required of us all as active, participating citizens in a democracy.

  11. Boy, Jay! Reading this, then reading your sunny predictions about Iraq makes you appear to be in a mental rut. The kind of rut where you say the middle has to be the best position, and then just pick rationalizations. Bush and the Republicans have led our nation into great failures–why would you compromise with failure?

  12. Oh, and about Catholicism and patriarchy. I have an aunt who is an old nun. She earned a masters in theology, but because she was born without a Y chromosome, she can never be a priest. No matter her intellectual accomplishments, she’ll always be second-tier to the Church. Of course, Mr. Donohue of the Catholic League thinks being a woman is a justifiable disqualification to being a priest. Do you think Donohue is a reasonable man?

  13. Jeebus, Jay.

    You’re still cluless.

    Tauscher’s dustrict went %60 for Kerry in 2004. The point of challenging her is to either get her to actually REPRESENT her district, or put someone in there who will do it if she refuses.

    We aren’t encouraging leftwing challengers in moderate congressional districts, nimrod.

    And, what exactly is this “radical leftist vision” your are moaning about? Please point out ANY positions heald by the liberal netroots that are not either agreed with by a MAJORITY of the voters, right now, or are at least firmly in the mainstream of American politics.

    Do it, or shut the F up.

  14. Yes, God forbid the people’s representatives be held accountable by…er…the people they…um…represent…


    …never mind…

  15. There’s no reason why this isn’t doable. Deposing Hussein will the easy part. Remember that people were saying that Afghanistan would be “the graveyard of empires” and that we’d have no better luck than the Russians? It turned out that Afghanistan can be won… and since we didn’t come to colonize or conquer, we proved those predictions to be wrong. Iraq will be little different.

    Man, it’s like you’re psychic or something.

  16. So when you say “meet their ideological purity test,” are you referring to radical lefties like Jim Webb, Ronald Reagan’s Navy Secretary?

    When you say “If I was a moderate Democrat, I’d be scared as hell,” are you referring to Jon Tester?

    Maybe you should run this idea by Heath Schuler and Tammy Duckworth.

    Anyway, I guess this means that the “Democrats only won because they supported conservatives” line is no longer operative; that the new line is “Democrats won by supporting radical lefties, but they just got lucky; and that we’ve always been at war with Oceana.

  17. Loser.

    What you’re petrified of is people having a real choice. And given a real choice, the GOP will be relegated to weeping on the sidelines.

  18. Jay,
    You analysis only makes sense if we can ignore the past, forget that Reagan, Newt, Delay and Bush ever happened. Forget that Fox News exists. Forget that the American Enterprise Institute exists, the Cato institute, The Olin Foundation, Scaife, not to mention all the political right wing churches and preachers. In short we have to forget that the political culture of America has shifted rightward a whole heck of a lot in the last 30 years.

    What good red blooded Americans used to call the center is now on the left of the Democratic Party.

    So a primary challange to Taucher is a primary challange by a centrist democrat on a right wing democrat. Sounds like a win for America to me.

  19. “Kos and Ralph Reed”? Now there’s a well justified juxtaposition! Everybody knows those two are just two little ol’ peas in a pod.

  20. Your ability to see the future isn’t exactly prescient:
    “Deposing Hussein will the easy part. Remember that people were saying that Afghanistan would be “the graveyard of empires” and that we’d have no better luck than the Russians? It turned out that Afghanistan can be won… and since we didn’t come to colonize or conquer, we proved those predictions to be wrong. Iraq will be little different.

    If anything, Iraq will be easier than Afghanistan. ”

    I take this sign (i.e. whatever you say the opposite is more likely true) to mean the ‘netroots’ are the best thing to happen in politics in a long, long time.
    P.S. Just because someone is considered part of the Netroots does not make them radical. Kos is more mainstream then Tauscher, and his views certainly represent Tauscher’s district more than her own do.

  21. Kos is an extremist?

    Gimme a break.
    The center has been pushed so far to the right that Kos is considered a far left extremist!


  22. The Daily Brew
    February 23, 2007
    Cheney Is Full Of Shit.

    We aren’t leaving. At least until 2009. That much is indisputable. Which means that the entire 2008 presidential campaign is going to be held hostage by the war. Even though Bush will not be on the ballot, for the next two years the political discourse will still be dominated by the death throes of George Bush’s gangrenous legacy, as it grinds itself to its bitter and inevitable conclusion in the Mesopotamian desert.

    But just because the final epitaph of the Bush presidency is already effectively written, does not mean we are going to escape the insane ramblings of the vice president who actually runs the country. He will continue to argue, as he did yesterday, that leaving is losing, and walking away would embolden Al Qaeda.

    Let us meet Cheney’s challenge head on. How risky could it be? We are, after all, only questioning the wisdom of a man who has gotten virtually everything wrong for his entire career.

    The vice president says that leaving Iraq would free Al Qaeda to gain control of Iraq, which it would then use as a springboard to attack the United States. This argument is absurd on its face. Nothing made Osama bin Laden quite as happy as Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and nothing would cause them more problems than our leaving. The fact of the matter is that the United States continued presence in Iraq creates just enough stability for Al Qaeda to survive. Remove the United States military from the picture, and Al Qaeda is going to have a hell of a fight on their hands.

    Scanning the players who will be left in Iraq after the United States departs, it is clear who will be the odd man out. Saddam Hussein and his Sunni Baath Party were secular politicians who ran perhaps the most westernized country in the Arab world. Osama bin Laden, if he is still alive, is a fundamentalist Wahhabi Muslim, dedicated to returning Islam to the seventh century. These two worldviews are fundamentally at odds with one another.

    Nor does Al Qaeda find any sustenance among Iraq’s Kurdish or Shiite populations. Every day, Al Qaeda sets off a car bomb killing dozens and sometimes hundreds of Iraq’s majority Shiite population. Is there any doubt that if the United States military was removed from the picture that the Shiite militiamen of the Mahdi army would immediately double their efforts to track down these Al Qaeda fighters to drill holes in their heads with power tools?

    The vice president’s suggestion that upon our departure Al Qaeda will take over Iraq is like suggesting that if the Securities and Exchange Commission went out of business a handful of day traders would take over Wall Street. Goldman Sachs and Citibank likely disagree.

    The unfortunate reality is that no matter what we do, Iraq is and will be a failed state. We have run out of Friedmans, there is no pony to be found, and we are three chances past our last one. The professional, technical and managerial expertise necessary to build a functioning society has already left Iraq in the form of him Iraqi citizens fleeing to Jordan and Syria. All that is left is a poor and embittered portion of the population, destined to fight one another in a bloody and brutal civil war. We cannot stop that war. We can barely contain its pace. But no one should think for an instant that Al Qaeda stands to gain anything from that battle. Al Qaeda will almost certainly be among the first to die.

    Being of pure heart and empty head, I still hold out the naïve hope that the ongoing macabre specter of death and destruction inflicted on the cradle of civilization by the Republican Party might cause our national press corps to treat this election differently than a seventh-grade slam book. But they’ve never failed to disappoint. Thus, ever the eager helper, I have a suggestion for those who, like me, who seek to add our own voices in the hopes of changing the milieu. In a vain effort that we might steer the discussion toward something more serious than the cat fights of the celebrity donor set and their catty courtiers at the New York Times, let’s stick with the obvious arguments.

    Bush already lost the war. Iraq is already a failed state. And that the quickest, best, and probably only way to disinfect Iraq of Al Qaeda, is to simply get out of the way and let the people who live there do it for us.

    sign up to receive future columns by entering your email address here: http://brew.notifylist.com/thedailybrew.html

  23. Dude, thanks for getting my back when I was lying to the country about Iraq. Can you please join the Army so we can make our recruiting goals.

    Seriously, this is the last favor I’ll ever ask.

  24. Jay, just read some of your thoughts on Eschaton. In a world of opinions, you remind me that so many of them are like assholes.

    The military needs your warm body to catch bullets. I served. When you finish blowing hot air at your computer screen, you should get your war-loving backside to a recruiter.



  25. Politically, the netroots are probably the worst thing that could happen to the Democratic Party. They got lucky in 2006 . . .

    Well, that’s where you and I part ways. I don’t think there is any “luck” in elections.

    When Bush won in 2004, it wasn’t “luck,” anymore than the Democratic takeover of the
    Congress in 2006 was “luck.” In both cases, victory didn’t just fall into the laps of the victors, but was the result of very intensive organization and planning.

    Oh yeah, and a WHOLE lot of money. In the case of the Democrats, as you know, much of that money was raised online, so it’s pretty hard to make the argument that the netroots are bad for the Democrats.

    One more thing, while we’re at it. If your predictions about Iraq are any indication of your prognostication skills, then your prescription for the Democrats really, REALLY needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

  26. Jay,

    Boy, they really came out of the woodwork on this one! Keep it up, reading responses like this is a great way to improve one’s mood at work!

  27. Didn’t you used to be Peter Frampton?

    I guess Peter Frampton is still relevant.

    “Conservative with Attitude”

    Really? I think Charlie Manson has some attitude problems as well.

  28. Congratulations, Jay, this is wonderful stuff!! It’s almost like a solid phalanx of lock-stepping incipid, stupid, barking moonbat madhatters has invaded your blog to make poopy.

  29. Eracus, actually it’s kind of an ominous sign of how outnumbered you are becoming. Even a conservative blog “with attitude” is being suffocated by the disproportionate chorus of rational voices calling the blogger’s bluff. Your world is getting smaller and smaller, buddy. But then again, you were being persecuted into oblivion even when you controlled every level of government a couple years back.

  30. Well, it does certainly seem to be a cacaphony (sic) of burnt heads and blown minds, that’s for sure, Mark, no doubt all waste products of a failed public school system and what’s left of the moribund institutions that pass for higher learning these days. Being totally daft, up to your shoulders in buttcheeks, or high as a kite seems to be the only precondition for such a fantasamorgasm as this, but I suppose when the weed is so incredibly good the presiding moonbat braintrust doesn’t have to re-fill the bong as often. Like, wow, man!

    Only another insipid stoned barking moonbat would consider any of the above even remotely “rational,” Mark, which has only proved Jay Reding correct when he points out again how the Left in this country has come completely unhinged. I’d say these poseurs have validated and confirmed his argument better than he ever could have done so himself.

    Good show!! Bravo!!

  31. Eracus, but isn’t it intriguing how your cries of unhinged moonbatism of the left become increasingly shrill, the voting public’s response is to agree with them when they step into the voting booth or when they answer opinion polls on political party preference. I pray every night that you and your ilk continue to ratchet up the ferocious rhetoric demeaning Americans’ shift to the left, thereby marginalizing the once-strong conservative movement to a tinier and tinier corner of the globe. Pretty soon, you and your fellow skinheads with the Bemidji Free People’s Militia will be the only true believers left. Might I suggest you respond with mass group suicide?

  32. What’s intriquing is your escalating and compounding delusions, Mark, a verifiable blossoming of untreated psychopathology. You need a reality check and probably some Haldol.

    The American people do not like to lose wars. We especially do not like to quit in the middle of one. The American people most certainly do not wish to be defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, and neither do we appreciate having our beloved American soldiers cut off at the knees on the battlefield by a bunch of stuffed-shirted, pants-suited, self-possessed Democrat Party cowards who either can’t stomach a fight or won’t fight to win unless it’s for the other side.

    The American people also hate Islamic terrorists as much as we unconditionally love our sons and daughters in uniform. So it should come as no surprise that we absolutely love our military even more than the radical Left and their Democrat synchophants despise it. It’s a free country, but it’s gonna get real hard out there for any liberal Democrat pimp who shits on the grave of a fallen American soldier. Trust me, disgrace and dishonor is no way to win an American election, and your party, the Democrat Party, already owns every national disgrace and dishonor and any military defeat that should ever come out of Iraq. The American people already recognize and will well remember for generations to come whose side the Democrat majority was on in this war, and that its goal was not American victory, but American defeat.

    Every bit as despicable is your honest and true, even earnest, partisan self-revelation that you wish your own countrymen death by mass suicide as a way to advance your own and your Party’s transparent political ambitions. Do you not recognize yourself as a sick and disturbed human being? Or is this just the new standard of the latest flying monkey, barking moonbat, liberal Democrat universal condemnation of free speech and open debate? Have you not just proved everything I’ve said about your and the Democrat Party’s embrace of Marxist-Leninism, of totalitarian government with its death camps and ethnic cleansing of all those who disagree with your point of view? Of course you have, without even blinking an eye, and all in true loyal little communist fashion. You could not have made it more clear.

    If you do not immediately apologize specifically and contritely, Mark, if you do not accept responsibility for what is indisputably a most despicable and inflammatory remark, we will all of us assume you know exactly what you are saying, that you mean what you are saying without reservation or remorse, and that the death of all those who disagree with you and your angry clown posse is clearly and irrefutably where you stand.

    And where you have always stood, exactly as I have described.

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