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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A rose by any other affiliation . . .

Leftie and Proud Democrat Oliver Willis has an interesting post happening over at Like Kryptonite for Stupid regarding bloggers and party identification. The meat of which states:
I've found this to be a remarkable phenomenon. In the blogosphere, you have almost a reverse dynamic to that found in the media. Overwhelmingly liberal bloggers identify themselves directly as Democrats. Yes, there are many who see the party as the lesser of two evils, and in their hearts would prefer Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader, but overwhelmingly I've found bloggers on the left have no problem saying "yep, I'm a Democrat" (I obviously count myself among that group).

But among bloggers on the right, it always seems that great pains are taken to make it clear that they are "independents" or "libertarians" - these are people who usually endorse much of the GOP agenda and reliably vote for Republicans - and they don't identify as "Republican". Yes, there are some like GOPBloggers who identify with the party, but that was essentially a recent development.
In wrapping up with a "What does it all mean?" paragraph, Willis concludes that it may be because Democrats are more proud of their party than the GOP and asks, "for all the handwringing of 'where do we stand' could it be that the donkey triumphs over the pachyderm?"

In addressing the post, Kos takes it one step farther by somehow coming up with the counterintuitive reasoning that the Left is much more likely to take on their party than is the Right "who are loathe to stray too far from Approved Party Orthodoxy." In an unsurprising finale of rhetorical excess, he closes with the following questions:

Is it the Fox News Effect? Do they think they are more effective or persuasive if they pretend to be unpartisan? Or are they simply embarrassed of being associated too publicly with the party of hate, war, and religious extremists?
I have no idea if Willis' assertion is true, but as a crazyrightwingnut who has not been affiliated with a party in years, I'm willing to accept it. As far as it goes, I'm also willing to accept the first part of Willis' statement that the Left is more proud of the Democratic Party than the Right is of the GOP. Of course, that doesn't really mean anything. Looking at it logically, this would most likely result from the fact that the Left believes the Democrat party achieves its goals more than the Right believes that the GOP achieves its goals. But wait -- isn't that counter to the Democrat mantra that the GOP has been "captured" by the extremists on the right while they are the party of the middle?

For what it's worth, I think Kos's comments are nothing more than red-state baiting. If those on the Right really were fearful of challenging the "Approved Party Orthodoxy" then why do more of us disassociate ourselves from the party? Additionally, Kos seems to be assuming that those disassociating themselves from the GOP are so-called "moderates," whereas it seems clear from Willis's commentary that the bloggers in question are, like me, philosophically to the right of the party.

While I can only speak for myself, I can speculate on the answer to the underlying questions. I believe that the tendency of Conservative/Libertarian types to eschew the GOP label draws from several sources:

1. As alluded to by Willis, true Conservatives aren't big joiners. We believe in the decentralization and the power and the responsibility of the individual to better himself. Most of us don't feel the need to bond together to support our political beliefs.

2. The GOP is simply not as Conservative as the Democrat party is Liberal. Despite mounds of Leftie rhetoric, the GOP is generally more centrist than portrayed. Look at Bush's accomplishments: increased Medicare spending, increased general spending, McCain-Feingold, increased immigration. These are hardly right-wing mantras. And the "centrist" Democrats? They nominate the most liberal member of the Senate to carry their presidential banner. Sure, Bush pays lip service to opposing gay marriage and abortion-on-demand, but that hardly puts him to the right of the American public. The fact is, Liberals don't flee the Democrat party because they really have no reason to, but Conservatives often don't have a voice in Republican party matters.

3. Conservatives are simply less inclined to accept the lesser of two evils. Whether it is due to principle, political strategy, or both, Conservatives don't like to compromise on their core beliefs, and, as discussed in #2, the GOP often forces Conservatives to do just that. So contrary to Kos's assertions, we leave the party not because it is too extreme, but because it is too much like the Democrat party.

Personally, I don't care if the Left calls themselves Democrats or Democratic Socialists, it doesn't change the fact that their policies are bad for the country. I also don't care what the Republican Party calls itself, if it continues to compromise what once was its core beliefs then I will always be an independant.
Centinel 1:16 PM #


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