December 08, 2004

Taking Liberalism Back

If you’ve read a political blog in the past week, you’ve already heard all about Peter Beinart’s New Republic cover story, “A Fighting Faith,” in which he argues that the Democrats of today should emulate the liberals of 1947 who vocally distanced themselves from communism, by recognizing the inherent illiberalism of terrorism, and by extension, the party's own left wing.

As a good TNR liberal, I agree with about 95% of the piece- liberals should be as vigilant about fighting the war on terror as anyone, simply because reactionary Islamo-fascism is just about the least liberal force on Earth right now, just as Nazism and communism were in the earlier and later parts of the 20th century.

While I believe the Democrats should indeed distance themselves from such extremists as Michael Moore and the crowd, I don’t exactly advocate a “purge” of such individuals. One, purges aren’t so liberal; two, the Democrats need both the left and the center to win elections, and three, even if the 2008 nominee denounces Moore up and down, the Republicans will still pretend as though Fat Fat Fatty is the party’s vice presidential nominee.

Some have compared a hypothetical Democratic trashing of Moore to a “Sister Souljah moment,” but such an analysis ignores that while Sister Souljah was just some obscure rapper who no one had ever heard of at that time, Moore (noxious as he is) is actually a viable political figure. I admire Beinart’s piece and consider it an important piece of political writing, but his solutions are just a bit too simple.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 8, 2004 11:05 PM

Beinart isn't selling "solutions." He is recommending a few steps(of many)that need to be taken if Democrats ever hope to win a national election in the near future--not to mention be taken seriously as a viable alternative. From what I have read of the reaction to his article among liberals/progressives, the Republicans have nothing to worry about--very few on the left are responding to his article with anything like sober reflection.

Posted by: DBrooks at December 8, 2004 11:18 PM
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