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View Diary: Brad Carson speaks - and pens a brilliant TNR article (348 comments)

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  •  Carson's Response to Frank not Unlike Lakoff's (4.00)
    That is, Lakoff also stresses that it isn't enough to just explain to people that they are voting against their economic self-interest.

    People do not necessarily vote in their self-interest. They vote their identity. They vote their values. They vote for who they identify with.

    (Don't Think of an Elephant, 19).

    The major difference between Lakoff and Carson is that Lakoff argues for counterposing an alternate, progressive set of moral values while Carson (from the excerpt you gave) seems to be implying that we need to understand and appeal to those who reject modernity.  And if this is the case, then my reaction would be the same as Chris Bowers's in his post below:  those who reject modernity entirely are beyond our scope.  We can never fully appeal to them and remain progressives.  This makes our task extremely difficult -- especially in places like Oklahoma -- but not impossible.  The pre-modernists may be a large (and growing) minority in America, but they are not a majority.  If they constitute a 30% (pulling a number out of my ass) conservative bedrock base, then we are really limited to the other 21% (or whatever number it is) who voted for W. last week.

    But Carson's diagnosis is brilliant and is perhaps more evocative than Lakoff's.  Both, however, return us to something that has been bubbling up for some time and now seems to be demanding attention:  the need for progressives to articulate our political ideology in moral/philosophical terms and to proceed from this, rather than by the DLC method of practical politics -- which has proven not so practical at all.

    -- Stu

    •  Yeah (none)
      but its a continuum. All the way from fringe militia group and radical Christian separatists to folks who are evangelical Christians and participate in and enjoy (to an extent) "mainstream" culture (dubbed "freestyle evangelicals" in some places who have voted for Democrats (and would in the future - and I'm not just talking about Bill Clinton)

      So this impulse covers a broad range of reactions from dangerous lunatics like David Koresh and Bo Gritz to people on the edge of that - or on the right border of the current GOP - like James Dobson and James Inhofe to "mainstream" righties like W to "freestyle evangelicals."

      Ben P

      The United States has a conservative political culture defending a liberal heritage. The modern Republican Party's problem is that it is neither.

      by Ben P on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:35:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: Carson's Response to Frank (4.00)
      "...the need for progressives to articulate our political ideology in moral/philosophical terms and to proceed from this, rather than by the DLC method of practical politics -- which has proven not so practical at all."

      Many folks who hate the DLC "brand" would actually find lots to chew on if they explored the details of the DLC's ideas.

      Almost everything Carson is saying could come straight out of a DLC panel.  The DLC has always been about trying to use Democratic issues to communicate a larger message about values that would appeal to a broad mainstream of America.

      •  Sorry the core of dlc politics as antipopulism (none)
        particularly economic populism though they smacking Hollywood and Sister Soulja every once in while, they would never bitch enron and Halburton or MBNA America.  They take too much money from them.

        Today there target is Michael Moore.  Look at my diary  Michael Moore is a man from Michigan not Hollywood, but their slimey bastards so the repeat this meme anyway.

    •  Modernity or Barbarism (4.00)
      To paraphrase Rosa Luxemburg's famous line "Socialism or Barbarism"...

      If Carson is right and modernity itself is the issue, then there's really no point in trying to "reach out" to the red-state goobers who voted for Bush.  Reaching out would be totally unconvincing; we might as well "reach out" by watching Home Shopping Network and eating Russell Stover candies, or by driving around in battered pickups with gun racks.  Rollerskates on a cow.  Besides which, what is there to "reach out" for if the people concerned are basically at war with the modern world, that is, with us?  Might as well try to reach out to the Taliban.  

      Nope.  The Lakoff line is more convincing.  There is a moral dimension to modernity and we need to start emphasizing that, even if it means sounding like 18th century philosophes or 19th century Whigs.  Of course, we'll have to give up a lot of post-1968 intellectual luxuries--postmodernism, par exemple.  But our society has really reached a fork in the road as definitive as that other fork in the road that emerged in the late 1850s.  A house divided against itself--half modern and half barbaric--cannot stand.  It must become all one thing, or all the other.  

      I never rode shotgun on a hearse before.

      by angry blue planet on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:39:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  every four years the electorate will have a new... (none)
        generation of young adults, and young adults tend to have a more modern set of frames than their elder counterparts. Young voters were the only age bracket that collectively voted for Kerry over Bush, and there's more of us coming!

        Where the DEVIL is Greendale?

        by ozretiro on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 09:34:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They aren't (none)
          harkening back to the realities of 20 or 30 years ago ... they are remembering an imagined golden age, yearning for a return to this utopian vision, not so much for its own merritts, but for its opposition to the distasteful present.

          If framed in this context, we, as Progressives, should be able to kick ass in this debate. The Republicans are advocating more of the same - we're advocating the CHANGE and REFORM that is driving them.

          btw, We on the left do the same thing, just in a different fashion. Remember Jimmy Carter? He was horrendously unpopular among progressives and Republicans alike when he was actually president ... now we are in love with the guy? JFK? We love the guy now ... despite his horrific handling of the Cuban and Vietnam situations or the fact that he did next to nothing progressive domestically. In retrospect, though, they were a hell of a lot better than what we have now, so we romanticize the hell out of them and anoint them as semi-dieties.

          "Do what you've put off until tomorrow, it has now become today." ~Garth Brooks

          by devo on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 11:28:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That may be true... (none)
          but the entire electorate ages while new voters enter, and of course the oldest fall off the end of the curve as they die. At present the tall part of the curve is the baby boomers, which are of course older and are likely gradually becoming more conservative. The country probably won't move back towards a true political center until that bubble diminishes, I think. If my hypothesis is true that the baby boom bubble is what's dragging the political spectrum towards the conservative end of things at present, then I would also predict that this right-leaning direction won't reverse for some time yet.
    •  if you can't win on modernity, (none)
      make the republicans lose on it. they are soulless capitalists every bit as much and more as we are soulless socialists.
    •  We don't want to "convert" them all... (none)
      Nor can we. Right now it would be enough to clearly win over 5% of them. That would've given Kerry a 53%-46% victory, and probably pulled a bunch of Senate and House races along for the ride.

      Of course it's entirely possible that actually happened...

      Visit The Blog Roundup - the Best of Politics on the Web.

      by Trendar on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 10:09:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Picking some nits ... (none)
        But that would actually be winning over at least 10% of them, if we assume that THEY represent all of Bush's voters, then THEY make up essentially 50% of the voting populous, so to shift the overall result 5 points, entirely among one subgroup that is composed of half of the population, you'd be moving 5 out of 50, which, of course, is 10%.

        "Do what you've put off until tomorrow, it has now become today." ~Garth Brooks

        by devo on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 11:31:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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