Way back in the the 1960s, there were young liberals that were strongly energized by the victories obtained via nonviolent direct action of the Civil Rights movement and university protests. A very small number of these young people became radicalized during the later 60s anti-war movement, and engaged in every behavior that would anger their square elders.
Thus the 60s radical was born.
And conservatives saw this, thought that it was good, and have used it to bring themselves up from the ashes. Thanks to 60s radical, they could paint their positions as sane and grown up.
40 to 50 years later, The ghost of the 60s radical still haunts us. It still haunts even progressives and liberals.
I have good news to tell you:
liberals today are pragmatics
At least most of them. There are still some radical cranks here and there, but they have always existed.
Most people in DK fall in the pragmatic camp. Most successful bloggers that I read are pragmatic liberals.
Some people will disagree with this, but consider the following: the recent discussions on the health care reform bill have really centered on policy, negotiation, and 2010 midterm electoral returns.
If there are people who are angry about the exclusion of the public option, it is not because it was a holy grail(it wasn't) but because it was the compromise they had settled for and now it was going to be taken away.
Way am I stating the obvious then?
Because I feel that our aged congressional Democrats are still fighting hard against being clumped up with the 60s radical.
Because people who are making entirely rational and pragmatic arguments get accused of being the 60s radicals. They won't call them that, but the meme of the morally pure idealistic but impractical person finds many ways of manifesting themselves.
Because many liberals still feel the need to qualify with identity as liberals by slapping the name "pragmatic" after it.
And specifically, the divide between those who support the health care bill and those who oppose it, and those who support Obama and those who are disenchanted with him is between two different pragmatists with differences of opinion, all who happen to be liberal.
Let's drop this old stereotype that only truly applied to a small number of people anyway.
Yes, we still have radical today, but they are different. They are still angry, but now they are conservative and wear hat with hanging tea bags. And they don't really come to DK in any case.