So the Third Way's Scott Winship is still hung up on labels:

The biggest issue folks had with my last post was with my claim that the country tilts right of center. Since I indicated yesterday that I'd defend that claim today—yes, I realize that I didn't provide much evidence yesterday—and since I'm intending this post to be an example of the kind of evidence-based argumentation that I have in mind, let's get this party started.

Winship's proof? why self-indentification polls of course. Well, I self identify myself as a Centrist. Who disagrees with me on that? Let's face it, labels mean nothing as to what people believe on specific issues and that really is the point isn't it? Winship mentions Paul Waldman's argument on the issue (which, for those who care, I am looking at you my good friend Ed Kilgore, is the whole point of the Politics of Contrast - make folks deal with the actual stances of the two parties) and promises, eventually, to actually bring some facts to his argument for "empiricism." About time Scott. For a guy arguing for fact-based empiricism, you sure are taking your sweet time bringing some actual facts to the table.

< Inspiring Confidence | Being Quarantined is No Fun >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Liberalism, the Left (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Jun 01, 2007 at 01:42:07 PM EST
    Matt Taibbi has a scathing piece on both the labels and the positions "the Left" and "liberalism" that exemplifies the self-identification problem. He's obviously ferociously both but he cringes at the labels. For someone who's only known the words after the right wing got hold of them, they're totally poisoned, toxic. For Winship and his DLC cronies to blithely ignore this and poll as if it doesn't exist is ridiculous.

    But Taibbi goes beyond the semantic part of the problem, which is where discussion of it as a framing issue usually stops. He points out the actions that are killing the Left - living in the past, not wrestling with the hard economic issues, and politically being underwritten by the corporate class in ways that will always sell out workers when it comes to the crunch:

    Here's the real problem with American liberalism: there is no such thing, not really. What we call American liberalism is really a kind of genetic mutant, a Frankenstein's monster of incongruous parts - a fat, affluent, overeducated New York/Washington head crudely screwed onto the withering corpse of the vanishing middle-American manufacturing class. These days the Roosevelt stratum of rich East Coasters are still liberals, but the industrial middle class that the New Deal helped create is almost all gone. In 1965, manufacturing jobs still made up 53 percent of the US economy; that number was down to nine percent in 2004, and no one has stepped up to talk to the 30 million working poor who struggle to get by on low-wage, part-time jobs.

    Thus, the people who are the public voice of American liberalism rarely have any real connection to the ordinary working people whose interests they putatively champion. They tend instead to be well-off, college-educated yuppies from California or the East Coast, and hard as they try to worry about food stamps or veterans' rights or securing federal assistance for heating oil bills, they invariably gravitate instead to things that actually matter to them - like the slick Al Gore documentary on global warming  

    I haven't decided how seriously to take this, it's obviously generalization, but it's much the same kind of criticism Joe Bageant has been making on an ongoing basis over specifics.

    Weak (none / 0) (#1)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Jun 01, 2007 at 02:07:25 AM EST
    I caught Scott Winship's first installment and I thought it indulged in a lot of question-begging assertions.

    To the extent that right-wing positions are popular in the electorate I think it's mainly because the opposition has failed to articulate alternatives in a way that penetrates mainstream discussion.

    But the main point: that the left does not let evidence shape their policies is weak. From my experience it seems a much greater fault of the right.