Monday, February 07, 2005


Re: MyDD :: This Pipe Is Not a Pipe --
In response to this post, I wrote in the comments:

Let's not kid ourselves. What we are about here is the formation of a progressive narrative that might not necessarily accurately represent reality completely but which is useful for garnering support to advance a progressive agenda.

We are faced with two separate issues; what should that agenda be and what narrative will best advance that agenda without being too far removed from reality as to not be credible to a sufficient number of people. We need to start with the narrative and then prioritize the progressive agenda to fit the narrative. And we need to rebuild the progressive narrative from the ground up the same way we need to rebuild the party structure under Howard Dean.

Dean has progressive credentials despite being opposed to gun control unlike many left-of-center types. We should also be capable of dropping issues like gun control if they don't fit the new progressive narrative (and I think it is problematic if civil liberties are a part of that narrative) and we need to examine honestly every bit of our agenda, be it abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action. Sure, we are unlikely to dump anything major, but we need to be open-minded as part of some brutally frank self-examination.

One key problem that many people thought John Kerry faced in 2004 was that he didn't really seem to be for anything and was merely anti-Bush. The worst thing would be for a progressive narrative to have a similar tone. It can't just be anti-conservative. That just leads to a shrill messianic complex in which leftists cast themselves as the saviors of humanity standing firm like Roland against the cultural barbarians of conservatism. And that's pretty much the most off-putting attitude that one can have for swing voters who don't drink our Kool-Aid. (I don't mean to sound demeaning, but I understand the nature of ideology and a progressive ideology will have its versions of Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter, and dittoheads. I fully accept that necessary part of reality.) A progressive narrative can't be an explanation of what is wrong with America, it has to be an explanation of what can go right with America.
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