The Left Embraces Its Extremists

Commenter greggriffith, commenting on this Hot Air Post [h/t Instapundit] makes a very good point:

What’s happening now in the Democratic party is that the ideological liberals (Dean, MoveOn, Kos, et al) have succeeded in wresting control from the institutional liberals (Hillary, Lieberman, et al). Where the Republicans have largely been successful at shearing off and marginalizing the influence in their own party of people like David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and less conservative but equally nutty types like Ross Perot, the Democrats have not. They have gone from Mondale, to Dukakis, to Clinton, to Gore, to Kerry, to Obama – a nearly unbroken linear progression from garden-variety liberal to wackadoo liberal.

I think this is a very good point. As I wrote before, the truly disturbing thing about the Obama-Ayers relationship is that nobody in the leftist community of Chicago seemed to find Ayers an unacceptable person. Ayers did not stand out as a whack job that people of good standing on the Left could refuse to deal with.  

When a fluke of the Louisiana primary system allowed David Duke to win the nomination for governor, state and national Republicans openly disavowed him. State Republicans openly endorsed his Democrat rival who was then under indictment for colossal corruption. They issued bumper stickers that said, “Vote for the Crook, it’s important”. No such incident has occurred on the American Left since ’68. 

The truth of the matter is that leftists simply do not have any standards for leftist behavior. No leftist position is beyond the pale. The majority of the anti-Iraq-Liberation, anti-Iraqi-democracy rallies were organized by ANSWER, a Stalinist group. Nobody on the Left said anything. The Left welcomes any and all extremists into their tent. As long as you hate the Right, anything else you do is okay. 

The ugly truth is that radical extremism is far more common and far more accepted on the Left than on the Right. Radical leftists with views alien to the vast majority of Americans hold great sway over the Left compared to their counterparts on the Right. You won’t find Republicans who started their careers in the homes of terrorists or who belonged to organizations that voted to assassinate congressmen. 

Every major election, the Democrats suffer when these nut jobs crawl out the woodwork, yet they can never work up the will power or courage to give them the boot. 

17 thoughts on “The Left Embraces Its Extremists”

  1. I don’t think the progression has been strictly linear — Clinton certainly doesn’t fit along the curve, and even Gore doesn’t fit it all that well — but the siren song of northern-tier liberalism does seem to keep steering the ship toward the rocks, in spite of all past experience. I can only wonder when enough negative feedback will kick in to get the loonies read out of the debate once and for all.

  2. absurd. the Right is just fine? and the types who blow up clinics and the preachers who wish gays dead and on and on…and McCain kissing nutters butt in hopes of votes? And Joe Lieberman a laiberal? wow. In case you don’t know, McCain first choice for VP was Joe L…he got talked out of it.
    and then you mix in liberal bloggers and/or writers with politicans who get elected as though they are one and the same. My oh my…This stuff would not pass muster in a Freshman comp class.

  3. Only if that freshman comp class were taught by you, Fred. How many Republican advisors have said that clinic bombers should “do more”? How many Republican advisors have hesitated to denounce “Rev.” Phelps? Lieberman has an ADA rating of 80. McCain was Kerry’s first choice as running mate. Reality is a mirror image of nutroots propaganda.

  4. Fred Lapides,

    the Right is just fine? and the types who blow up clinics and the preachers who wish gays dead and on and on

    How many abortion clinic bombers are personal associates of Republican presidential candidates? How many abortion clinic bombers are members in good standing in rightwing colleges, academic groups and educational associations?

    There are rightwing nutjobs to be sure but you make my point for me. They aren’t considered in any sense mainstream. If a Republican found themselves in any kind of meeting with an unrepentant clinic bomber, they would throw themselves out the window rather than be seen associating with them.

    Not so with Obama and other members of the left

    …and McCain kissing nutters butt in hopes of votes?

    If they’re that extreme, why bother with them? By definition extremist holds views that only a distinct minority of Americans hold. Just because you personally do not agree with them does not make them extreme.

    The really disturbing thing is that the leftist extremist don’t really seem to do anything positive for the left. Any benefit they might bring is outweighed by the moderates they alienate. Yet, they still won’t expel them

    This stuff would not pass muster in a Freshman comp class.

    Given the leftist crap my daughter had to put up in her Freshman comp class, I’m sure you are correct.

  5. Jay Mainfold,

    I don’t think the progression has been strictly linear — Clinton certainly doesn’t fit along the curve…

    Yes, I think he does oversimplify in that regard but I do think his main point very valid. In the main, the left has not been as aggressive in purging leftist as the right.

  6. Trackback for « It’s Over, It’s O O O O ver, It’s Obamover « docweaselblog said:

    […] As we’ve been chronicling, Obama continues to lose ground in “safe” blue states: never mind the battle ground states he hopes to make up where Kerry and Gore lost, if the Democrat ticket can’t hold the blue states, all bets are off and we’re talking McCain Landslide of epic proportions. Our early posts on the matter back in May now seem eerily prescient: the docweaselblog team should play the lottery this week.

  7. A new term of oprobrium needs to gain currency: “The Dog Eat Dog Left” perhaps? THIS to label their utter disregard for scrupples.

    I regard President Nixon – even as much as I hated him – as the more honorable and moral man than Clinton. He had the good sense to resign. Not so Bill. This makes him, as with Hitchens serial rapist charge, the more dangerous man among men.

  8. Minor nit to pick: Ross Perot was never part of the Republican party. He drew Republican votes from those who were disgusted with the Country Club Republicans, but his detail policy positions were always difficult to pin down, what little surfaced weren’t that different from center Democrats. His vaugness kind of reminds of Obama’s intial speeches.

  9. “No enemies on the left.”

    A simple principle, easily followed, leading inevitably to what we see today.

    The occasional minor violation of this principle is so remarkable, it has a name: “Sister Souljah moment.” But only a moment.

  10. This has been for a long time. I have been immersed in books on the Communist infiltration of the thirties and forties and the Hiss case plus the various connecting issues. What surprised me more than anything else, because I have known the story for some time, was Truman’s behaviour and attempts to sweep the whole problem under the carpet because he knew that if it all came out the Democratic Party would be accused of blindness at best.

    Incidentally, here we have the same problem. All conservatives and people on the right bend over backward to distance themselves from any party or organization that has a remotely extremist view. The left happily swanks about its old Communists and Trotskyites. At best, they shrug their shoulders indulgently.

  11. How many Republican advisors have hesitated to denounce “Rev.” Phelps?

    Phelps is a Democrat:

    Phelps remained prominent in state and local politics, working for years as a major organizer for the state’s Democratic Party. (He still calls himself a Democrat, refusing to change just because his party has.) In 1988, Phelps housed campaign workers for Al Gore’s first presidential run; in 1989, his eldest son, Fred Jr., hosted a fundraiser for Gore’s Senate campaign at his home.

  12. Jdm,

    The funny thing about Phelps is that his “church” only has around 50 members most of them related to him by his 13 children. In short, he is nothing but a weird little cult leader unaffiliated with any other group, much less mainstream christians or Republicans. Yet, he gets massive news coverage simply by being a jerk at funerals.

    It shows a lot about how people like Fred view the world that they think Phelps is some kind of counter part to Ayers. I think Fred thinks that if he doesn’t like someone, they must be McCain’s (or fill in the Republican of the movement) best buddy.

  13. Republicans, routinely accused of a kind of pragmatism that borders on (if it’s not directly identified with) malevolent opportunism, do indeed bend over backwards to exclude the whackjobs who try to claim common cause. Republicans are merciless in their self-purges when the offense requires ruthlessness (as with Duke). The Republican tent is much bigger than Democrats want to believe – but it does have flaps that close. Not because of a person’s socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, or religion, but because the person’s a whackjob. Because there are some RepublicanS who would like to exclude some people on these irrelevant bases, Democrats believe that their exclusion is part of Republican identity. The reverse argument about Democrats is obvious (example: it seems there are quite a few Dems who believe a global warming skeptic should have no place in their party), but Democrats rightly deny its validity just as we do.

    Democrats, interested (I have to conclude) in getting the butts into the seats and, they hope (though it seldom seems to work out this way to the extent they want or need), the votes into the box, have a tent so “big” and so utterly open that no one and nothing can be excluded: not criminals, not unrepentant terrorists, not people who parade naked but for their body paint and kneepads through the streets (NTTAWWT) to demonstrate how seriously we ought to take them, not the bigoted, not the overeducated but underlearned, and certainly not the silly.

  14. When was the last time any abortion clinic was bombed by a right-wing whack-job? 10 years ago? Why does the left keep harping on this.

  15. … and the similarity is definitely remote. Several years ago, someone brought up the abortion clinic bomber trope in a debate with me, with all the yelling and screaming about the “anti-abortion extremists”, which in his mind included Right to Life and such. He ranted on and on about how all those right-wingers would gladly kill abortion doctors, and that made them hypocrites.

    I pointed him to the statement my dad had written, as president of my state’s Right to Life organization, condemning the most recent bombing and saying that we do not condone the violent taking of life. I also pointed him to the statements from the National RtL org, Operation Rescue, and every other pro-life organization he’d named, all condemning the violence in no uncertain terms.

    In my experience, the right routinely and regularly condemns the extremists in their midst. Organizations on the right routinely issue statements against those who would use violence for political ends. I have yet to hear any left-wing organization issue a statement against the WTO riots or anything else of the sort.

  16. “..My oh my…This stuff would not pass muster in a Freshman comp class…”

    In typical leftist fashion Fred can only go to the academic arena to judge an ideas worth….

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