On Parties and Lefty Blogs
As a side note, Dave seems to be amused that Kevin Drum listed mostly “conservative” blogs that are libertarian or heterodox conservatives. I’m amused as well, but not surprised. While Kevin Drum is one of the most readable of the left-of-center blogs, primarily because he’s willing to question the left-of-center orthodoxy, Kevin is still fairly partisan. And there is a strong temptation to any partisan to see people outside of the party more as a threat than as a potential convert, or sometimes even as more than technically human. I suspect a list of “liberal” blogs that Hugh Hewitt would find worthy of reading would be similarly non-representative.
First, I originally wrote on our six-party system for the Weekly Standard in 2002, and expanded on that analysis in 2004’s If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat. Three of these “parties” or factions, exist within each of the political parties. Within the GOP there are the parties of National Security, Wealth, and Faith; within the Democratic Party are the parties of License, Government, and Race.
I named these factions based upon the relative importance of their priorities when it comes time to set legislative agendas and announce political goals. The National Security Republicans focus, not exclusively, but as the highest priority, on prosecution of the war and the national defense. The Wealth Republicans value economic growth, tax cuts and spending control as legislative priorities though of course they are committed to victory in the GWOT, and the Faith Republicans are concerned that issues concerning culture, courts and religious freedom get the attention of the GOP. Each of these factions must feel that their agendas are being served, or they sit out elections. (A fourth faction, focused on illegal immigration and border security, is emerging.) The lines dividing the factions are not bright lines, but they do exist, and each faction has identifiable leaders and outlets of opinion.
Among the Dems, the Party of License demands abortion rights be unfettered and gay marriage imposed by the courts, and that the courts not be surrendered without a fight. The Government faction wants the growth of the public sector –teachers, other public employee unions– to advance at the same time that government aid in securing the agenda of organized labor. The Party of Race values most of all the policies that have traditionally motivated African American voters and their leadership in the civil rights community.
Again, there is much overlap and line crossing and coalition building, but the three Democratic factions are distinct, and their leaders as different as Nan Aron and Al Sharpton.
As we enter 2006, the GOP coaltion of parties is in much better shape than the Democratic coalition because the economy is booming and the Democrats have lurched hard left on the war, alientating from its ranks the many national security Democrats still in its numbers. If the GOP simply assures that its agenda in 2006 includes the key 12 words, all will be well politically.
The 12 words:
Win the war.
Confirm the judges.
Cut the taxes.
Control the spending.
Many of my readers also chime in, “Secure the borders,” to which I respond: That is part of winning the war.
Second, as for my list of the liberal blogs I find worthy of reading, the lefty blogs I do in fact read often, but don’t recommend, are Kos, Eschaton, TalkingPointsMemo, WashingtonMonthly and HuffingtonPost, because they are clearly the most influential of the hard left blogs. SoxBlog and I have both written on the effects of this domination of the left blogosphere by hard left bloggers, and I can only say that I hope they maintain their influence for the next few years. As they grow, the Democratic Party shrinks –a necessary thing for the nation’s security during the GWOT.