Hippie Punching and Battered Spouse Syndrome in the Democratic Party

Sometimes you can't help but feel sorry for Democrats and Republicans.  Oftentimes their relationship to the party is like nothing so much as that of battered spouses who have been so badly abused that they are no longer capable of taking any independent action to escape their abusers.  Indeed, even on those occasions when they declare "never again," and resolve to set out on a different course, they nevertheless return to their abuser time after time.  More tragically, many Democrats and Republicans are aware of this fact, but appear powerless to take any action that would change the situation.  Indeed, this recognition is apparent in their very language.  The Democratic "netroots" call it "hippie punching."  In a post at Hullabaloo entitled "Where hippie punching gets you," Digby writes:
Jonathan Cohn makes the good point that Obama's speech on Wednesday is unfortunately going to be seen as the left most position in the debate which makes a compromise between his plan and Ryan's the "juuust right" sweet spot. Cohn rightly suggests that tit would be helpful to have a leftward plan that incorporates left wing values the same way Ryan's plan incorporates Ayn Rand's wet dreams. . . .
This "leftward plan" that would incorporate "left wing values" would call for raising certain taxes, a single-payer health care system, decreased military spending and so on.  Digby continues:
The problem, unfortunately, is that when anyone sets forth a truly liberal plan like Cohn proposes, they are not only met with shrieks of horror from conservatives, establishment liberals and Democratic third-way centrists stalk them like a pack of hyenas and marginalize them as outside the "mainstream" and assure everyone who will listen that they are not "serious." You may have noticed that Paul Ryan's lunacy is not similarly treated by his own. Indeed, it's not even similarly treated that way by liberals. . . .

The fact is that there is no liberal establishment willing to validate liberalism. Indeed, for reasons only they can tell us, they almost always go out of their way to exclude anyone who can readily be identified as a person of the left and rush before the cameras and into print to reassure America that they have no support. I have my theories about why that might be, but suffice to say it's a fairly easily documented phenomenon. There is simply no space in the establishment political dialog for explicitly left policy or rhetoric.
Of course, there already is such a "leftward plan" that incorporates "left wing values."  It's called the platform of the Green Party.  Last year, Green party candidates campaigned on a plan called the Green New Deal.  Among the primary planks of the plan are single-payer healthcare, reduced military spending and progressive tax reform.  The problem, of course, is that anytime someone sets forth a truly liberal plan like that proposed by the Greens, they are met not only with shrieks of horror from conservatives, establishment liberals and the liberal-left base of the Democratic party, the netroots marginalize them as outside the "mainstream" and assure everyone who will listen that they are not "serious."  Indeed, the battered spouses of the Democratic party such as those in the netroots consistently go out of their way to exclude Greens who can be readily identified as persons of the left, and rush to the cameras and their publications to assure their fellow liberals that these Greens have no support.  Beaten into submission by their abusers, the battered spouses of the Democratic party chose to kick the dog rather than take independent action to escape the abuse. 


Bret “Ginx” Alan said...

I think you're a little out of touch with liberals. I'm not surprised. Maybe I can set the record straight:

No liberal you'll see on TV would espouse truly liberal ideas, because liberals don't fund the campaigns and talk shows of Democrats and "liberal" pundits. That's why we have two conservative parties in this country, with two other conservative parties (the Tea Party and Libertarians) which are actually just branches of the Republican party.

If you get a room full of liberal voters together, I think you would be hard pressed to find one of them that opposes higher taxes on the rich, a national healthcare plan or decreased military spending. In face, I suspect that if you got conservatives voters in a room, you might find a shocking amount (though doubtfully a majority) that support higher taxes on the wealthy and cuts to military spending.

That's my 2 cents, anyway.

TiradeFaction said...


Well what D.eris says on "netroots" liberals is pretty correct, I've talked to many who simply refuse to even consider candidates outside the Democratic party, even if they are solid left types. You can see this in a recent post made by D.eris about Salon author Glenn Greenwald.

Also, I'm not sure there's much basis in calling the Libertarian party a "faction" of the Republicans. They seem pretty independent to me, and generally have a platform contrary to the Republican party's one. Though some of the leadership of the party I've heard has been taken up by pro war neo con types like Wayne Allen Root, which is quite unfortunate.

DLW said...

The dilemma of disliking the D party's priorities and fearing spoiling its election chances thru voting for more authentically lefty parties can be resolved by pushing for strategic election reform that doesn't try to end effective two party rule.

The simple fact of the matter is that the US's two-party dominated system worked better in the past when we used more multi-seated state legislative elections. We need to raise awareness of this fact so that folks who vote Democrat or Republican will see the light!