Shifting Sands 3

Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Michael Barone has a good synopsis of some areas within The Politics of Polarization report. The report will be used by the usual suspects at the DLC to promote Hilary's candidacy for '08. The essence of the report is that the tactics currently employed by the Soros financed Kossack Krowd are unlikely to prove successful in either the near or far distant future and that only a candidate who cunningly hides her Alinskyite beliefs behind a facade of proclaimed middle class, middle brow, centrist, flag waving has a chance at fooling enough of the electorate to gain readmittance to the White House.

The authors of the report, Wlliam Galston and Elaine Kamarck performed a similiar service for Mrs. Clinton's husband some years ago and the tactics suggested then resulted in 42% and 49% pluralities, sufficient to allow Mrs. Clinton's husband to peddle Presidential pardons until Jan. 20, 2001. They authors know American politics very well and their report is receiving widespread attention throughout the Democratic Party. Mr. Barone focuses on the reports enunciation of four common myths that Democrats cling to in the forlorn hope that upon some magical day and by some magical means they will come true. While I agree with Galston and Kamarck's conclusion that the four assertions are indeed myths that will have be discarded if the Democrats are to (perish the thought) ever regain power in any branch of government I believe that there are other factors that are just as, if not more, important that mitigate against such an outcome. I'll go into those factors in a future post. For now, if you have an interest in politics, I would suggest reading the excellent Barone piece as well as the Galston and Kamarck report. They are both very worthy of discussion.


MeaninglessHotAir said...

The report states: "there are three conservatives for every two liberals".

Hmmm. Would never know that reading the newspapers or watching the television.

truepeers said...


Any ideas on who the Kossacks will want to back?

JB said...

Hmm...General Wesley Clark.

OK, you can stop laughing now. And yes, it may even happen.

terrye said...

Hillary's only hope is that the conservatives split and do her the same damn favor they did her husband.

I know people who would crawl through broken glass to vote against this sighing triangulating fraud but if Kristol and Krauthammer and Will do not shut the hell up she just might be the next Commander in Chief.

perish the thought.

Knucklehead said...

One problem with dealing with the type of analysis is that there is nothing remotely approaching agreement about what is "conservative" and what is "liberal". Not at the extremes or at the centers.

Centrist or moderate "conservatives" share more in common, and yet have significant areas of disagreement, with centrist or moderate "liberals" than do either "conservatives" or "liberals" with their corresponding extremes. And the various sub-categories of even the extremes have areas of overlap or, at least, areas where they would, for convenience, make common cause.

About as close as any characterization can come, IMO, is that "conservatives" believe the US, and its people, are fundamentally "good" and therefore worth protecting and incrementally improving whereas "liberals" believe the US is fundamentally rotten and requires either destruction (in the political sense if not the more literal sense) or radical overhaul.

Part of what holds us all back from figuring out how to move ahead is the ubiquitous use of the very terms "conservative" and "liberal". They represent little more than tags we either place upon one another or ourselves that are very similar to sports or team affiliation - "I'm a baseball person" or "I'm a football person" or, even worse, "I'm a Yankee fan" or "I'm a Cardinals fan."

There's a mindlessness, or lack of consideration, to much of the labeling self-imposed or pundit-imposed.

Until we find some way to get beyond such hopelessly inexact, or carelessly chosen, characterizations we will continue to struggle with the Great American Divide.

Knucklehead said...

BTW, is it just me or does anyone else get the heebie-jeebies when organized, legitimized, political movements start yapping about the "Third Way"?

Modern "Third Way" movements may yield a system that makes larger welfare checks arrive on time and lets everyone have access to nearby healthcare clinics but the history of "Third Way" politcal movements makes my skin crawl.

Knucklehead said...

BTW2, here is the actual Galston and Kamark report published at

The four myths, as per the Third-Way summary Rick linked to and the actual report's Executive Summary, are:

"The myth of mobilization is the belief that the key to Democratic victory is to energize the base and bring them to the polls in record numbers."

"The myth of demography is the view that long-term, ongoing changes in the U.S. population - such as an increase in the number of Hispanic voters and female professionals - will secure a Democratic majority for decades to come."

"The myth of language holds that the problem with the Democratic Party is not what it advocates, but rather how it speaks."

"The myth of prescription drugs is shorthand for the theory that the Party can win national elections by avoiding cultural issues, downplaying national security, and changing the subject to domestic issues such as health care, education, and job security in the post-9/11 world."

David Thomson said...

The Politics of Polarization report should also candidly include the importance of the MSM to the Democrats’ hopes. This party must have the de facto cooperation of its close partners if it to have any chance of winning the presidency or an election in a red or purple area. Only in solidly blue locations can the Democrats unabashedly run as liberals. In every other instance, the MSM is compelled to assist them by sliming conservatives and moderating the image of left-wing candidates.

What chance does Hillary Clinton have of winning the White House? None at all if the MSM are simply doing their jobs as disinterested and fair minded journalists. Alas, we know what will really occur. The MSM will try to con the American voters into believing that Senator Clinton is the second coming of Golda Mier and Margaret Thatcher when it comes to defense matters. Men who oppose her will be accused of being afraid of a strong woman.

Knucklehead said...


Good point. A fifth myth that even the authors dare not mention is The MSM can deliver national elections to Democrats.

Rick Ballard said...


Thanks for pointing out the lack of a link link to the actual report. I've added it to the post. Wrt the utility of the liberal v. conservative self labeling - considering that this data comes from exit polling there is a higher probability that the people involved can articulate a rationale for the self-description. I would agree with you completely if the data came from a VAP poll. VAP polls generate numbers that are lower for either side and higher for the center.

There are other critical data in that report that are glossed over a bit - the fact that Republicans have reached parity with Dems at 37% is possibly the worst news a Democrat could hear. The reason being is that it is a continuation of a trend going back some thirty years which extrapolates to long term Republican dominance. I'll be doing a post dealing with a contrast between the Pew longitudinal data generated in early '04 and the exit poll data in the near future.


I've no idea whatsoever. This report is a paean to the pol who can send different messages to different groups in a convincing manner. Mrs. Clinton might be considered such a pol were she not so ham handed and obviously devious. She also lacks the Arkansas county courthouse charm of her dear husband. Her husband might even have been able to pull off the "I was for it before I was against" trick that Kerry tried. There is no one of such a low and cunning nature among the current crop of candidates but I'm sure there are unheard of skillful prevaricators who will be lured from their lairs by this report.

The Kossacks are being told that they are noisy teenagers who should shut up and sit down while the adults conduct serious business. That's the whole thrust of this report. Whether they do or not is immaterial, as is whoever their favorite for the nomination might be. Republicans dream of the Kossacks getting their way with the Democratic party.

David Thomson said...

“Republicans dream of the Kossacks getting their way with the Democratic party.”

This is why I say the national Democratic Party died last November 2. The Daily Kos clowns are not going to disappear---and they possess the veto power regarding the selection of the Democrats’ presidential nominee. They may not be able to raise millions of dollars, but these immature brats can easily raise thousands. Little else is required to throw a monkey wrench into the works anytime they so desire.

Knucklehead said...


Wrt the utility of the liberal v. conservative self labeling - considering that this data comes from exit polling there is a higher probability that the people involved can articulate a rationale for the self-description.

No doubt self-labeling people can articulate their rationale for describing themselves as either "conservative" or "liberal". I don't doubt some, like me, feel an unfortunate need to pick the "conservative" label because the "liberal" label is well and truly hijacked.

I understand that when it comes to trying to move the political parties toward change the political definitions of conservative and liberal are the ones that matter most. But they are just labels that while helping to determine and influence how people will vote do not capture what people believe is important.

I would like to be able to self-describe as "liberal" because I believe that in most areas of the conduct of my life I am reasonably liberal. Alas, I cannot do that because "liberal" has come to mean "leftist" or something far too close to that for my comfort.

A common theme among disenchanted Democrats (liberals in our current political vernacular) is "I didn't leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me."

There is a corollary to this that applies to me, and undoubtedly to some significant portion of likely voters who chose to vote Republican (conservatives in the our current political vernacular) that is, essentially, "I didn't join the Republican Party, the Republican Party joined me."

I've picked a side because I feel the stakes are too great to not choose which side one will stand with. It is very clear to me that the Democrat Party, perhaps a large segment of those who self-describe as "liberal" have chosen the other side. They believe it is imperative that they "win" and I believe it imperative that they "lose" - ergo I am conservative and a Republican.

That is quite a different thing than claiming that I am in complete agreement with all other "conservatives" or Republicans or in total disagreement with all "liberals" or Democrats. It just means that I judge the contest, and the sides, in such a way that I can "live with" conservative/Republican "victories" (the nation will be something closer to, or at least less distant from, my "vision" for it) but cannot "live with" (the nation would become something I would, if younger and more vigorous, feel a need to rebel against) liberal/Democrat victories.

It is entirely possible, but I judge it highly unlikely, that the Republican Party would "leave me" even after it has "joined me". It is not possible, but not feasible any time soon, that the Democrat Party would "join me". I my adult, semi-sentient, lifetime they have shown no interest in doing anything of the sort.

My fellow conservatives/Republicans may not always agree with me about the particulars of what is most important for "our side" but the liberals/Democrats have made it abundantly clear that they are on the "other side".

I wandered far away from your intended topic but...

Rick Ballard said...

"I wandered far away from your intended topic but..."

No, you are actually heading right into the topic. When you say "I didn't join the Republican Party, the Republican Party joined me." you have encapsulated the fact that the Republican party has shifted left while the Democratic party has shifted farther left (and faster, too). Both liberal and conservative have become useless (as you noted) as meaningful descriptors. What is interesting is that as the actual meaning has been lost, the negative aspect is disappearing and more people are becoming willing to self describe. More interesting is the fact that there has been no such shift in the numbers willing to self describe as liberal - that ought to be a teeny tiny hint to the Kossacks and to those funding their idiocies.

Knucklehead said...

the Republican party has shifted left

Hack! Cough! Choke! Spit!

Can't we do something like the Republican Party has moderated and become more inclusive?

I can't bear to be a Man Of the Left. If one wants to muddle through a maze one needs only to keep to the right.