At its core the problem is a total failure of persuasion. Progressives often fail to get support for their policies because they often try to bully people into expressing agreement instead of undertaking the hard work of actually persuading them. That is the common root of many failed progressive efforts, from the speech codes that try to prevent dissent from emerging on the same college campuses where progressives used to champion it to the failure of
global warming“climate change” activism to the ongoing political collapse of health care reform.
The common thread between these diverse progressive policy failures is an incoherent and often enraged failure to understand that sometimes people might disagree with them. When people disagree or even just start to express concerns, most progressive commentators just slap them into a category labelled “stupid” or worse and proceed to demonize them as evil to boot. When the dominant reaction to dissent is not argument but contempt and demonization, it imposes a heavy cost on progressive political viability. The voters don’t like being alternatively condescended to and outright condemned as jerks and rubes. The most surprising thing is that so many highly intelligent progressives are themselves surprised by this conventional and seemingly obvious feature of human psychology.
The reason this resonated so fast for me is because in the discussions listed under the original Gore piece, I had just clicked a link to a progressive site that made Penza's point quoted above, perfectly.
He’s just throwing shit to see if he can make a statue of a pony. Note the slippage between what might be a “character flaw,” as Mead dubs it, and Gore just being rich — a curious position for a rightist to take, to say the least. (Mead intones “You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place,” which is some hard fucking luck for Dick Cheney, who is apparently morally superior to Gore in this calculus because he was always upfront about being a sonofabitch.) And get a load of this: “A fawning establishment press spares the former vice president the vitriol and schadenfreude it pours over the preachers and priests whose personal conduct compromised the core tenets of their mission; Gore is not mocked as others have been.” Damn. Mead wouldn’t be getting away with that shit if Bob Somerby were still alive.
I think Moderate Voice's Logan Penza should send FireDogLake's Thers a nice fruit basket as a thank you for proving every word he said as true.