Missing his mark, again
Earlier in the week, I wrote this response to CalPundit Kevin Drum's claim that Democrats are no longer the 'center' party. Today, he returns to the topic. Kevin lists examples of what he considers extremism that undermines Democrats:
Congressmen who travel to Baghdad to criticize American foreign policy on nationwide TV, gay rights parades that seem deliberately designed to repulse as many ordinary people as possible, college professors who publicly hope for lots of American deaths in Iraq, and tooth-and-nail opposition to bans on partial birth abortion, a procedure that's rare, loathed by a large majority of Americans, and generally forbidden even in the socialist hell that is Europe.
His at-length criticism is of Drew Limsky, a professor of English at Pace University and Hunter College, who was upset by Adrien Brody's lip lock with Oscar presenter Halle Berry at the Academy Awards. Kevin perceives Limsky's caviling as an example of feminist extremism. I think he is misses part of the point. Limsky seems more concerned about a white man taking liberties with a woman of color without her explicit permission, a mixed issue of racism and women's rights. I believe Limsky is overstating his case. Only if it is certain Brody would not have kissed a white actress he liked under the same circumstances is there any evidence of disparate treatment. My guess is Brodie wanted to kiss Berry and just took advantage of the opportunity with no kind of insult intended. Women of color attract men, too, you know? Both Kevin and Limsky are wrong in their interpretations, though for different reasons. Kevin seems to believe one individual's complaint shows liberals are anti-kissing on the grounds it debases women. Horsefeathers!
It is also of interest that Kevin knows his interpetation is in error. He says of the kiss, "Everyone loved it — it showed genuine warmth and spontaneity. . ." Well, hello? That everyone includes most liberals, so why is Kevin complaining?
In regard to the other items on Kevin's list, I agree with him about some of the exhibitionism at gay rights parades and anti-war protesters who are more interested in making a spectacle of themselves than unequivocally stating opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Some academics of the Left who oppose the war are perhaps being a bit strident because of the strong emotions involved. However, there was a logic in McDermott and company's visit to Iraq. By going there, they reminded people of the common humanity of the Iraqis, something that could not have been done from Olympia, Washington, or Washington, D.C. Liberals are not embracing partial-birth abortions, we are merely saying that in some extreme circumstances, they should be legal. I fail to see how a policy that results in dead pregnant women is less repulsive than one that results in aborted late term fetuses. And, as Atrios points out, it is ludicrous to have uninvolved parties, i.e., politicians, making a decision that should belong to the pregnant woman and her spouse or lover.
Kevin's other examples suffer from the same extremism on his part. One would have to think the Black Panthers representative of the civil rights movement, that the average steak-eating Democrat gives a hoot about PETA and that vomit-ins are the favored performance art of liberals to agree with him. People who believe things like that are not remotely interested in becoming Democrats.
Ironically, Johann of Coherence Theory of Truth, a good Utah blog I recently discovered, believes Kevin is starting to see how extremist the GOP is. Perhaps we are just observing a setback before Kevin embraces us in all our varied glory.
In my opinion, Kevin scores a couple points when it comes to examples of extremism that impact the fortunes of the Democratic Party, making it more difficult for us to attract the uncommitted. However, his new arguments for the position that Democrats are no longer the center party are mainly unconvincing. Back to the drawing board, Professor. Being a generous sort of person, I'll help you with a modified page brief. The issue is: Do the Democrats take extreme positions or court extremists more than the Republicans? I believe the only rational conclusion one can reach is obvious.