Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This is not your father's angry left

Glenn Greenwald points out that it's not 1972 anymore and Democrats can quit worrying about being perceived as deranged freaks. "Civility 'n Restraint Forever" is the wrong lesson to take from McGovern's defeat. Constructive anger can be a great motivator in politics. At times it is essential. Sometimes it can even be noble.

Oh, and the corollary?

[T]hose who are entirely devoid of anger are often lifeless, limp, uninspiring figures who seem to be drained of soul and purpose. An anger-less political movement is embodied by a plodding, bespecled, muttering Jay Rockefeller. Or John Kerry's non-response to the Swift Boat attacks. Or the Democrats' often ponderous, half-hearted, overly-rational mutterings on all too many issues or in response to all too many corruption and lawbreaking scandals. Or craven, eager-to-please "liberals" who are more interested in convincing Fox News and other Bush followers how balanced and reasonable they are than they are than in fighting for any actual political ideals -- like Joe Klein, or Richard Cohen, for example.

Democrats need to get away -- as far away and as quickly as possible -- from that bland, mushy, sonorous, overly calculating and painfully restrained, passion-free dead zone. And in that regard, a much bigger problem for Democrats has been a lack of anger -- and most other human passions -- not an excess of it.

Amen! Amen! Amen! (What's that you say? Hillary Clinton is clearing her throat for a cautious rejoinder?)

P.S. William Rivers Pitt nails Cohen on the same topic.

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