Thursday, August 03, 2006

Young Turks v. Old Fogies

Digby has a good post about the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party and how it should respond to Republicans. Before discussing it though, Spot has a little story:

Early one morning before dawn, a farmer roused his young son and said to him, “Today son, it is time for you to learn to plow.” The boy was greatly excited because he had been pestering his father to let him help with the field work.

After eating a hurried and excited breakfast, father and son went out to the barn and put the harness on the mule. They led the mule out of the barn, walking on either side of the mule, the boy running and stumbling over already-plowed ground to keep up to where the plow was left at the end of yesterday’s plowing.

The boy helped his father hitch the mule to the plow, draping the reins over the back of the plow, the place from which the operator would order the mule and guide the plow. The boy watched expectantly for his lesson to begin. But the father did a very strange – startling – thing. The farmer walked to the edge of the field and bent over to rummage through the brush. He straightened up and walked back to the plow and mule, holding a stout stick about as big as your thumb.

The farmer walked to the front of the mule and administered a sound whack right between the mule’s eyes. The mule, stunned for a moment, shook its head, and then leaned into its traces. The boy exclaimed, “Father, why did you do that? You always told me that we must be kind to the farm animals!”

The farmer replied, “Yes, son. But in the case of the mule, you have to get its attention first.”

And so, Spot says, it is with Republicans. Digby says:

There's a fascinating conversation going on around the blogosphere about the "young turks" vs "the fogies" in the Democratic party that feeds into my critique of the establishment as having an irrational fear of hippies. This latest discussion stems from an observation by Matt Yglesias that a lot of young people don't remember the age of bipartisanship and only see the polarized political world of 1998 on. Therefore, they see a politics that is far more partisan than those who came before. I find this fascinating because I think I am twice Yglesias's age and have been following politics very closely for more than thirty years. Yet I was first shocked, then radicalized by the actions of the modern GOP during the 90's and I believe exactly as he does that hyper-partisanship is going to be with us for the forseeable future.

Digby’s right. There is no sense in trying to work with the current crop of Republicans until you get their attention first, which will be difficult if not impossible. Digby continues:

I do not think there is any hope of bringing these people [the current brand of Republicans] around. And frankly, considering their track record, I think it's delusional to believe otherwise. At some point, you have to recognize that you are dealing with something that is irredeemable in its present form. Modern conservatism has a malignant core. If they lose power over the next few years, as seems likely, I have no doubt they will rediscover the joys of bipartisanship when they find themselves in the minority. But the modern Republican party must undergo fundamental internal change before it can be trusted. I'm not sure that will happen in my lifetime considering the seeds that have been sown.Perhaps it's harder to see that from the inside and that's why many of the establishment "fogies" seem to believe that this is a temporary state that can be turned back. From where I sit out here, though,I see a new era and we'd better get used to it. The Southern realignment is complete and the regional pull remains a very powerful force in American politics. There is some evidence that people are gathering together with like minded others more than ever, exacerbating the polarization. Most importantly we are riding a wave of vast cultural and social change, both as a nation and as a species, which people will either roll with or resist --- and that is naturally reflected in our politics.

Spot gets criticized once in a while for being nasty and sarcastic. Some pundits like David Brooks urge good will and disarmament in politics. To which Spotty say, you guys first.

No comments: