Thursday, July 29, 2004

Alterman on 'Liberal'

I read Eric Alterman, but he always strikes me as a little 'out there'. Anyway, I was reading an article he wrote at Center for American Progress and this struck me:

[. . .]

Even so, it works. As Princeton professor Paul Starr notes, "The use of the vocabulary of treason is a measure of how thoroughly conservatives have transferred the passions of anticommunism into an internal war against those whom they think of as the enemies of American culture and values. And these were, as I recall from the 1960s, the same people who decried the loss of civility."

Given the rhetorical dominance of conservatives over the past several decades, one might be surprised to learn from a June Wall Street Journal analysis that "[The] proportion of Americans calling themselves "liberal" edged up to 21 percent in [ pollster Stan] Greenberg's May poll from 16 percent a month earlier. Self-identified "conservatives" dropped to 37 percent from 41 percent. And why not? One of the most honored guests here in Boston this week turns out to be none other than George McGovern. As he told a reporter from National Journal when queried about his apparently alien ideological affiliation "Every program that ever helped working people -- from rural electrification to Medicare -- was enacted by liberals over the opposition of conservatives. When people tell me they don't like liberals, I ask, 'Do you like Social Security? If so, then shut up!' "

Two thoughts. One, this is how Hitler got where he was, by having someone to blame, the Auslander and the Jews. The Right-wingnuts blame the liberals. I can't help thinking that if President Mein Kampf is reelected, they're gonna start rounding us up and 'relocating' us. Two, the poll results make me smile.

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