Style or Substance?

Kevin Drum's post reminds me of a topic that Ezra, Dave Weinfeld, and I (the three interns at the Washington Monthly last summer) frequently commented on: the fact that the Left appears to be much more willing to attack and despise their own hacks, public figures, talking heads, symbolic personalities, op-ed journalists, etc. than than the Right is willing to do regarding their own.

Yes, Michael Moore was at the Democratic National Convention, which goes completely against what I am saying here, but through many conversations I've had with both Liberals and Conservatives, I have found exactly what I stated in the first paragraph. There seems to be a lot more Lefties willing to ridicule and debunk Michael Moore, Maureen Dowd, and Molly Ivins than Righties openly distraught at the words written and said by David Brooks, Rush, Robert Novak, and the Wall Street Journal Eds.

I hope the reason for this phenomenon is that Lefties really do cherish the truth and/or possess a higher degree of altruistic principles, but I am biased. Perhaps, the Left is just more critical and argumentative, or more apt to play the blame game...I don't know. Maybe it is just that the Democrats are more fragmented than the Republicans, thus resulting in more intra-party strife.

The part about Drum's post that really caught my eye was: But we have to fight in a way that creates an atmosphere that encourages liberalism. So, is being uniformly critical of all ideas strictly based on their merits rather than ideological origins an innate feature of liberalism? Is that why the Left is willing to eat their own kin. Or did the Righties switch to their attack mode simply due to necessity, meaning, it was nothing more than a political strategy and this "politics of personal destruction" has no connection, in and of itself, with the Republican ideology?

I agree with Kevin's assessment that Liberalism, unlike today's conservativism, cannot survive in an environment that fosters this "scared dog in a corner, must kill all enemies" psychology.

I know this post sort of got away from me, but here are the fundamental concerns: Do Lefties tend to attack their own more frequently and more harshly than Righties?; is Conservatism naturally geared towards this "attack dog" mode, or is it just a clever, and successful thus far, strategy?; is this difference simply due to the factious nature of the Democrats versus the more cohesive unity found amongst Republicans; is something else going on here?

-- Steve Cieslewicz

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