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Defining Extremism Down

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"Defining Extremism Down"

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It’s two days old, but this whole article warning that Democrats are DOOMED because they’ve become too liberal is a genuine classic of middlebrow political journalism. The paucity of imagination on display in this graf, in particular, is striking:

Some party strategists note that the Democratic candidates are not embracing the extreme left. No major Democratic candidate is endorsing gay marriage, single-payer health care, or an immediate and total withdrawal from Iraq — positions that have sizeable, if not overwhelming, support among Democratic primary voters.

As far as extremism goes, this is pretty pathetic. Are our political reporters truly incapable of even describing a policy position with a whiff of radicalism about it? Check out the Maoist International Movement if you want to see the extreme left. The inability to conceptualize a point of view on national security more radical than a desire to see the occupation of Iraq end very rapidly is truly benighted. I guess I’m an “extremist” by ABC News standards, but I know all these people with views to my left. Read Sawicky, check out the Project on Defense Alternatives.

All of us left of the center would benefit from somewhat demarginalizing further-left views. Insofar as the most extreme right-wing views of national security imaginable — Bill Kristol’s apparent belief that the USA should be perpetually at war with whichever country he was asked about most recently — are treated as respectable elements of the discourse, while the most mild deviations from establishment conventional wisdom are branded as “extremism” then bleating about the need to build bipartisanship in foreign policy only leads us in ever-more-militaristic directions.

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