'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, February 28, 2004

How Anne Coulter Helped Promote Howard Dean

So there's a struggle underway for control of the governor's vast internet empire. I guess I'm rooting for Trippi ... the Dean Machine always was more interesting than Dean.

I never quite got the Dean phenomenon -- what all the excitement was about. Standing up to Bush, I guess, but didn't it have to be more than that? To me he seemed like your average Democratic politician. Or perhaps the rise of Dean played into, or was the result of, this dynamic that was engineered by the right in which leftism is defined solely on social issues.

A perfect example is the work of Anne Coulter. Who are these ubiquitous liberals she valiantly wages her war against? Maybe mighty union leaders? A secret oligarchy of organizers and labor bosses? Powerful cabals of activist janitors shutting down industry for their own gain? No, such leftists don't exist, and, in Coulter's universe, Americans don't care about economics anyway. She rails against the elitist editors of the New York Times for shedding no tears when Dale Earnhardt died. Or Hollywood bigshots who think they're better than everybody and are out of touch with flyover country. Your average American, you see, isn't concerned with empowerment in the workplace, with having decent benefits, a good salary, and job security -- no, no, no, what Joe America is concerned about is whether that snobby Barbara Streisand is looking down on him. The right likes to say it's persecuted by powerful liberals; unfortunately, in the sphere of life and culture where the real power resides, the right killed off the competition long ago-- there aren't many powerful progessives persecuting the poor ultra-rich -- so they have to point their finger in a different direction, in the social direction. (In this paragraph, I'm basically paraphrasing an article in the current issue of the great little journal The Baffler that unfortunately is not online)

What does this have to do with Dean? Well, this worldview has won out. In the case of the good governor, it's won out to such an extent that a guy like Dean gets treated as if he's Eugene V. Debs when in fact he's a fiscal conservative who, you know, voted for NAFTA and wants to extend it. But, I guess all those guys on DailyKos bemoaning the loss of the true progressive candidate like disgruntled Greens don't care about NAFTA. Seriously, that's what I guess.

When leftists say there's little difference between the two parties mostly what we are talking about are fiscal and economic issues. The claim is viewed with shock and outrage, like it's the ravings of a crazy person, but only by those who are fully entrenched in the the-social-sphere-is-the-only-sphere worldview.

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