Why There’s So Little Intellectual Debate On The Left

by John Hawkins | September 17, 2007 10:02 am

Anyone who follows politics knows that there is a lot of intellectual discussion on the right and very little on the left.


Because conservatives are willing to criticize each other and debate policies while liberals, as a general rule, only allow criticism of other liberals for not being liberal enough.

For example, take the MoveOn.org “General Betray Us” ad. At best, it was a huge tactical error that made the Left look like extremists and gave the GOP a great opportunity to go on the offensive. At worst, it was a horribly offensive ad that portrayed a general as a traitor for speaking the truth about a military turnaround that he has led in Iraq.

Yet, on the whole, there was only a small amount of criticism of the MoveOn ad from the Left.

Why? Let me show you why.

Here’s Elizabeth Edwards speaking out about the MoveOn ad,

“Someone who’s spent their life in the military doesn’t deserve ‘General Betray Us,'” said Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Elizabeth Edwards spoke in an interview after a Des Moines campaign appearance. She noted that her father was a career naval officer, and she grew up on Navy bases, so she said she respects military service.


Elizabeth Edwards said the group could have made its point by simply using Petraeus’ own previous words about purported good news in Iraq without insulting him personally.

She said she generally supports grass-roots organizations like MoveOn.org for giving average people a voice. “But I’m probably not going to agree with everything that any one group says.”

Now, that was very gentle criticism of MoveOn. But, even that “Thwack on the wrist with a wet noodle,” fired up Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake[1] enough to write an upset, heartfelt, open letter to Elizabeth Edwards,

Dear Mrs. Edwards,

You’re a smart woman.


So I was really disappointed today to read at Taylor Marsh’s place that you had joined with Diaper Dave Vitter and John “McCarthy” McCain to attack MoveOn. We (and by that I mean the netroots) defend you when the MSM try to make your campaign a pinata over stupid, insignificant stuff. When they try to say your race should end because of your illness, but don’t say squat about Fred Thompson’s lymphoma. We’re your first line of defense, the only messaging machine that progressives have.

So here’s the rule. You never repeat right wing talking points to attack your own, ever. You never enter that echo chamber as a participant. Ever. You never give them a hammer to beat the left with. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

…Understand that they [MoveOn] have contributed a lot to the anti-war movement and that from a practical standpoint, the Edwards campaign needs the solid support of the base to get where he needs to go and everybody’s feeling a bit played this week because nobody other than MoveOn seems to want to take on the carefully orchestrated dog-and-pony show that just bought us a few more Friedman Units of war. And we’re not very happy when the people we defend turn around and start kicking them for it.

We love you. We want to love you.

Knock it off.

In other words, don’t criticize other lefties. For any reason. EVER. Or we won’t “love you.”

Is it any surprise that paranoia, insane Bush hatred, and vile rhetoric are standard operating procedure on the Left when the only thing you can do that is out of bounds is be “too conservative” or criticise other liberals?

  1. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/09/16/netrooter-berates-elizabeth-edwards-criticizing-moveon-ad

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