Saturday, May 26, 2007

Laura Flanders on electoral politics and media

By Jeffaclitus

Okay, first, as you can see just above, I've changed -- or really just tweaked -- my nom de blog. The new name burst forth fully formed from the head of the excellent
Sylvia, like Athena from the brow of Zeus, here (scroll up a bit to hear my lament about the old moniker, Heraclitus, which struck me as too pretentious and really out of keeping with my blogging persona).

Anyways, on to the substance of the post: Amanda Marcotte has
a very interesting interview up at Pandagon with Laura Flanders, author of a new book on the future of the progressive movement and the Democratic Party. The interview covers a lot of ground and Flanders has a lot of heterodox ideas about how the Democrats can strengthen their party and what they can learn from the conservative movement. Here's a sample of the interview:

One of the biggest breaks you make with conventional wisdom is your advice for liberals to embrace the culture wars instead of just changing the subject and hope they’ll go away. You disagree strongly with the Thomas Frank theory that cultural issues are a distraction from “real” issues like labor and the economy. What are your objections to the changing-the-subject strategy?

I say that the Democrats are never going to be anti-gay or anti-abortion or anti-racial justice enough to please their critics. On the other hand, they could learn from their friends. These fundamental issues of fairness are not losing issues; it’s how the Democratic candidates tend to deal with those issues that trips them up. In just a decade of talking about gay marriage, now 66% of Americans support some legal recognition for gay and lesbian relationships. My book BLUE GRIT is full of examples of candidates who have won office -- even in conservative areas -- by standing up on these issues and gaining respect. Candidates who duck and dodge look shady. They certainly don’t look like leaders.

For instance, Hillary Clinton was asked point blank: “Do you believe homosexuality is immoral?” She answered, “I’ll leave that for others to decide.” That’s not leadership. Moreover, it’s insulting to her very own base.

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