Rachel Maddow did a lengthy segment last night about a portion of the Democratic Party, she calls them “Conserva-Dems,” who are not toeing the line on President Obama’s agenda. She is, needless to say, pretty much outraged by their traitorous behavior and wants to know just what the hell they think the voters elected them to do.
Maddow considers herself the archetype liberal, but she seems to have forgotten just what a “liberal” is. By definition a liberal is someone who is open to new ideas, and by extrapolation liberals think for themselves. How can you be open to new ideas if you are marching in lockstep with a monolithic ideology set forth by your party leadership, which is what Maddow wants Democratic Senators to do?
How happy would Rachel Maddow be if she were one of those Senators and the party leadership told her how she was going to vote on a particular bill, or what policies she was going to support?
The Republicans have no problems along those lines. Republicans seem to have no difficulty following the dictates of authority. Leadership sets the party ideology and the membership and politicians of the party march along in step without a murmur. Thinking is not required; talking points are provided and are parroted endlessly by all.
If you get five Democrats in a room you will get about seven opinions on any given subject, since two of them will change their minds during the discussion. Trying to lead the Democratic party is much like trying to herd a bunch of cats, because everyone is thinking about things and following the dictates each of his/her own conscience. That is both the strength and the weakness of the party; strength because it leads to some pretty good and typically sound ideas, and weakness because trying to get everyone going in the same direction is an exercise in futility.
But if you change that basic nature, you no longer have a party of liberals. You then have two parties of Republicans with different names and differing ideologies, but neither is open to change or new ideas or original thinking. That would be a terrible loss to the nation.
Rachel also did a lengthy segment with a guy from Slate.com, mocking an Al Queda recruiting manual which has been posted on the Internet. The two of them go on and on about how the manual seems at odds with what Al Queda purports to stand for, and how the manual seems to have been written by idiots. I wonder if it occurred to either of them that the manual might be a spoof, posted by some prankster, and that they have just been punked?