by Chris Bowers, Fri May 25, 2007 at 10:40:57 AM EDT
by Chris Bowers, Tue May 22, 2007 at 11:56:26 PM EDT
- Why are all of the honorary chairs and vice-chairs of the group Democrats? Has this always been the case throughout the history of the group? Have any federally elected Republicans ever served in a prominent position in Third Way? I doubt it, because ever since I first heard President Clinton use the term "third way" about ten years ago, the only other Americans I have heard use the term are Democrats. So, if Third Way is just a bunch of Democrats, what exactly does this make them "third" from?
- I am a lefty, a liberal, a progressive--whatever you want to call it. The point is that I use those terms to make it clear that I am not a moderate or a centrist in the spectrum of American politics. Given this, does Third Way consider conservatives and people like me to be equally wrong when it comes to public policy? The reason I ask this is because Third Way defines itself as"a non-profit, non-partisan strategy center for progressives." If they are progressives, once again, what exactly are they "third" from?
Really, all of my questions boil down to this one question: to what two other ways, exactly, is Third Way "third?" It is only when I hear the answer to that question that I can determine if it is a group I want to work with or not. I mean, if we not only disagree on everything, but their entire purpose for existence is to help prevent my desired public policy initiatives from being enacted, then why would I possibly want to work with them, or even talk with them? Working with a group whose expressed goal is to defeat your "way" seems rather self-defeating to me.
Seriously, I am not being daft. I want to know what two other ways from which Third Way is "third." What views on public policy fit into one of those two ways? Who holds those views? A few specifics would be helpful. I'd like to know the people and the policies from whom Third Way differentiates itself.
Update: From the comments, The Washington Post and Alternet have interesting articles on the group.
by Chris Bowers, Mon May 14, 2007 at 12:55:56 PM EDT
However, over the past two years, I have slowly moved away from that position. While I certainly think that it is important to grow liberalism and progressivism, what I failed to take into account back in late 2004 was why people self-identified as liberal, moderate or conservative, and what they might mean when they did so. Ideological self-identification means very different things to different people, and much of the time it doesn't mean anything ideological at all. In fact, over the past two years, I have numerous studies showing that most people, like 90%, don't even really have a clear idea of what being conservative, liberal or "moderate" even means. And I don't mean that in the sense that that most people have different definitions of ideologies than me. I mean it in the sense that they don't have thoroughgoing, well-defined ideologies at all. For example, how can about 50% of self-identified conservatives believe that the federal government should raise taxes in order to provide free health insurance to all American citizens? The answer, I think, is that people mean different things when they call themselves "conservative."
More in the extended entry, including the bit where I finally have a point.
by Chris Bowers, Tue May 08, 2007 at 09:13:55 AM EDT
Two years later, it is worth revisiting this demographic divide. In 2006, the two groups made up virtually identical percentages of the electorate that they made up in 2004: 64% "White-Christian," and 37% "Non White-Christian." Not surprisingly, Democrats did better among both groups in 2006 than 2004. Among "White-Christians," Democrats when from a 63%--36% deficit to a 57%--41% deficit, and among "Non White-Christians," they went from a 68%--30% advantage to a 74%-24% advantage. Overall, Democratic improvement among both groups was virtually identical, although their gains among "Non White-Christians" are more impressive considering Democrats already held a huge advantage among that group. Here are some more thoughts on this demographic divide two years later:
by Chris Bowers, Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 12:26:19 PM EDT
While the poetic and artistic avant-garde sought to relocate the primary purpose of art away from the aesthetic function, I had a very difficult time figuring out what the Blogosphere sought to do differently than the Political Opinion Complex. However, at long last I think I have it.Three years later, I no longer agree with some of the specifics of that formulation, but I still subscribe to the general sentiment (for example, I wrote something similar in an article for the BBC last October). What I would change in my original formulation is that we are not just agitating toward action, which is of course important and the tremendous rise in progressive political activism in recent years is a testament to our success in that department, but also that we are also seeking to create a new political reality and alter the national political conscious. In so doing, we are challenging the political reality created by what I once vaguely called the Political Opinion Complex, and perhaps now even more vaguely refer to in class based terms such as the establishment media and political aristocracy. It is a political reality that has gone unchecked and unchallenged for a long time. Remarkably, and unlike most avant-garde movements, we have actually had a tremendous amount of success in our challenge to this reality. Peter Daou, who perhaps first, and perhaps still best, articulated this important function of the progressive blogosphere, must be proud, even if it isn't necessarily to the benefit of his candidate at this point in time. :)
While the corporate funded Political Opinion Complex seeks to distribute information primarily for the purpose of consumption, the primary goal of the Blogosphere is to distribute political information for the purpose of agitation / direct action. The POC only wants you to consume what it produces. The Blogosphere seeks for its consumer to act after, or even as a result of, consumption of its product. To put it another way, The Blogosphere is a counter-institutional formation that seeks to relocate the primary purpose of political and opinion journalism in agitation toward action rather than in profit-based consumption.
More Sunday blogosphere avant-gardism in the extended entry.