Do you think we effectively pointed that out, though? Did we make the connections and draw the lines? I think Kerry touched on all of these things, but he didn't very clearly assemble these ideas into a governing philosophy. I think the Democrats divided the question and approached it is "let's nuetralize Bush by putting up a military hero so that we can focus on economic issues instead." If you look at what "electability" meant back in the primaries, you would probably find that that is the case. I take Walzer to mean that we should talk quite a bit about our views on national defense, but that our views are implied from the set of positions we share anyway. We just have to connect the dots.
I do think Obama may have done well if he was, hypothetically, the nominee.
VEry astute observation. Walzer mentions in there that he does not believe the left has even begun to come to grips with the enormity of the failure of communism, and along the same lines, he seems to suggest that the end of the Cold War plays a part in the crumbling of our traditional ideological stances. This makes sense to me, though I am not sure either to what extent it is true.
I DO think that one thing that definitely happened is that conservatives used to opportunity when the wall fell to argue that ALL state regulation had a relation to discredited Communism. I definitely see a connection between the fall of the Wall and Republican overreaching in the last 15 years.
I think what Walzer is talking about here is in reference to ideology. For modern right wing ideology, the free market functions as a catch-all solution to social ills and international problems. I don't think he is making the claim that the free market is to be opposed, just that the idea or the ideal of the free market functions as an ideological catch-all. If you catch what he is saying in context, that is how I read it. Analogy: "free market":"today's conservatives" as "history":"marxists."
Check out the partisan and ideological ID of the Baby Boomers vs. the common stereotype of that generation as a bunch of anti-athoritarian hippies. The conservatives only seem to have made great gains in this group. Looks like the minority liberals in that generation may have succeeded in converting the next generation into rough ideological parity or even into a slim plurality vis a vis conservatism.
The Texas wingnuts have been saying some amazing things recently. I think it is time to have a blogswarm and introduce them to the nation. In addition to Tom Delay, Sam Johnson, a conservative Congressman, is one of the most extreme Soc Sec privatisers and recently joked that we should actually nuke Syria. One Texas congressman has signed on to the Constitution Restoration Act (which would force judges to acknowledge that God is the source of laws). John Cornyn. Alberto the Terrible. Bob Perry (of Swift Boat fame). Kay Hutchison has also hired one of the Swift Boat architects to help her Governors campaign.
Time to tie them all together into a neat little package. I would be willing to host a Texas bloggers coordination petition or blogswarm from my blog, Corked Bats.
The point I am trying to make is that the broader fight they have is not about affirmative action. It is about discrediting liberalism. So the best response is to defend liberalism, not play into their trap in a game they have rigged.
But I am not as ecstatic. It is bad news in another way. The window in which death penalty opposition can argue politically for what is really needed--a full abandonment of the unfair, immoral practice of executions--is slowly closing. As more and more protections/restrictions are put on the death penalty under the radar screen (meaning without high profile politicians publicly agreeing), the public will further solidify its belief that the death penalty is an acceptable institution. Unless the Democrats and liberals make hay while the system is so obviously inequitable and broken, the law will probably settle in favor of a death penalty for a long time as it becomes less "cruel and unusual" through court restrictions and through DNA testing. Every time one of these victories happens without any Democratic framing, it actually makes the death penalty more likely to stay.
I am very glad that we will no longer be executing children. But it is time that the Democrats revived their pro-civilization stance on the death penalty before the illusion that it can be reformed and civilized gives us another hundred years of it.