Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Roundheads, Whigs, Know Nothings, and Liberals

This past Wednesday, DFLer Jim Cohen announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Norm Coleman. Interestingly, Cohen markets himself as a “pragmatic Progressive.” (Yes, a “Progressive” with a capital P, whatever that means.)

Since Cohen is taking excruciating pains to not be classified as a liberal, you be the judge as to whether the label is appropriate.

1. He’s a DFLer
2. He’s described by the Star Tribune as an “environmental activist”
3. He worked for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund
4. He worked for the Environmental Task Force

But don’t call him a liberal! Nope – he’s a Progressive with a capital P.

Nice try on Cohen’s part, but if he isn’t a liberal, then liberalism no longer exists – which, of course, it tragically does.

Cohen’s refusal to be labeled as a liberal is indisputable proof of the Left’s desperate attempt to reduce the toxic liberal label to a quaint anachronism of America’s past. Their efforts would have voters believe the liberal label is as relevant as that of Roundheads, Whigs, Know Nothings, and other such long forgotten parties, ideologies, and movements.

When archetypal liberal candidates like this refuse to refer to themselves as liberals, it emphasizes how truly low the liberal brand has sunk. Cohen’s refusal to embrace the label is proof that conservatism killed liberalism in the marketplace of ideas. The Left’s unwillingness to defend or even attempt to rehabilitate the term show how politically lethal the term is. Liberals (at least those who run for public office and actually hope to win) have been forced to retool themselves in a shameless and brazen Orwellian fashion. Based on such reasoning, conservatives could just as well start referring to themselves as Martians.

The obvious point here is that just because the liberal ideology has been thoroughly repudiated by voters, doesn’t mean that the Left has abandoned their goals. On the contrary, they are simply deconstructing language to repackage their discredited ideas and agenda, endeavoring once again to sell to voters something they don’t wish to buy.

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