The fruits of polarization

I’ve been thinking about what to say about the nasty, deliberately insulting ad and found Andrew Sullivan just said it for me. Sullivan is a conservative blogger who renounced the neocons a while back and has the scars to prove it. He’s also one of the most eloquent bloggers around.

The depression one feels at the state of American politics these past two weeks is only intensified by the news that has managed to raise $500,000 off the opportunism of Bush, McCain and those elements of the pro-Bush blogosphere who think attacking Moveon is somehow an alternative to figuring out how to move forward in Iraq and the Middle East. The Moveon ad was dumb and crudely hyperbolic. In other words, it was Coulteresque. would have opposed this president in this war whatever he did. But they are now the president’s unwitting ally in deflecting responsibility from his criminal negligence in Iraq.

This is how it goes. And when you consider the prospect of a Clinton-Giuliani race next year, you know that in wartime, the major parties will be far more interested in tearing this country apart for their own Rovian purposes than in uniting us against a deadly and increasingly successful foe. This is how democracies perish – by picking short term polarization over long-term strategy, by deciding to fight each other as a distraction from intelligently fighting our real enemies. And when the next attack comes, it will divide us more profoundly than ever before. If that’s what you want, then Rudy and Hillary are your candidates. They will keep this cycle going; in fact, they need it to succeed.

It is a cycle to hell.

The ad was designed to slime Bush and Republicans. The aim was to build support for Democrats. This is not the way to put an end to war, nor was that even their primary intent. And it was Coulteresque, seeking to deliberately polarize for short-term partisan political gain. Unless we as a country decide to put an end to these vile attack ads and do so quickly, then the next fourteen months will be filled with incessant rage-inducing ads and they will grow nastier and nastier as the election date nears. Until, presumably, we are all foaming in rage against Them. And nothing will be solved.

Sullivan is quite correct. This kind of polarization is precisely what both parties want, and neither can exist without the other doing it too. Sick.


  1. As I have said before, Hillary has told us what she will give us, and it is exactly what Sullivan describes: four years (maybe eight) of divisive, anti-Republican politics that will do nothing to solve the many problems we face. Yet she’s the one to beat next November.

    I would ask how this is possible, yet it seems to be not only possible but inevitable. I would ask why we fail to elect a leader with real character, but the pickings from the Democratic-Republicans are slim– little character is offered.

    And I fear that change will require thirty years of grass roots work before we see results. For those who say we don’t have thirty years to wait, I reply that we’ve already waited too long, so let’s get at it. Or in a decade we’ll lament that we still have thirty years of work ahead of us, and we’re worse off than ever. There is no substitute.

  2. The Y2K nuts were on to something, just didn’t know what it was – the end of the world as we know it. We need to see beyond the windshield, “America” as we have known her is over. We need to be mitigating the “new” world our grand-children are growing up in.

  3. Had I researched more, I’d have never have blogged about MoveOn last week.

  4. Bob, well said. I have no sympathy for Moveon.


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