I know perfectly well that Republicans have the same problem with the Christian right, but for some reason it doesn't hurt them among moderates as much as lefty extremism hurts Democrats. It's not fair, but it's a fact.Kevin, it happens for a very simple reason, and it's you. No, really, you're a great blogger and from all accounts a great guy, but it's the truth. This kind of thing, specifically.The spectacle of center-liberals constantly and embarassingly repudiating the left is something that is completely unmatched on the right. Indeed, as I've mentioned in the past, that's one of the strengths of the right- although they don't go out of their way to associate with the loons, they don't go out of their way to repudiate them, either.
And, yes, it's the repudiation that's the problem. Take the spectrum... left to right. (A meaningless concept, but we'll stick with it for now.) Problem is, where do you divide it? Logically, in the center. Here's the problem, though... every time a so-called "liberal" distances themselves from the right, they help to shift the dividing line, as they're consciously dividing themselves from "those lefties" in the public eye (and, honestly, in their own minds.) Enough do this, and eventually the split becomes overt- a new dividing line ends up being halfway down the left side. Once this happens, of course, any commonality between the center-left and the far-left is lost, and the right in both eyes and minds enjoys a huge consensus. After all, they're still united, and can claim the support of all these "lapsed liberals" for whatever mad policy they have in mind.
Even if the liberals in question-- shocked and horrified at being used like this-- repudiate the right as well, it doesn't matter, because they've burned bridges. They're screwed, the left is divided, the far left is so paranoid and marginalized that there's no chance in hell they'll ever reconnect with their own moderates- and if they can't move to the center, they'll move farther to the left, reproducing and emphasizing the problem.
Cal responded to his critics by claiming that they're way left of the center. Possibly true, but there's three problems with that: it assumes a center positioning that Cal doesn't back up with anything other than an extraordinarily dubious political poll, it assumes that the political center is somehow static when it is demonstrably not so, and it assumes that this somehow invalidates their point of view... which is exactly the sentiment that feeds the Movementarians and divides those who would deal with them!
(It also assumes that bloggers, and their audience, are American. Not an assumption that's safe to make nowadays.)
I normally loathe "if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem" rhetoric. In this case, however, and despite the estimable work of Calpundit in the past, I have to agree. This sort of thing is not just part of the problem, Kevin.... it is the problem.