Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

"Progressive Traction Among Some Factions"

Okay, I'll say it; I told you so.

Over a year ago I remarked over at Smirking Chimp that the now discredited term "liberal" should be set aside -- and that we should consider "rebranding" ourselves as Progressives. I took a lot of grief for this. Most of it turned on "I'M LIBERAL AND PROUD OF IT AND THE DAMN NEOCONS CAN'T MAKE ME CHANGE!" Now, while I appreciate that sort of determined attitude, it negates the reality we are now dealing with. The GOP has done a marvelous job of demonizing anyone who considers themsleves a liberal and has so subverted the term that it now paints you as being just a couple of notches below child molester.

But more and more the term progressive is popping up in the press, in blogs and everywhere people are talking about traditional liberal ideas and policies. And I think this is great. Why? Because it will take a lot more time and money to rehabilitate the term liberal than it will to spread the gospel of "progessive politics." How can you go wrong with the word? Both liberal and conservative carry a lot of baggage, but in the United States, where no major party has raised the Progessive banner in recent memory, Progessive just shouts; WE'RE THE GOOD GUYS!.

Progessive is by its very nature a positive, forward-looking and active term. Who wouldn't want to be considered Progessive? Even in an era where "traditional" is doing a lot of heavy lifting for the GOP, Progressive doesn't collide with it the way Liberal does. Here's an example. In the last election cycle there were millions spent on negative TV ads which used the phrasing (or something to this effect) "Joe Blow is TOO LIBERAL for ___________" (fill-in your state, county or congressional district) Now imagine the same ad saying "Joe Blos is TOO PROGESSIVE for _____________!" Doesn't quite have the same dissonance, does it? Another series of ads used by Republican candidates were the "Drag Hillary and Teddy in when all else fails" type. These would go something like this; "Bob Blowhard is even more liberal than Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton." Again, when using the Progressive appellation, it just doesn't have the same ring. Of course, you'll say (and you'd be right, initially) the GOP will simply continue to refer to Liberals as Liberals. Sure. This doesn't happen overnight. This is a long-term branding solution for the Democratic Party, not a quick fix tactic; But I insist it has to be done.

Remember, I'm not asking you to give us your morals, ethics or social conscience; I'm just asking you to understand that the parade has passed by Liberal Land and is headed in a Progressive new direction.