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Oh, Those “Progressives”

Posted By Matthew Vadum On November 24, 2009 @ 6:22 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments

Left-wingers have been running away from the adjective liberal for years.

“The liberal brand is tarnished,” said Democracy Alliance member Rob Glaser, who heads the online multimedia company RealNetworks. He wants to “change the political paradigm” and treat the word “progressive” as a thing “that’s nurtured and managed just like any other brand.”

To test his theory, Glaser teamed up with John Podesta’s Center for American Progress and spent $600,000 on TV ads in the Midwest over a three-week period. He proudly claims liberals in the test areas subsequently re-categorized themselves as progressives. However, CAP research shows that as much as 40% of the public has no clue what “progressive” means. (Politico, Dec. 6, 2007)

Thomas Frank, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of the influential tract, What’s The Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won The Heart of America, resents the stereotyping of liberals as shallow, materialistic, arrogant urban elitists. This “latte libel” is one of conservatives’ “dearest rhetorical maneuvers.” It holds that “liberals are identifiable by their tastes
and consumer preferences and that these tastes and preferences reveal the essential arrogance and foreignness of liberalism.”

Astonishingly, Frank even dismisses the idea that America has a liberal elite, calling the notion “not intellectually robust.” The idea “has been refuted countless times, and it falls apart under any sort of systematic scrutiny.”

Yeah, right.

Strangely, left-of-center Americans have rechristened themselves progressives, borrowing a label from mid-century and FDR-era America often associated with radical politics.

As David Horowitz told Glenn Beck on his TV show yesterday:

You have to understand this modern left, what you call the progressives, which is, my parents were card carrying Communists, they always called themselves progressives. They belonged to the progressive party. It’s the same battle. These people are totalitarians. They think they know what’s good for you and they’re going to control you to make you do what they think is good for you even if you don’t want to do it.

Liberal may not be a political winner, but is progessive any better?


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