Naming names

Tiny as the event was… and yes, it was really tiny… we still found it interesting. The Wisconsin State Journal (here) finally identified someone who, in their notoriously blinkered editorial-page view, is “on the far left”. Of course, this is primarily interesting for what it says about the State Journal. Sort of a Rorschach ink blot test.

State Journal editorials regularly gripe about “partisans” on the “far left” and sometimes also (though less often) on the “far right”. But it’s normally just generalized grumping, not naming names.

Of course, no one should have trouble listing off a dozen or so prominent Republican extremists, real officeholders, not aging rock stars at an NRA convention. But “far left” Democrats?  Who might they be? What are their “far left” policies?

Well, hallelujah, this week, editorial writer Scott Milfred has revealed two names from the far-out extremist lists which he maintains in his head. Ready? Here they are from Monday’s editorial:

…The rest of Wisconsin’s delegation — from Madison Democrat Tammy Baldwin on the far left to Menomonee Falls Republican Jim Sensenbrenner on the far right — stuck to their respective partisan scripts to defeat progress.

Ooh, progress defeated. Again? But now we’re getting somewhere… finally the State Journal names a far-left Democrat extremist. And it’s…wait, Tammy Baldwin?? That’s OUR Representative! She’s a left-wing extremist?

We’ve elected her to Congress 7 times. (And just in passing, let’s remember who’s not been elected — Scott Milfred and the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board.)

We were out of town last week. We must’ve missed a lot of Tammy Baldwin news. Did she call for nationalizing the banks? Of course not. Even when America’s largest banks brought about their own bankruptcies in 2008, even when other countries were temporarily nationalizing their banks, no elected Democrat in the U.S. called for nationalization here. The Dems (like the GOP) voted for re-capitalizing the failed banks and retaining the failed executives in a process now widely known as “the bailout”.

There are no “far left” elected Democrats. Zero. None.

As a whole the Democratic Party has become MUCH more conservative since the 1970s, a steady trend that continues to this day. And the liberal wing of the party (of which Baldwin most surely is a member) is marginalized. During the health care debate, liberals couldn’t get a Single Payer approach considered in committee, much less debated on the floor. Much of the private insurance-based health plan actually considered and passed was once promoted by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

There IS a powerful “far right” — parts of it arguably quite nutty, as well as extreme. They think corporations are people, the President might be a secret Muslim (who really knows?), and global warming a likely hoax. And we’re not describing just random Internet trolls; this is the talk of elected Republican officials.

If someone says Obama is a socialist, does that mean there’s anything to it? If the editorial page editor describes Tammy Baldwin as being on “the far left,” does that mean she is, or that the editorial writer is commenting from the far right?

As grandma said:

That lady who saw the Blessed Virgin on a toasted cheese sandwich was sayin’ more about herself than she was about the sandwich.

2 thoughts on “Naming names

  1. Jon

    Great post. You could make the point that Dennis Kucinich was a “far left” politician, but he’s of course no longer an elected official. For a far left Wisconsin politician, you’d have to go all the way back to Frank Zeidler, who left office in 1960.

  2. J Post author

    You know , I don’t know a thing about Zeidler except that he was a socialist mayor of Milwaukee. Did he ever do anything as mayor that seems notably socialistic? -J