(c) Josh Sager –
Modern conservatives have a remarkable, if immoral (and occasionally delusional), ability to attack their political opponents regardless of their opponents’ actual actions. In order to attack political opponents who have not committed scandal-worthy offenses, conservative hit-groups and activists (ex. Karl Rove) simply manufacture a scandal and have their conservative allies repeat it until it becomes real to the public. It matters little whether or not the attacks are factual, just as long as enough people believe in it for it to become politically dangerous.
Examples of such attack campaigns:
- The Swift-Boat Veterans for Truth, which speciously attacked Kerry’s war record during his race against George W. Bush for the presidency.
- The destruction of ACORN based upon altered video and false allegations that ACORN was helping pimps get their employees abortions.
- The labeling of Barack Obama as a radical leftist, despite the fact that he has enacted a centrist agenda, much of which was copied from the Republican platform of the late twentieth century.
- The “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal; Rep. Daryl Issa (R-CA), a conservative politician, turned a small, if regrettable, scandal into a large-scale witch-hunt that ended when reports were leaked that indicated that nothing unethical had taken place, but not before the conservative Congress voted to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt.
Progressives must keep in mind that whatever their actual policies are, the right wing will attempt to brand them as “extreme leftists” and “socialists”; given the dismally low level of public information knowledge held by the public, these labels may even stick. If such labels are unavoidable, then there is no reason for progressives to tip-toe around the issues and moderate their speech so as to avoid being labeled. Moderating progressive beliefs in order to avoid being labeled as extremely liberal will only result in the situation where progressives suggest moderate policies, yet they are inaccurately labeled as extremely liberal
Progressives should disregard all conservative criticisms and attempt to express exactly what policies they support without moderation. Given that conservatives will always label progressives as extreme, progressives lose nothing if they actually propose extreme policy changes. Even if progressives suggests extremely liberal policies, the right wing has already used extreme enough labels for moderately liberal policies that there are no descriptors left to attack truly progressive policies. After calling every Democratic policy a socialist attack on freedom, conservatives have essentially used up their vocabulary to negatively describe left-wing policies.
Put plainly: What are conservatives going to say if progressives unapologetically suggest progressive policies? Call them socialists and communists even more?
Progressives should promote the policies which they believe to be beneficial to society and should push endlessly to convince the public that they should support such policies. Moderating progressive policy based upon fear of conservative criticism is ineffective and will never lead to the end-result of truly progressive policies being enacted. It is better to truly be a progressive and to be labeled as one, than to become a moderate out of fear, only to be falsely labeled a progressive.