Radicalism and the Blogosphere

RADICALISM AND THE BLOGOSPHERE….We have two interesting entries in the Chait/Kos/Atrios war tonight. First, Jon Chait backs off his contention that lefty blogs “refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent,” but then tries to salvage his original critique by saying that the blogosphere’s hard-edged worldview “is suggestive of a tendency to move in more radical directions over time.” This is pretty weak brew, no?

The rest of his post hits a little closer to home, I think, but I’ll leave that for another time. Sticking with the ideological front for now, Atrios weighs in with a short list of stuff that he thinks most lefty bloggers agree on. Since I know most of you guys won’t click through to read it even if I ask really nicely, here’s the whole list (the serious part, anyway):

  • Undo the bankruptcy bill enacted by this administration

  • Repeal the estate tax repeal

  • Increase the minimum wage and index it to the CPI

  • Universal health care (obviously the devil is in the details on this one)

  • Increase CAFE standards. Some other environment-related regulation

  • Pro-reproductive rights, getting rid of abstinence-only education, improving education about and access to contraception including the morning after pill, and supporting choice. On the last one there’s probably some disagreement around the edges (parental notification, for example), but otherwise.

  • Simplify and increase the progressivity of the tax code

  • Kill faith-based funding. Certainly kill federal funding of anything that engages in religious discrimination.

  • Reduce corporate giveaways

  • Have Medicare run the Medicare drug plan

  • Force companies to stop underfunding their pensions. Change corporate bankruptcy law to put workers and retirees at the head of the line with respect to their pensions.

  • Leave the states alone on issues like medical marijuana. Generally move towards “more decriminalization” of drugs, though the details complicated there too.

  • Paper ballots

  • Improve access to daycare and other pro-family policies. Obiously details matter.

  • Raise the cap on wages covered by FICA taxes.

  • Marriage rights for all, which includes “gay marriage” and quicker transition to citizenship for the foreign spouses of citizens.

This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, and Atrios doesn’t pretend that every single lefty blogger in the world agrees with all of this. And it’s solely domestic stuff.

But if there’s any radicalism here, or even a tendency to drift in that direction, I sure don’t see it. As I said yesterday, it’s only modestly to the left of the DLC ? and maybe not even that. I’m not an expert on the DLC’s positions on everything, but it doesn’t look to me like there’s an awful lot there they’d argue with. (Though if anyone from the DLC wants to set me straight on this, I’ll stand corrected. And there are some contentious issues, like free trade, that don’t show up on Atrios’s list.)

So what’s left? Iraq, of course, the motherlode of disagreement between the netroots and the vast TNR/DLC/mainstream Dem axis. And on that, I have no idea how to square the circle. I don’t think anyone else does either.

UPDATE: The DLC responds here.