There was a guy in my late-1960s ROTC unit who openly carried Mao's Little Red Book -- the then bible of communist China. A right-wing sorta guy.
When he got challenged, which happened often, he always said, "Know your enemy."
This diary aims at describing the Left.
The Political Structure (not the Power Structure) of the Left
Like communism, the Left not monolithic. It includes
-- Democrats of various stripes,
-- people who are far to the left of the Democratic Party,
-- anarchists and revolutionaries, and
-- some self-described independents.
They fight constantly amongst themselves but have certain things in common, including a fear and loathing of blogsites such as RS. That fear and loathing is one of the primary things that binds the Left together.
The Democratic Party
The Dem Party is a mishmash. It includes conservatives (as they see it) such as Ben Nelson (D-NB), opportunists such as John Kerry (D-MA), hollow drunks such as Teddy Kennedy (RIP), sell-outs such as Obama and Rahm Emmanuel, and so-called liberals such as Russ Feingold (D-WI).
If these folks have one thing in common, it's TAX AND SPEND. Reagan was absolutely correct about this.
Basically, all these folks are corrupt. They can be had for the right price. They are no more idealists than was Joseph Stalin. But they all talk the talk.
A lot -- perhaps most -- of the individuals who post on Dkos and FDL are far to the left of the Democratic Party and HATE the Democratic Party political and power structures. There are many idealists in this camp.
In my opinion, idealists (not purists) on the Left and Right have certain things in common. Chiefly, a desire for good government.
Anarchists and Revolutionaries
Small in number, these folks are colorful, really angry, and entertaining.
They want -- to various degrees -- to tear down the whole house and start from scratch.
These folks are way beyond party labels.
I call these folks rationalists. They are really angry and basically hate both major parties. They leaned distinctly Left during the GW Bush years, but came out hard right and angry for Scott Brown.
These individuals will be the wild card in the 2010 and 2012 elections. They will determine the make-up of the House and Senate and determine who is elected President in 2012.
They comprise about 20- to 25-percent of the voting public.
Two Flashpoints for the Left
Republicans CAN pick up Left-leaning voters, as Scott Brown has shown. In my opinion, the election of Scott Brown to the Senate is the most significant political development of the past 40 years.
One of the last fights I had on Dkos was on the night before the Massachusetts election, when I presented the case for why Massachusetts voters should vote for Scott Brown. I got attacked viciously, but a fair number of posters agreed with me.
There are two big flashpoints for the Left -- and a Republican presidential nominee needs to know how to finesse them:
-- abortion rights, and
-- religion in the public sphere
Reagan and Obama both finessed the abortion rights issue, saying they were personally pro-life, but that the law was settled. Roe v. Wade affords such good political cover -- even though it's a terrible decision.
The constitutional law on religion in the public sphere (e.g., prayer in public schools) is pretty much settled as well, so there's lots of political cover here also.
I had to know and understand my enemy in Viet Nam. War is not simply about overwhelming force, although that is the principal tenet of U.S. military doctrine.
Republicans -- conservatives generally -- need to know and understand their enemy as well.
Think about this: the U.S. military was able to turn a LOT of Viet Cong and NVA regulars into supporters of the South Viet Nam government.
Conservatives can do the same thing today in the political arena.