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March 06, 2005

Up is down

Here's Joe Klein on Meet the Press.  There is something really wrong with a world in which such a sentence could be spoken with a straight face:

MR. KLEIN:  The answer to a radical right challenge isn't a reactionary left response.

-- Michael

March 6, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

Perhaps this was a Petrarchan oxymoron: 'bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,' and so on.

Posted by: harold | Mar 7, 2005 12:53:51 AM

Joe Klien is correct. If the answer to the radical right is a reactionary left, and I believe this has been the case for alomost 20 years, then right sets the agenda, aggressivley frames the debate, and constantly keeps everyone else off balance.

The social security debate is a good example. Its a brilliant flank attack on a core liberal value. The Democrats are fighting hard to defend it. But they are still on defense and this allows the GOP to drive a hideous bankruptcy bill and radical judges. The Dem's should shut down the Senate if need be on all these issues to tie down the GOP and then go on the attack.

The Dem's need to strike hard and remorselessly at the GOP on healthcare. It is a huge issue that the GOP stalled in '94 and they should be made to pay, and pay, and pay. They'll peel off moderates in the GOP and drive a wedge between the libertarians and the Roveians.

Posted by: tom coffin | Mar 7, 2005 10:45:18 AM

"radical" and "reactionary" are not ideologies, they are adjectives describing how people hold their ideologies; both can accurately be applied to either left-wing or right-wing thinking patterns. (Not to say I support Klein's line of thinking, from what I've read about the exchange I do not; but this particular statement is valid and I think it bears consideration. The chalkboard diagram your 7-th grade civics teacher drew that said from right to left, "Reactionary" "Conservative" "Liberal" "Radical" is not a very useful linguistic template when approaching politics in the real world.)

Posted by: Jeremy Osner | Mar 7, 2005 11:25:40 AM

Would you have preferred Mr. Klein to have laughed at his own cutesy cleverness? It's an acceptable attempt at wit, if nothing else. And yes, it's deliberate -- frankly, he wouldn't have dropped a word as uncontemporary as "reactionary" if he wasn't going faux-poetical for grins.

Posted by: letters | Mar 8, 2005 11:46:19 PM

Not to mention, this is straight from the definition to which you linked for radical:

d : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs the radical right

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