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DR Welcomes The Gadflyer

Right now, you're probably asking yourself: where can I find a progressive, edgy webzine, featuring a wealth of talented young writers, that's going to take the kind of tough approach to Bush and the right that they've taken to us?

Well, ask no longer. It's here: The Gadflyer opened its cyberdoors today and it is well worth a visit (full disclosure: I am a member of their Board of Advisors). As Paul Waldman, editor-in-chief of The Gadflyer puts it:

What progressives should learn from Norquist isn't just the power of organization and coordination, as important as they are. Rather, it's the warrior spirit that animates Norquist and his allies. As Newt Gingrich told the conservative Heritage Foundation back in 1988, "This war [between liberals and conservatives] has to be fought with the scale and duration and savagery that is only true of civil wars." After George W. Bush took office in 2001, Norquist told the crowd at a Republican fundraiser, "The Democrats are the Lefties, the takers, the coercive utopians…They are not stupid, they are evil. Evil!"

No one is suggesting that progressives go to these extremes, either in their hearts or in their rhetoric. But they need to understand what they're up against. In the 1984 film that made the career of California's current governor, a soldier sent back from the future explains to the heroine the nature of her cyborg enemy, and offers a perfect description of today's conservative movement: "It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop – ever – until you are dead." When this is what you're facing, you have two choices. The first choice is to run and hide. Rightly or wrongly, this is the choice progressives believe their leaders have taken in the past few years. The second choice – the only choice – is to stand and fight.

Or, as Tom Schaller, The Gadflyer's executive editor puts it:

Years from now, we will look back on this time as a critical moment in the history of American politics in general and progressive politics in particular. It will be either the moment when progressivism was beaten into utter submission and began its long walk in the wilderness, or the moment when progressives got up off their knees and turned the tide.

There is no doubt that the right has many advantages in the war of ideas and the war of politics, not least of which is the seemingly limitless stream of money that funds their efforts. But more than any other factor, their successes have been built on the mindset with which they approach politics. Simply put, they play to win.

It's time for progressives to do the same.

Kinda gets the blood coursing in your veins, don't it?

So, without further delay, point your browser at The Gadflyer and stop by often.


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The gadflyer is defective in that it doesn't really have a comments section. I think this is one of the best parts of many of the blogs extant today. I want to learn from the site but I also want to participate and learn from the readers. In this sense, not having a comments section is old top down journalism. For this reason, I don't see myself frequenting the site that often. Shame.

I wish I could feel enthusiastic about the Gadflyer, but the writing is poor and cliche-ridden. Check out the excerpt from the front-page post on DonkeyRising:
beaten into utter submission ... long walk in the wilderness ... got up off their knees ... turned the tide ... the war of ideas ... they play to win.

Terrible, terrible writing. Their writers write on autopilot. If they don't improve their writing, the site won't have many visitors.

Thank God for Howard Dean who got the spine back into the Democratic party. Anyone who had a part in his downfall should really rue the day they helped keep this straightforward, intelligent person from gaining the presidency. I don't believe most people know how to pick the best man for the job. There are not enough thinking people.