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The Democrats' Michael Moore Problem

Look in the mirror, Dems.
 
 
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Democrats have a problem on their hands with the likes of Michael Moore. He terrifies them. But Michael Moore is not the problem; the Dems' themselves are the Dems' Michael Moore problem.

It has to do with how you define "fringe." The right defines it as anyone who believes in anything that veers to the left of Genghis Khan. The Democrats' Michael Moore problem is that they seem to agree; there's no institutional push-back from mainstream progressives - the people who get on TV - to the relentless vilification of progressives in the public view.

I've seen Michael Moore's films. They're well researched, entertaining and they promote mainstream progressive values, the same values, I might add, that many Democratic voters and activists embrace. He talks about entrenched interests gaming the system at the expense of the little guy. He talks about union issues, and the fact that our country is flooded with guns. He says what most progressives think: that George Bush lied us into a war. There's nothing "fringe" about Michael Moore.

It's a one-sided fight; we get hit and don't hit back. Consider the following account of David Horowitz -- perhaps the looniest loon on the right (and formerly the left) -- visiting George Bush at the White House (sorry, I won't link to his blog):

I hadn't been at an event with the President (who is looking slim and trim) in four years and didn't know if he would recognize me. But the minute he saw me in the line he called out "Horowitz" with a big smile on his face, then embraced me in a bear hug. In the moment I had his ear I said, "Thank you for taking all those arrows for the rest of us." Graciously, he said, "You take more than I do," which I don't and said so. Then as I was walking away he called out, "Don't let them get to you." I called back, "Don't you either," and he replied in a strong voice. "I won't."

I don't know if they swapped spit, but it makes you want to retch.

The point is that Horowitz is a maniac who has admitted to treason for his violations of the Espionage Act.

But no national figure has so far painted Bush with the same guilt-by-association brush as the right uses so effectively to marginalize the likes of Michael Moore.

Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer .