Friday, May 2, 2008


POLITICO The nation's top Democrats are suddenly rushing to appear on the Fox News Channel, which they once had shunned as enemy territory as the nemesis of liberal bloggers. The detente with Fox has provoked a backlash from progressive bloggers, who contend the party's leaders are turning their backs on the base - and lending credibility and legitimacy to the network liberals love to hate - in a quest for a few swing votes. In a span of eight days, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.) and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean are all taking their seats with the network that calls itself "fair and balanced" but is widely viewed as skewing conservative. Markos Moulitsas, founder of the leading liberal site Daily Kos, told Politico's Michael Calderone: "Democrats are being idiotic by going on that network." Ari Melber, the Net movement correspondent for The Nation, told Politico by phone that progressive activists and the Netroots are "not happy about it."

SAM SMITH: A more useful approach, albeit alien to the contemporary liberal mind, is that politics is about convincing other people and not merely associating with those with whom you agree. As Brazilian Archbishop Helder Pessoa Camara once put it:

"Let no one be scandalized if I frequent those who are considered unworthy or sinful. Who is not a sinner? Let no one be alarmed if I am seen with compromised and dangerous people, on the left or the right. Let no one bind me to a group. My door, my heart, must open to everyone, absolutely everyone."

I have made it practice, and encourage others, to engage cordially with the other side. It's how you actually win votes. Far from everyone who watches Fox has the same perspective as Bill O'Reilly, In fact, in my one appearance on the O'Reilly show I didn't do all that badly. According to my post-show analysis, I managed 104 more words than O'Reilly and was actually allowed two answers of 78 and 84 words. I was restricted to five or less words in only 31.11% of my replies.


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