Thursday, February 17, 2005

Bike Path Deja Vu

Yesterday I was cleaning up and I found an article I had printed out about a year ago by Mark Steyn about the "Bike Path Left."

So, you can imagine why I thought I was going a little crazy when I saw the title of this Jonah Goldberg article: Rise of the Bike-Path Left.
I was forced to think: "Was that really Steyn? Is Jonah posting old stuff? Is he stealing from Steyn? What level of outrage should I feel about this?"

Thankfully, all such fears were laid to rest when I read Jonah's first paragraph:
When Howard Dean was still on top of the world looking down on the Democratic presidential nomination, the indispensable columnist Mark Steyn, writing in the Wall Street Journal, dubbed the good doctor the figurehead of the "bike path left."

Whew, what a relief.

Anyone, Goldberg summarizes Steyn's take on the Episcopal Church Bike Path issue compared to Dean's statements on Saddam and concludes:
In short, about the war on terror Dean was dismissively blasé. About bike paths he was a pit bull.

Too true. We could easily call them the "Anti-SUV" left. They want to lash out at those that would dare to get less than 502 miles to the gallon on their family car, but when we talk about going after terrorists it's like "War on terror? What war on terror??" It's been said, but it's always good to say again: much of the Supporting-Kerry-and-still-Losing-because-of-it-Left doesn't truly believe we are at war.

But of course, they support the troops. The ones that aren't actually fighting a way or anything.

As always, Goldberg's article is well worth reading (I mean, c'mon, anyone who can convince national review to put a groundhog on the cover of the magazine because he wants to right a feature about a Bill Murray movie has to posses some kind literary magic!) but here are two incredibly descriptive paragraph:
The essential characteristic of the Bike Path Left is its passion for lifestyle issues. Dean was famously the governor of Vermont, where lifestyle has become a religion for its urbane yet fashionably rustic citizenry. The flinty old Vermont of yore has given way to the Vermont of Architectural Digest and wealthy transplants from New York and Boston. Dean represented this transformation perfectly. In the Vermont statehouse Calvin Coolidge's sober, thrifty, visage gazes from his portrait as a native son to Dean's official governor's portrait. While all the other governors dress like bankers, Dean chose to pose as if for the cover of an L.L. Bean catalog, studiously relaxed on the shore of a pond in an open-collared flannel shirt, khakis, and racy hiking boots. Previous governors probably liked the great outdoors, too, but they didn't think their job was about validating lifestyles.

Simply because the BPL cherishes lifestyle politics doesn't mean it is always laid-back. Dean is, famously, a man of considerable rage. Just this week he remarked that he "hates Republicans." (Presumably all of those bumper stickers in Burlington proclaiming that "Hate is not a family value" will have to be scraped off.) And as the original bike path fight demonstrates, his passion about the importance of lifestyle trumps his faith in more traditional arrangements. Dean signed the first same-sex partnership law and is now a vocal advocate for gay marriage. This isn't a petty issue like a bike path. It's a very important one to voters on both sides.

And, the article's conclusion - also insightful:
In a fascinating report from the DNC's recent meeting, Tony Carnes of Christianity Today recounts how Dean sees his party's failings as nothing but a "language" problem. "We learned in the last election that language makes an enormous difference," he explained dispassionately.

Later, at another gathering, Gloria Nieto, vice chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus, broke into sobs, wondering aloud whether the Democrats would remain a welcoming home for lesbians. Dean immediately "leaped off the stage into the audience to hug her," writes Carnes. "With a sob of his own catching his voice, he brought the audience to standing ovation" when he declared, "That's why I am a Democrat."

Well, that and bike paths.

Bike paths indeed. Something for the soldiers to do perhaps, since they're not busy with a war or anything...