Ann Althouse, a self-proclaimed political moderate, compares and contrasts discourse on the left and the right:
I’m just saying that I’m struck by the way the right perceives me as a potential ally and uses positive reinforcement and the left doesn’t see me as anything but an opponent — doesn’t even try to engage me with reasoned argument. Maybe the left feels beleaguered these days, but how do they expect to make any progress if they don’t see the ways they can include the people in the middle? If you look around and only see opponents and curl up with your little group of insiders, you are putting your efforts into insuring that you remain a political minority.
Or as Glenn Reynolds wrote a few years ago:
As the old saying has it, the left looks for heretics and the right looks for converts, and both find what they’re looking for. The effect is no doubt subliminal, but people who treat you like crap are, over time, less persuasive than people who don’t. If people on the Left are so unhappy about how many former allies are changing their views, perhaps they should examine how those allies are treated.
Update: Steve Green, a “Falwell-tweaking, gay-marriage supporting, drug legalizing, pro-abortion, pro-immigration, anti-trade barrier, wary-of-organized-religion kind of guy” adds:
The right seems to love a good debate, and the left seems to love pissing on them for it.
Which is too bad. Jonah Goldberg recently wrote:
If liberals really want to emulate conservative successes, I have some advice for them: Get into some big, honking arguments