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The Overton Window has four panes

Departments: 

(And Blue Gal, who found this, is a total hottie. I love a girl who can link to a good chart.)

Here is our current predicament:

usprimaries_2007

Bingo!

So, if we think of the chart above as a window, like the Overton window, we can see that it's our job not to just pull left, since that could still leave us in the authoritarian pane (Hillary), but left and down (shit, bias even in the axes of a "neutral" chart, fer gawdsake**). The Overton window has two axes, not one, and four panes.

overton_small And we can also see how the political discourse that the winger billionaires decided to purchase and structure thirty years ago, when they started building the VRWC, has skewed our world so insanely: Edwards is smack dab in the middle of the chart, and the middle is, as we have seen from Elizabeth, the restoration of Constitutional government. A position which our famously free press will doubtless start deriding as "extreme", impractical, and an example of pre-9/11 thinking. Before writing more stories about hair.

So, the reality-based community has a long way to go. We might be getting there. But the entire Beltway--including, and perhaps even especially, the Democrat consultant class--has a huge interest in keeping the Overton window stuck in exactly the position it is today (or moving it further right and up).

Shystee? You're the expert on this mode of thought. Corrections? Clarifications? Additions?

NOTE ** The authoritarian quadrant should be down. Closer to hell.

NOTE In a typical blogosphere chain 'o' linky goodness, (via [lambert fans himself] Blue Gal (via Blast Off (via a comment in the Times Online (via technology in Political Compass)))).

UPDATE See also comment here.

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chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

in today's political landscape, left-leaning pols are so scarce, only the fringy-est of the fringe makes it into true "freedom loving left" territory. the rest are happily and clearly living in the right, and this realization makes it easier to understand the whole "there is no difference" arguement.

but this is a good chart to throw up the next time someone starts whining about the "stalinst left" or how "nazis were socialists!" there is a whole pane of political thought that has absolutely no representation in american politics. that is how successful the right has been pushing the window to their side. it's crucial to remember- just because no politician will think/say/believe it, doesn't mean that there is not a large population of american citizens who do.

Submitted by lambert on

Here's a comment I put up over at C&L:

foo @ 149:

This chart doesn’t surprise me at all. … Partisan hackery and the two-party system has polarized the country and pushed everything to the right.

No, no, no, no. Please, let’s be somewhat analytical, and if we must sloganize, use slogans that help understanding, instead of hindering it.

The current state of our politics is structured by decisions made thirty years ago (see the Powell memo).

In brief, very wealthy right wingers–think Scaife, who funded the Arkansas project in the slow moving, media-fuelled coup that was the Clinton impeachment saga–or Coors, Koch, and others–decided to create and more importantly, fund, a network of media outlets (Washington Times, etc.), think tanks (AEI, etc.), lawyers (the Federalist Society), propagandists (Kristol, etc.), religious loons (Mullah Dobson), and, of course, candidates (DeLay perhaps being the most egregious) to structure the discourse to their advantage

It worked. That’s what the chart shows. They engineered the kind of politics that you see reflected in the chart. (The “partisan hackery” slogan obscures this history, and worse, leads to the idea that a “man on a white horse,” somehow above politics, can save us. That’s been tried elsewhere. No thanks.)

The project took thirty years to accomplish–it’s well known that the right thinks strategicallly–and the Bush administration is its rancid, and hopefully final, fruit. (There were other aspects to the project as well, I’m sure: It’s interesting to note that real wages flattened at about that time as well.)

I’ve been summarizing the goals of the project this way: To replace Constitutional government with authoritarian rule, and judging by the chart, the project has been working well. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the wingers, the American people have a lot of experience being a free people, and little experience being ruled, so they have to be trained to be ruled. That is what the so-called war on terror is all about, of course.

NOTE This is not CT. The Powell memo and the funding sources are all well-established. And it isn’t like the winger billionaires all meet in a secret cave somewhere and do detailed plans. They just laid down the broad outlines and goals, and hired it done. That’s how the rich work…

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

35K say kucinich, when asked about where they stand on the issues.

not that they will be asked for, or shown, informed fact based opinions and positions on the issues. they will be told about hair, boobs, dogs, sweaters, and which candidates like which children's books. you know, the important stuff by which the people can avoid getting a candidate that will do anything at all for them.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"...polarized the country and pushed everything to the right"

This oxymoran was brought to you courtesy of well-funded VRWC memes.

Maybe they should have a logo, like "Intel Inside," to brand their handiwork.

Even when staring at that chart and actually acknowledging that politicians and the mainstream narrative have surged rightward, still it's framed as "polarized." Amazing.

Submitted by lambert on

[snicker]

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by Dee Loralei (not verified) on

Cliff Schecter had a disturbing post about a group of "serious" beltway insiders who think democracy is bad, Bush should be President for life, that we should kill all the Iraqis and move Americans there. Some group called American Family Security. Scary, scary stuff. Just think what else they can do, if they had more than 17 months. But think where that would push the overton window.

Shane-O's picture
Submitted by Shane-O on

I enjoyed going through all the info on this "4"-paned mapping of relative ideologies.

Some observations:

1. It seems nearly impossible under the test to acheive a score that places you in Quadrant I (a left-leaning authoritarian) or Quadrant IV (a right-leaning libertarian - maybe, Tucker?) of the Political Compass. As such, only II and III seem really operable.

2. If you draw a line from the southwest corner to the northeast corner, diagonally - you really have a similar graphic analysis of the candidates along that line like the Overton line - with the same clustering to show resistance to "extreme" stances - it also shows the sharp turn to the right we have all lemented for so long.

A very interesting analysis shown by this and the prior Overton Window post. Thanks, Lb (and Blue Gal).

But what do I know?

The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority. . . . it is the one guaranty of human freedom to the American people. - Frank Irving Cobb

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

this test. i'm sure i don't have to remind anyone here of the many historical examples of when leftist ideas have been mixed with an authoritarian bent.

i harp on this because (please adjust your foil chapeau) when things get rough, and the brand of right authoritarianism is washed up enough that even with a strong police state and all the rest, they won't be able to keep people in line, what will they turn to? leftist authoritarianism.Don't follow the Shoe; the Gourd! The Gourd!!! my point here is that perhaps the emphasis is wrong in such a scheme as is in this post; the concern is about people that are authoritarians first, ideologues second. i believe that our bunch is exemplar in this regard. many of them were originally "trotskyites." further, some would place hillary in the LA quadrant more than the one she is in now. it all depends on how you skew the questions in the survey.

Shane-O's picture
Submitted by Shane-O on

... Quad I and IV seemed impossible to acheive "under the test." Of course left-leaning authoritarians are out there - even common.

...with a tip of my tin foil fidora.

But what do I know?

The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority. . . . it is the one guaranty of human freedom to the American people. - Frank Irving Cobb

Submitted by lambert on

And we all know what happened to them. They morphed into the neo-cons, and here we are.

(Which shows that Quad I is possible, even in historical memory.)

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi