But this approach — which resembles that used by Media Matters for America — brings its own dangers, especially if it's used as a default rather than in extreme cases. After all, while complaints about indelicate language might shame a pundit or outlet, they could also end up reinforcing stock conservative caricatures of liberals (PC, effete, loony-left) and their elite-media allies — and increasing conservative wrath.
That's why, in the end, the Democrats' best hope may be a strategy of cautious engagement. Brown's cultivation of Eagan and Braude didn't win their support, exactly, but it earned their respect, and gave Brown a (free) chance to convince liberal voters that he wasn't a nut or a buffoon. Comparable Democratic efforts to cultivate the right will probably result in some awkward monkey-dance moments. But if worried liberal pols can balance the discomfort with self-deprecating grace — and offer forceful rebuttals to GOP talking points while they're at it — that's a sacrifice worth making.
To read the "Don't Quote Me" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/dontquoteme. Adam Reilly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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