I have my own definition. An ideologue is an intellectual coward. These are the people who join a movement, but check their free thought at the door. One of the things that I love most about this 2008 Election is that it exposes the ideologues for the group-thinkers that they are.
In the last month, we've seen Hillary Clinton turn nasty in this election. Her tactics have been despicable. As Andrew Sullivan pointed out, they've done the math and the Clintons know that if they can divide the electorate on race, gender, etc, then they'll get the nomination. They've belittled Obama's accomplishments, blatantly lied about his positions, and probably are behind malicious "anonymous" emails that claim Obama is a Jew-hating Muslim.
Couple this Karl Rove-style campaign with the fact that Obama is clearly the better candidate anyways, a person would think that many Democrat blogs would be supporting Obama or at least questioning Clinton's methods. This person would, however, be wrong.
The Daily Kos is one great example of this. It is undeniably the most prominent Democrat blog on the internet, and is probably the most influential blog on the internet. Until very recently, I had not seen one iota of criticism of Hillary. Their daily posts continued to be focused on the evils of the republicans and the failures of George Bush. As if we still need a reminder that he is an abject failure. Not only did they refrain from criticizing Hillary and Bill, they actually forbade it, with this quote:
The other night there was a recommended Diary, I think it was called "Bye". The gist was that if you didn’t fully support Senator Clinton after she wins the nomination you had to leave Daily Kos and the progressive movement.
Translation: "THERE WILL BE NO DISSENT. DO NOT DEVIATE. GET IN LINE. STAND QUIETLY - WE WILL DO YOUR THINKING FOR YOU." Its hard for me to even believe that sort of crap. Coming from a community that pretends to be full of enlightened free-thinkers? Its pathetic, and it exposes most of the Kossites for what they are - ideologues; intellectual cowards. The original post of the Kossite deviant can be found here; its a good one.
Another prominent lefty blogger, one of my favorites despite his failings, is Matthew Yglesias. Matt had, until recently, given the Clintons a pass to lie. He claimed that it didn't bother him because it was "politics", and that the Democrats will need to be seasoned in the tactics of dirty politics when they go up against the GOP in the general election. I don't buy that, not for one second. If a politician is going to lie to get elected, then they'll lie when they are in office. It certainly hasn't been acceptable to these people when Bush has lied, so why the double standard? And certainly there is a continuum scale of the severity of lies. There are distortions, which happen all of the time. And then there are blatant, outright falsities, like Bill Clinton's claim that Obama supported the war in Iraq.
At any rate, Yglesias has finally caved as of late. The hideous monster that is the Clintons has finally reared its ugly head for all to see, and it is undeniably nasty. It frustrates me that it took lefties so long to start to turn on Clinton, though. It might prove to be too little, too late. However, while it bothers me, it doesn't surprise me. I spend time on blogs that range from right to left and everywhere in between. Say what you want about the right, there is not even close to the level of group-think in conservative circles as there are in liberal circles. This phenomenon explains oddities like continued opposition to nuclear power among the left. The concerns are all bogus and the benefits overwhelming, and yet changing liberal dogma to accept nuclear energy has thus far been an impossible task. Every few months, some prominent environmentalist will brave the criticism and change sides to support nuclear power. Invariably, said person will be condemned as an apostate by the entire movement.
Its ironic that a month ago, I didn't mind Hillary Clinton. I didn't love her, but certainly didn't hate her. That all has changed. I would rather see the Patriots go undefeated for the next decade than see Hillary win this election. Fortunately, I don't think she will. I believe Obama will beat her in the primary. And even if he doesn't, John McCain will pick her off in the general election. Make no mistake, I'd rather have Obama than McCain, and I'm very confident Obama could beat McCain. But if the Democrats unwisely force the nation to pick between Hillary and McCain, we're going to have another Republican president for the next four years.