Identity Politics ...

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Nov 18, 2008 11:47 AM
Jonah Goldberg makes some good points here:

... Vice Presidential picks have always been made on a nakedly political calculus.  Was JFK's selection of LBJ "identity politics"? Or was it simply a recognition of political reality that a Catholic east-coaster needed a southern protestant on the ticket? Was Reagan's selection of George HW Bush identity politics or was it an attempt to unify the party by picking an old guard Rockefeller Republican to balance out a West Coast movement conservative?

Again, I don't think the use of the term "identity politics" is always inappropriate on the right. Pat Buchanan certainly subscribes to a real form of identity politics. But what is generally thought of as identity politics simply has vastly more credibility as an intellectual project on the left than it does on the right. Most of the time what passes for identity politics on the right is really little more than political horse trading and demographic coalition building aimed at voters who think the least about politics not at the voters best versed in conservative ideology.  Identity politics on the left produces women's studies, Chicano studies, whiteness studies, racial quotas and the like. Identity politics on the right — again most of the time — amounts to marketing.