Regarding the Left's newfound confidence in "letting go of the right": I don't know if it's a good trend or a bad one. I tend to think it's probably good, even if it's counter-intuitive. When you change the actors, you change the dynamics.
Perhaps a robust internal debate completely divorced from pesky conservatives will force the Left to decide how to practically implement what it's in favor of. It's easy to be against the GOP. It's easy to demonize opponents (and yes, I sometimes do that, too). It's easy to come up with a list of positions that you're in favor of. But how do you practically apply it? The Left needs a higher-quality internal debate.
Other thoughts ...
One reason that I turned right (after years of being a liberal Democrat) was the conservatives were having a higher-quality discussion. Back in the 80s and 90s, they were sincerely trying to address issues such as the failures of the welfare state, the decline in public education, and threats to our national security. I worked in inner-city schools — let me tell you, more money isn't going to do a damn thing. And everywhere it's been tried, it doesn't work. Society in those areas has collapsed. You can't throw money at cultural rot.
Unlike Atrios and others on the Left, I don't tend to think of my opponents as stupid. I wouldn't go waltzing into Crooked Timber
and say I'm the smartest boy in class. In fact, there are many smart and extremely effective debaters on the Left, and woe be to those who go in unprepared. This isn't to proclaim all Lefties smart; many are pig ignorant and have never seriously reflect on their positions.
Nor would I say Leftists are psychologically flawed. Some are sick, yes, but psychologically well-balanced, mature individuals can be liberal Democrats and even go pretty far Left.
So what's the problem with the Left?
I think to think of the problem as spiritual. I have never met a person who worships God in spirit and in truth (and you can sense the lightness and purity of spirit in being around such a person) who is pro-choice. Never. Not once. Not all pro-lifers radiate holiness, of course. In fact, a pro-life position can descend into hostile carnal viciousness pretty quickly. But my point remains the same: I have never met a pro-choice person or Leftist who was authentically holy. Never.
Same goes for wisdom. I never met a leftist who is wise. Not one. Ever. Many are intelligent, many are personable, many have extraordinary talent. But they are not wise as Leftists (often they apply wisdom in personal affairs contrary to their values; we call this "complexity"). Wisdom is open to all, regardless of education level. This is not to say all conservatives are wise: Far from it. But I've never heard a Leftist speak as a Leftist
and thought, wow, that's really wise.
Which is why I've been letting go of the left. For years. Because I believe that you can weigh the evidence, test your observations, get lots of facts, and come to a reasonable, well-thought judgment that is entirely wrong. You hear lots of liberals say, "The facts are on our side." And sometimes they are, but is the wisdom? Rarely.
The wisdom of God is folly to the Greeks ... as Paul said. So when I hear the Leftists declare us "stupid" and "silly," I hear Scripture being fulfilled. They are Greeks, and Greeks are smart, and they can come to lots of reasonable conclusions, and it all makes sense except they don't realize they live in a world in which God was tortured to death. The spirit of the age has blinded them. And us. And me. Good thing there's a savior.
Now, a caveat: Remember I'm saying Leftists. You can be a holy, wise Democrat, yes. You will have to dissent on abortion, of course. That's a no-brainer. And on gay marriage. That's a no-brainer, too. In both cases, you can come to a well-reasoned conclusion to the opposite, but you will damage your soul and alienate yourself from God and open yourself to greater spiritual delusions.
And another caveat: There is more agreement in both political parties than we're often led to believe. We like tribalism, and GOP and Dem sometimes just breaks down like that. We're like this, they're like that, and screw 'em. But if you really talk across parties, we agree on all sorts of stuff. Democrats aren't solely tax-and-spend. And Reps aren't entire spend-and-borrow. Both sides have many people who embrace practicality and are looking for ways to make things work, and others who are too ideological for their own good. When you compare the best of this side with the worst of that side, you'll always determine your tribe is the best.