Politics isn't war

[I]f you spend time talking politics with people who identify as hard core progressives or movement conservatives, you’ll find that a significant percentage believe their ideology would prevail more often if only their partisans were more angry, their attacks more pointed, their operatives more ruthless. This is most often expressed via the use of metaphors that draw on the language of war and fighting. Usually it doesn’t make any sense. In war, the victor kills as many folks as possible on the opposing side. Political winners persuade more people to join their coalition…

Is there any instance in the history of American politics when aggressively virulent rhetoric from the left has resulted in a big policy win? Does anyone think that people like Michael Moore help the left rather than hurt it?

The “battles” waged by the conservative movement’s polemicists make as little sense to me. Take a guy like Andrew Breitbart. Even in the course of criticizing him for publishing an edited video that misled his audience about Shirley Sherrod, a lot of conservative writers were insistent that he is “on the side of the angels,” that his style of rhetoric has proved invaluable in the past, and that “we’re lucky he’s on our side.”