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View Diary: Trouble in "centrism" land (154 comments)

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  •  Democrats = Centrists? (1+ / 0-)
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    Delirium

    Look, the problem here is a distinct lack of understanding of what the word "centrism" means. If it means, "Where the majority of the American people live", then there is already a "centrist" organization.

    It's called the "Democratic Party".

    Now this is an interesting notion.  On the basis of a single election victory, one that was narrow at that, Democrats are now to be characterized as "Where the majority of the American people live"?  We're just supposed to forget about the string of election losses that came before that?  We're supposed to say that everything is hunky-dory and Democrats are in perfect sync with the people?

    I don't think so.

    The passion and energy in the Democratic party comes from a segment of the population that is as much a minority as the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who provide the passion and energy in the Republican party.  To take just a few examples, progressive activists who fight any restrictions on abortion, any rollback of affirmative action, who campaign for higher taxes and who want the UN to play a greater role in international affairs are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to convincing the population as a whole.  Core Democratic activists are culturally suspicious of American power, suspicious of the military, suspicious of organized religion and suspicious of business.  This is also not where the American people are.

    To be sure, on certain issues, like Iraq, the progressive view is winning the day.  I would also say that the American people will eventually embrace a progressive approach to health care as the current system is simply not sustainable (and because business will eventually become an ally on that issue IMHO).  But on most issues, Democratic activists are a long way from the center of American opinion.  If they weren't, then there probably wouldn't be a need for them to be activists.

    To sustain a majority, Democrats need to appeal to more than just this core group, obviously.  They need to appeal to people who aren't put off by American military power, who are troubled by abortion-on-demand, who realize the need to strike a balance between environemntal and economic interests, who want to scrutinize affirmative action, and so on.  In other words: centrists.

    I hope Democrats don't make the same mistakes as Republicans did 12 years ago by misinterpreting a narrow victory as evidence that the American people are in the mood for a "revolution" in the way they are governed, thereby justifying overreaching the mandate.  Just as conservatives shouldn't have misinterpreted Republican victories as endorsements of "movement conservatism", so Democrats shouldn't misinterpret Democratic vicotries as broad endorsements of progressive politics.

    •  You are confused (0+ / 0-)

      I would not say that the activist left of the Democratic Party are "where the majority of American people live" ideologically speaking, but clearly, even when the GOP was getting half or slightly better of the vote for a few elections, one the vast majority of key issues that really effect most Americans lives, people fit with the Democratic Party mainstream. It's really only because of manipulation fear that the GOP has one any elections in the past decade. The "activist left" is in fact only one of several poles that pull at the body of the Democratic Party along with the DLC and lobbyists in another direction, the "libertarian Democrats" in another direction and the populists in yet another.

      Perhaps you were attempting to set up a straw man. If so you did nto even do that effectively. The Democratic Party is a very big tent. Kos is correct. On most issues, when the smoke clears, most people fit clearly within the range of the Democratic Party - the party which serves the interests of all but the ruling elite.

      •  Brad the Dad isn't confused (1+ / 0-)
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        pHunbalanced

        he's a trool. Though I admit he's playing it cooler than he was before the election. Lot of the old LieberDefenders seem to be back on the payroll today.

        •  Aha (0+ / 0-)

          I had not looked at previous posts. I just saw the fairly low uid# and figured he must just be one of those marginal types. Upon closer review you are correct. Maybe it's the season that caused me to be more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt.

          Speaking of the season, not so much in the spiritual sense but rather tha climatic sense, how are things in CO? Are you able to get about?

      •  I wish I could agree with that (0+ / 0-)

        I consistently see people lining up on the other side on issues I care about, though.  Take the various Democratic proposals to expand protections and rights for gays---it's always an uphill battle, with most Americans instinctively siding with the Republicans.  Ban flag-burning?  The Democrats, with a handful of exceptions, take the reasonable and principled stand against the ban, but the American people are by and large in the idiot-patriotism camp.

        When the smoke clears, generally most idiocy of the government of the American people stems from idiocy of the American people, against which more progressive elements must constantly strive.

        "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

        by Delirium on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 06:36:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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