Thursday, December 09, 2010

Digby: "Triangulating In The New Millenium"

I should add that I also don't buy that Obama isn't drawn to centrist "New Democrat" solutions on the merits. His health care plan was very much a New Dem proposal, particularly since he put no muscle behind the one non-New Dem element in the program and helped the conservatives (serving as proxy for the GOP) in his own party use it to triangulate against the base in the final legislation. His stimulus program was half tax cuts. His economic advisors are mostly centrists and he has seemed to place a huge amount of faith in business to take the lead in fixing the economy. He may think he's "a pragmatic, non-ideological" politician but what he is in practice is a centrist. And the center is not where it used to be.

And that's why liberals and progressives are so frustrated. It's not just that they object to centrism on an ideological basis, which they do. It's that in this age of GOP political terrorism, centrists are effectively allies of the right wing. They foolishly thought that in a time of major economic crisis, discredited centrist and conservative ideology, a large congressional majority and a Democrat in the White House you might see just a little bit more of a push for real liberal policies. And unlike the "pragmatic" activist base of the 1990s which was sort of watching from the sidelines to see if this New Democrat thing might work and give us liberal solutions without the "baggage" of government, today's activist base has no such illusions. MORE...

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