25 Sep 2018

There is a long list of pervasive problems in the political press, and we'll go into different facets in future posts, but two false stereotypes related to centrists and pragmatists in the Democratic Party have gotten to the point where they've become a problem in need of a fact check and thorough debunking. Some in the media have been spreading the blatantly false narrative that, in the Democratic tent, you're either a progressive, or an establishment centrist. The problem with this is that the proverbial map doesn't match the territory - the reality being that the Democratic Party leadership struggle is between liberals and progressives, with the shrinking minority of moderates left in the party not having nearly enough votes to have any chance of leading the party. Dem Power Struggle Not Centrists vs Progressives This misconception is bizarre, as centrist observers and activists - many of us being ex-Democrats because of things like this - kno...

21 Feb 2018

I don't read the Journal, save for a rare link that comes across my feed - like this one. I've heard that it's gotten worse over the last few years, so maybe this isn't as far from their norm as it seems like it should be, but when someone sends you an article, ostensibly about centrists, from a major newspaper - authored by someone who works at Brookings no less... I just didn't expect to find something so overflowing with completely false information about what centrists think, who we are and blaming moderates for things we aren't even involved with. I had to respond.   The Democratic Ideal & False Centrist Stereotypes The first few sentences seemed to be headed in a good direction. He began by speaking about how respect for the outcome of elections is on the decline (I agree), but then first goes off the rails here: "...disrespect for democratic outcomes has become particularly acute on the center-left." That just plain isn't true. ...

03 Mar 2011

This is a heartening development... a group of moderate democrats in the US Senate has reorganized under some new leadership, has actually expanded, and will be focusing on education, the debt and energy. From Roll Call: Unlike the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs in the House, the Senate group doesn’t have a colorful name or a political action committee. But it has a broader policy focus and aims to play a key role in bringing the parties and the president together, the trio told Roll Call. “The moderates can work together and focus on education, the debt and the deficit, and a clean energy standard,” Hagan said. “We’ve got to come together, bring Republicans and Democrats to the table and pass good, common-sense legislation.” Carper has been pushing President Barack Obama to embrace President Bill Clinton’s strategy of “triangulation” after the 1994 Republican takeover and said the moderate group stands ready to back his efforts to move t...

20 Feb 2011

Chad Selweski, in an op-ed for the Michigan Paper the Daily Tribune, makes some interesting points about the democrats' march to the left speeding up in recent times. It wasn't but a handful of years ago when it was the left that was the more extreme, but the Tea Party has taken the GOP farther in recent years. Not to be outdone, the left wing is having increased success at pulling the democrats farther left, pushing out more moderates and making the gap between parties even wider. This trend started with the Netroots movement of 2004, with liberal bloggers emerging across cyberspace, demanding that the Democrats shun bipartisanship and take a turn to the left. In 2011, the rigid left wing, thanks to some popular websites and TV shows, seems on the verge of taking over the party. This past week, Blue Dog Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia made a surprise announcement that he will not seek re-election. In the House, moderate Rep. Jane Harman of Califor...

30 Dec 2010

Through the recent tax bill vote and through reactions to the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan, we are able to begin sorting the "Deficit Hawks" from the "Deficit Albatrosses" in Congress.  We'll start today with the Senate deficit hawks. December's compromise tax bill raises deficits on both ends -- decreased tax rates and increased spending.  Only 19 Senators and 148 Representatives voted against this Deeper Deficit Bill, as it might be called.  Also in December, the Simpson-Bowles Debt Panel released its final recommendations -- many spending cuts with some tax increases.  While Congress as a whole has not been forced to vote on Simpson-Bowles, a number of Congressmen and -women have availed themselves of the opportunity to support it or to denounce it. The good news is that at least 25 Senators out of 100 have now taken tough stands for cutting the deficit (not counting those leaving office next week, and not counting a couple of mayb...

30 Nov 2010

The United States could have an instantly strong centrist party if Blue Dog Democrats and Main Street Republicans came together in a centrist party.  This third party would ally with Democrats on some issues and Republicans on others.  The United States does not need an either-or two-party system.  The United States suffers increasingly for this system. Many of Europe's political parties were born of such party splits. Heath Shuler's recent intra-party challenge to Nancy Pelosi drew more interest than connoted by his 43 votes.  We could add to that the 28 Blue Dog losses in this year's House races.  Comparable centrist Democratic Senators who might be interested include North Dakota's Kent Conrad. Of course, there aren't many center-right Congressional Republicans any more.  But if Blue Dog Dems led the way, a few of Congress's less dogmatic Republicans might be enticed.  Thirty-eight-year-old Shuler himself, a former star quarterback, woul...