Over a year ago, I conducted a little experiment to see just how well my readers know their Democrats. The object wasn’t to find fault with anyone in question but rather to show that the unnamed politicians referred to were not the “progressives” many in the netroots hold up as model examples of what they feel Democrats should be. In fact, in the blind test, many “progressives” called Jimmy Carter and John Kennedy “DINOS” until they realized who the mystery Dems were.
This go ’round, I’m going to use two currently elected Democrats that the netroots are holding up as proof of sterling “progressive” success stories. You be the judge.
Democrat #1: I was elected in a red state. Some of my policy positions might be offensive to some on the left if anyone took the time to learn them. Still, I’m heralded as a “progressive” hero.
I’ve worked with Republicans to make the Clinton/DLC concept of a balanced budget a reality.
I believe the government should work to limit abortions and believe, again like Clinton, the procedure should be safe, legal, and rare.
I’m tough on crime, and especially believe in enforcing illegal drug laws.
I believe in a strong national defense.
I’m a strong Second Amendment rights advocate and will stand up to anyone – Democrat or Republican – who wants to take away gun rights.
I believe healthcare should be affordable and assessable (not neccesarily provided by the government.)
I believe we should secure our borders to keep out illegal drugs and illegal immigrants. Companies who hire illegal immigrants should be punished.
Do you think I’m a DINO?
Democrat #2: I, too, was elected in a red state and, like the case example before me, many of my policy positions may offend some in the more liberal wing of the Democratic party.
I am an absolutist on Second Amendment rights — the right to keep and bear arms.
I am not real big on affirmative action.
I don’t care much for Bill Clinton and I once refused to shake John Kerry’s hand because of his opposition to the Viet Nam war.
I’ve been described as “the most deeply conservative national Democrat since Grover Cleveland.”
Do you think I’m a DINO?
I’ll reveal the identities of these two Democrats at the end of this post…
Kristen Powers has an exceptional piece in USA Today that is actually worth your valuable time. It’s more glacial shift than radical revolution, but change is afoot in the Democratic Party.
In a low point in Democratic Party history, Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey was banned from speaking at the 1992 Democratic Convention for being opposed to abortion rights. This year, his son, Bob Casey Jr., who holds the same views, was actively recruited by that same Democratic Party and unseated Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
This was a welcome move in a party that is home to vocal and organized far-left activists and bloggers who have grown increasingly shrill and threatening toward moderate and conservative Democrats. They also have excoriated former president Bill Clinton’s brand of centrist politics. They argue for “party discipline,” best exemplified by their jihad against Connecticut’s Sen. Joe Lieberman for deviating from the party line on the Iraq war. During the past election for Democratic National Committee chair, delegates booed former congressman Tim Roemer of Indiana because he, too, opposes abortion rights.
Yet, without centrist Democratic candidates, it would have been President Bush and GOP strategist Karl Rove celebrating last week. More than half of the new House members will join the New Democrat Coalition or the Blue Dog Coalition caucuses, known for their fiscal responsibility, business-friendly stance and generally more socially conservative views. While most criticized the war, few have called for an immediate withdrawal.
In addition to running fiscally responsible candidates, the Democratic Party appealed to the vital center by slaying a few of old school liberalism’s sacred cows: aggressive secularism and intolerance of anti-abortion views. Yes, the war was a major issue. But it was critical that Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York — who ran the campaign committees — recruited candidates palatable to conservative or moderate voters who wanted to send a message about the war, but who didn’t want to compromise on beliefs about abortion, gay marriage or the role of religion in public life.
Earlier this year, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., found himself on the receiving end of left-wing rage when he urged the party to be more open to people of faith and their views. He was on to something. Many successful Democratic candidates spoke about their faith…
…For years, Democrats have quietly won governorships and statehouses in red and purple states by running candidates who shared the values of voters in their state, not the beliefs of the coastal intelligentsia. It turns out even in blue states, voters like centrist politics. After liberal anti-war candidate Ned Lamont’s primary defeat of Lieberman, left-wing activists and bloggers declared ideological victory and bragged that they had forced Lieberman out of the party for not being a “real Democrat.”
Eli Pariser, executive director of left-wing MoveOn.org, penned a premature eulogy for centrist politics in The Washington Post, ridiculing the “perennial pundit nattering about moving the party too far to the left.” A few months later, centrist Lieberman beat Pariser’s liberal candidate in one of the bluest states in the country — and centrist and conservative Democrats helped usher in a Democratic Congress.
Read the complete piece here.
New York University held a forum at their Wagner School of Public Service last night to discuss last week’s midterm elections. The guest speakers were Robert Shrum, a former advisor to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, Kieran Mahoney, a senior advisor on all three of Governor George Pataki’s New York campaigns and Rogan Kersh, a professor of public service at Wagner.
This need for the parties to capture the centrists in America was a theme that all three panelists repeated throughout the night.
“We are in a time in America were there are three parties,” Mahoney said, referring to the two traditional ideological bases and the moderates. “And all are poorly represented by the two major parties.”
The party that can win this centrist vote will win the presidency, he said. more
Meanwhile in the twilight zone, Political Cortex says “To Hell With Centrism” and their “proto-fascistic transgressions of corporate rule,” which no doubt extends to the very computers the author used to type his Marxist-style rant. Isn’t it ironic?
Here are the answers to the above “Who Am I?” profiles:
Senate-elects Jon Tester and Jim Webb.