December 16, 2004


Debunking 'Centrism' (DAVID SIROTA, January 3, 2005, The Nation)

Looking out over Washington, DC, from his plush office, Al From is once again foaming at the mouth. The CEO of the corporate-sponsored Democratic Leadership Council and his wealthy cronies are in their regular postelection attack mode. Despite wins by economic populists in red states like Colorado and Montana this year, the DLC is claiming like a broken record that progressive policies are hurting the Democratic Party.

From's group is funded by huge contributions from multinationals like Philip Morris, Texaco, Enron and Merck, which have all, at one point or another, slathered the DLC with cash. Those resources have been used to push a nakedly corporate agenda under the guise of "centrism" while allowing the DLC to parrot GOP criticism of populist Democrats as far-left extremists. Worse, the mainstream media follow suit, characterizing progressive positions on everything from trade to healthcare to taxes as ultra-liberal. As the AP recently claimed, "party liberals argue that the party must energize its base by moving to the left" while "the DLC and other centrist groups argue that the party must court moderates and find a way to compete in the Midwest and South."

Is this really true? Is a corporate agenda really "centrism"? Or is it only "centrist" among Washington's media elite, influence peddlers and out-of-touch political class?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines "centrism" as "the political philosophy of avoiding the extremes of right and left by taking a moderate position." So to find out what is really "mainstream," the best place to look is public polling data.

No, the best place to look is exit-polling data. Political parties need to appeal to voters, not the public.

Check out where the author thinks the "center" of America is on a variety of issues and you'll see a recipe for Democratic disaster.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2004 11:33 PM

"Off-center" is more like it. He must be looking at Europe, not America.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 17, 2004 12:41 AM

Why do you read this drivel?

Posted by: erp at December 17, 2004 7:38 AM

The Democratic Left abandoned the working class in 1972, when it found them to be nothing more than a bunch of racist, jingoistic Archie Bunkers.

Do you think any Hollywood weirdo or Greenwich Village artiste girlyman gives a flying f*** about the economic conditions faced by working class Americans?

Clinton abandoned them just as much as the Democrats claim any Republican has. The Democrats chose spotted owls over lumberjacks and the lumberjacks aren't going to forget that.

The Democrats chose to identify with the peacenik, upper middle class, trendnoid left rather than the patriotic working class. Given a choice between New Wave and polka, it chose New Wave. Given a choice between bowling and golf, it chose golf.

The Democrats in the heyday of Tony Coelho and Jim Wright were if anything bigger whores for corporate money than the GOP ever was, and they were to the left of the DLC.

Posted by: Bart at December 17, 2004 1:28 PM

They travel between the upper left side of Manhattan and the left side of LA and they cant understand why Bush won because they dont know anybody who voted for him and they are going to figure out what a centerist position is by reading the Nation. Yeah Right. Um Hunh. Sure. Works For Me.

Leaves Room. Shakes head.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 17, 2004 11:34 PM