Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Capturing the so-called Center

Wow – Governor O’Malley is pulling no punches in this co-authored piece in today’s Washington Post:

“With President Bush and the Republican Party on the rocks, many Democrats think the 2008 election will be, to borrow a favorite GOP phrase, a cakewalk. Some liberals are so confident about Democratic prospects that they contend the centrism that vaulted Democrats to victory in the 1990s no longer matters.” Martin O'Malley and Harold Ford Jr. - Our Chance to Capture the Center

Yep – courageously he and former Tenn. Rep Harold Ford are calling on Democrats to win big in November 2008:

“With an ambitious common-sense agenda, the progressive center has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win back the White House, expand its margins in Congress and build a political and governing majority that could last a generation.”

Never mind the oxymoron that is “the progressive center”, this is good stuff and no doubt will have politicos talking for weeks to come. My only quibble is about the timing of this piece – you see, the authors early on warn:

“Some on the left would love to pretend that groups such as the Democratic Leadership Council, the party's leading centrist voice, aren't needed anymore.”

Coincidentally, I’m sure, Mr. Ford is now the head of the DLC and just last week it was reported that the Dems were No-Shows at DLC. That might have been a bit awkward since Mr. O’Malley has already thrown his hat in the ring to be no-show Ms. Clinton’s Veep with his early, enthusiastic endorsement of her candidacy. The same Ms. Clinton who went through some trouble to make last weekend’s Yearly Kos confab in Chicago…where voices criticizing such centrist thinking were in plentiful supply.

UPDATE: Soccer Dad is right that Martin O’Malley is no centrist and makes an excellent point in noting that uber-popular Bill Clinton never actually won a majority: Soccer Dad: Out in centerfield

Here another Martin O'Malley press release on said topic.

Belonging to the DLC by itself doesn't make one a centrist.
This is not primarily about left-right issues but about power. You remember "follow the money"? Follow the power. This is closer to Kremlinology than to political theory.

O'Malley did not win Annapolis as a centrist. His father-in-law is a mighty liberal icon. The DLC is worth using, the same way that my old shoes are: useful but not appreciating in value. YKos in its second year outdrew its the DLC event in its 11th year by about 4 to 1. I am glad that all the candidates went to YKos; it's about time that Democrats start punishing failure and rewarding success.

The other thing is that Bill Clinton practically owned the DLC as a power center. So of course Hillary will sent the VP to go pick it up along with Hubby, who also spoke there.

Markos Moulitsas himself is no lefty. He is an artillery veteran who was a Republican for some substantial time, who snipes at the feminist wing of his community, who expresses sharply libertarian views not just about marijuana or sexuality but about money. Other leading liberal bloggers are not that far left - Josh Marshall initially was lukewarm, not hostile, to the Iraq War and his site links to a lot of centrists and conservatives like Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan.

Daily Kos, ActBlue, MyDD and the rest of the usual suspects got behind Jon Tester, Jim Webb, Jack Murtha and Congressmen like Heath Shuler aggressively - beer-and-a-shot men, not a tie-dye shirt in the bunch.
I don't necessarily disagree Bruce - Kos has been open about his Democratic Party agenda even if I don't think most of his Kossacks are on the same page. But I think by any reasonable modern day definition, Markos is squarely a lefty...and Andrew Sullivan is a conservative only when people can use the title to embarass conservatives in general. as for Mickey Kaus, he is clever and critical of leftists - but I think that's more procedural critricism than ideological.
Agreed in toto.
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