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A Lament About Centrism

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Sideshow, in response to a couple posts by Kevin Drum on centrism, laments why Dems can’t get their act together and talk about the things that really matter.

I’m sick and tired of being told the base is too far left. What does the base believe in? Universal health care, universal education, safe and fair employment, a healthy economy that provides good jobs, regulation to prevent corporations from defrauding us, care for our environment.
The exact same things that more than two-thirds of Americans believe in.

There’s nothing wild or extreme about that – it’s absolutely ordinary, moderate, apolitical American stuff.

The reason people don’t vote for the Dems isn’t that they are “too far left”, it’s that there is no one, especially in the Democratic leadership, who is pointing out that liberals believe in these things.

Interesting thoughts.

See, the more and more I blog here at Donklephant, the more I realize that centrism means defending your beliefs, while still keeping your world view open enough for ideas that challenge and possibly change those beliefs. Now, does this mean that tomorrow I’m going to come out in favor of the war in Iraq? No. But it does mean that I can see the decisions that led up to it weren’t the work of men guided by ignorance and greed, a view held by many on the left.

Sideshow also comments on the divisive social issues of the day.

Stop pretending it’s liberals who keep prioritizing gay rights and abortion – those are settled issues for most Americans, the vast majority of whom do not want Roe v. Wade overturned and oppose discrimination against gays.

It’s the Republicans who bring those issues up over and over again. Bill Clinton didn’t announce that allowing gays in the military was more important to him than health insurance – the Republicans jumped up and started screaming about it when he was just barely in office. People dearly wanted the Clintons to deliver on that promised healthcare advance, and the Republicans muddied the discourse by shouting about soldiers staring at each other’s hineys in the shower. It was deliberate – nobody cared, but it was a good way to make Clinton look like he was prioritizing gays over the healthcare everyone wanted. And that pissed a lot of people off, including his most ardent supporters.

So, as far as the public is concerned, Democrats promise healthcare and don’t deliver. This is currently a vital issue for most Americans, and they think the Democrats just pissed it away over gay rights. That’s the kind of thing that could really make people lose faith in a party.

If the Democrats want to win, they need to find a way to beat that perception. Maybe the first thing is to start asking why the Republicans are more focused on gay rights than on issues vital to the security of Americans, instead of pretending it’s “liberals” who are doing that.

As they say, read the whole thing.