Jan 032014
 

Once upon a time, I considered myself a Centrist.  I often voted for Republicans, and would vote for those individuals again, because they were more progressive than many Democrats at that time.  However, over the years, the entire political spectrum in the US has shifted so far to the right, that what used to be the middle has become the far left.  The Republican Party has purged their progressive and moderate candidates.  We need a strong progressive movement to shift the spectrum back far enough to recover the middle.

0103MiddleThe re-emergence of a Democratic left will be one of the major stories of 2014. Moderates, don’t be alarmed. The return of a viable, vocal left will actually be good news for the political center.

For a long time, the American conversation has been terribly distorted by the existence of an active, uncompromising political right unbalanced by a comparably influential left. As a result, our entire debate has been dragged more and more in a conservative direction, meaning that the center is pushed that way too.

Consider what this means in practice. Obamacare is not a left-wing program, no matter how often conservatives might say it is. Its structure is based on conservative ideas. The individual mandate was the conservatives’ alternative to a mandate on employers. The health care exchanges are an alternative to government-provided medicine on the Medicare model.

Obamacare is complex because the government is trying to create a marketplace in which people shop for private insurance and receive government subsidies if they need them. It goes to a lot of trouble to preserve the private insurance market. The system does not even include a government plan as one option among many.

But once conservatives succeeded in pulling the health care debate to where they had always wanted it, they abandoned the concepts they pioneered and denounced Obamacare as a socialist scheme. It’s a classic case of heads-I-win-tails-you-lose politics: Move toward me, and I’ll just keep moving further away from you… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Truthdig>

Photo Credit: Tim Pierce

Isn’t that exactly what Republicans have done?  The surest way Obama has had to defeat a Republican idea has been to agree with it.  The Democratic Party needs to follow the lead of strong progressives liked Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).  Only by refusing to allow Republicans to move the center to the right, by moving the goalposts with every new offer can we recover the middle, and that means drawing a lines in the sand that force Republicans to either move left or face the wrath of American voters, for sabotaging the policies that Americans support.

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  21 Responses to “Recovering the Middle”

  1. I would really love NOT to see Elizabeth Warren run for the presidency.  She is so incredibly effective where she is.  She has Wall St. running scared all the time now.  Good for her.  

  2. As Obama moves to the right, and the Tea Party keeps backing up, the Tea Party doesn't seem to notice the cliff looming behind.

    • You just may be correct in that premise, Howard. I sure hope you are.

    • True, with one caveat.  Obama may have moved right easrly on, but once he realized what they are up to, his 'further right' offers always include something he hnows they will reject, so it exposes them without risking the things he 'offered'.

  3. From what I have heard to date, neither Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders have a desire to toss their hats into the presidential battle field.  Which does not mean there are not very good people out there ready to step up and take the risk.

    While it is true that the loudest noise out there is the right wing and most particularly the right wing nut gallery.  The left is quietly growing stronger, the younger people are more left than most of us.  That may be a reaction to displayed desires of many on the right to suppress voting and strip women of their own choice for health care, even now trying to block the ACA, all the issues of gay rights, along with using the issues of immigration, SNAP, unemployment benefits, student loans and the growing gap between the very wealthy and the mass majority.  All of that is completely understandable.  If one is in favor of equal and human rights the above issues would force ideas of many to lean more left than center.  Far too many of the endlessly repeating voices of the right are telling us things we do not, as Americans accept.  

    Much of what has come about has been a bitter and unrelenting hate of the president.  For some this may be a race issue, for others just the idea of supporting a moderate and Obama is rather moderate, is just beyond the pale.  For those of us that hear and see the repeated comments about the legally and rightfully elected man in the White House, this has become intolerable.  This country has been damn near destroyed by this religious and archaic political ideology.  The president has tried, valiantly to persuade, cajole, reason with these strident voices to put aside ideology in favor of the betterment of this country, to no avail.

    "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, l952—–

    So much has changed since Ike, but not the need to care for and provide a proper and comfortable retirement for our elders.

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
    —  Dwight D. Eisenhower

    The poor are not "Welfare Queens" though we see this repeated, not just a dislike of offering aid and trying to offer a more equal opportunity.  No, we see real contempt toward those who were once middle or lower middle class that have been hardest hit by this financial scam.  We hear and see a vile attitude that offering food for children, the elderly and families in true need is some how akin to an apocalyptic destruction of American life.   

    Has compassion and empathy been out lawed by the republican party?  

    Thanks TC – I fear I ranted all over your page but, somethings need to be said.

    • Kitty, Kitty, thou shalt rant.

      I do not expect Bernie or Liz to run in 2016, and will support Hillary, but only if necessary.  I would prefer s more progressive candidate, as she is well to the right of Obama.

    •  This country has been damn near destroyed by this religious and archaic political ideology.  

      I agree with you 100%.  Republicans have nearly ruined this country.

  4. Even what our strongest Progressives are now saying used to be the middle.  What are Elizabeth and Jeff and Bernie Sanders and Alan Grayson saying that Eisenhower didn't say?  "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." (1954) "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." (1953) "I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." (date not provided) “The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.” (date not provided)

  5. I would just love Elizabeth Warren and others like her to keep kicking Republican ass and never stop.

  6. Me again. Maybe slightly off the subject but I just read on Reader Supported News (readersupportednews.org) a Focus/ A Letter to George W. Bush written by Ralph Nader. Nader wrote a scathing letter to Adolf Bush who had asked for a donation to further his work. His words were much better than I could have written. Had Adolf asked me for a contribution, I might have considered a donation: perhaps some used toilet paper.

  7. ~~ It’s a classic case of heads-I-win-tails-you-lose politics:

    It seems to me that the 1% have the upper hand and continue taking more at the expense of the working poor…

  8. I used to vote for the person, not the Party, can't do that any longer because the Republican party is so far from how I see things that I could never vote for one of them.  I hope you are all right, that the Reps have backed them selves into a corner and the left will prevail in 2016.