Democrats Abandoning the Middle?

Will the Democrats abandon the middle in next year's election?  That's the question posed in an op-ed in Friday's Wall Street Journal.  But how can the Democrats abandon what they haven't occupied since, oh, the Kennedy Administration?

The story, written by the Journal's Kimberley Strassel, was heavy on forebodings from Harold Ford, Jr., the erstwhile Memphis Congressman and current Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.  The piece led with words straight from Ford's mouth: "They'll find their way back to the middle," he said, referring to his fellow Democrats.  "And if they don't, they won't win."

The story implied a shaky, if not outright false, premise: that the Democrats had found their way to the middle in the 2006 midterm elections.  No such thing happened.  Pelosi, Reid and party strategists recruited enough "centrist" candidates in the South and Midwest to beat out-of-touch or hapless Republicans, giving the Democrats slim majorities in Congress.  What has this new centrism translated into in terms of legislation this year?  Well, not much, unless you consider proposals for higher taxes and more regulation on the oil and gas industry moderate.  Or the backdoor attempt at socializing medicine through legislation that aims at a multibillion dollar expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  
Or the endless calls for withdrawal from Iraq and efforts to undercut our military there.

Judging from words and deeds, the center of gravity in the Democrat Party remains decidedly left, as party leaders and architects intend it to be.  The centrist Democrats elected in 2006 were, well, useful idiots, or tools for the party's leadership to retake Congress and press ahead with their leftwing agenda.

The notion that the DLC is "battling for the souls" of the party's presidential aspirants is either ridiculously naïve or plain silly.  Conversions may well happen on the Road to Damascus, but not so often on the Road to the White House.  To be certain, the Democrats' nominee-say, Hillary Clinton-may well thrust a wet-finger-in-the-wind to tack in the direction of voter sentiment on key issues, but does that rate as a conversion?  No, it rates as a ploy, as a hardened and ambitious politician's calculation to temporarily mute or shelve true beliefs in order to capture 270 electoral votes and the White House. 

Sounds suspiciously familiar, doesn't it?  A variation of the Democrats 2006 strategy? 

Harold Ford is correct, though, in that the Democrats, who have been journeying left on a Yellow Submarine since the 1960s, need to find a way of navigating back into the nation's mainstream.  But the Democrats are so far off course that they can't possibly find the mainstream in a mere fifteen months. 

If the Democrats win the presidency and Congress next year, it won't be because of a conversion or that their ruse was especially good, or because the establishment media was any better at hoodwinking the public.  It will happen because of lingering voter fatigue with Republican Rule, no real progress in Iraq and, significantly, Republicans' failure to rediscover and embrace Reagan's conservatism, and to develop from that and articulate, proposals that address the concerns and aspirations of today's voters.  Simply put, Republicans failed to campaign on their conservatism with genuine conviction.

If victory comes for the Democrats, it will come as a result of circumstance and Republican default. 

Whatever the DLC is fighting for-a vague "progressive center," says Al From, the group's founder-the party's core activists and fundraisers are fighting for another go at Big Government and socialism.  The ideological fervor, the passion and the manpower are with the reactionary left (check MoveOn.org and the Daily Kos).  They will continue to furnish a lot of the dollars and much of the ground game to get the party's nominee elected to the presidency.  And woe to Clinton or Obama if either fails to feed the leftwing beasts the red meat they demand.  Whatever the window-dressing, a Democrat administration will be four years of tax hikes, expanded regulation of business and industry, retreat in the War on Terror and making mush of the definition of marriage and family, to name some choice items. 

How does a party, led by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, radicalized professors and a cadre of leftwing bloggers and fundraisers, ever find the true middle in America, a middle historically informed by conservative beliefs and values?  That may take a psychic to figure out.  What is known is that while Americans may accept that government has a role to play in their lives, it is far more circumscribed than what is desired by Europeanized liberals, unalloyed socialists and the nihilists who are the very heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

No, come to think of it, for the Democrats to find the middle, they would have to make an historic concession.  Everywhere that socialism was tried in the 20th Century, everywhere it exists now, its failure was, and is, unequivocal, and that failure stands in stark contrast to the dynamism and vibrancy of free economies and free peoples.  And that the mores and values that have undergirded Western Society for centuries are good and worthy of defense and advancement.   

The middle is as the middle does, and the true middle in the Democrat Party is nowhere near the American mainstream.     

Jeffrey Schmidt is a twenty-five year political and public affairs consultant.  He resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Will the Democrats abandon the middle in next year's election?  That's the question posed in an op-ed in Friday's Wall Street Journal.  But how can the Democrats abandon what they haven't occupied since, oh, the Kennedy Administration?

The story, written by the Journal's Kimberley Strassel, was heavy on forebodings from Harold Ford, Jr., the erstwhile Memphis Congressman and current Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.  The piece led with words straight from Ford's mouth: "They'll find their way back to the middle," he said, referring to his fellow Democrats.  "And if they don't, they won't win."

The story implied a shaky, if not outright false, premise: that the Democrats had found their way to the middle in the 2006 midterm elections.  No such thing happened.  Pelosi, Reid and party strategists recruited enough "centrist" candidates in the South and Midwest to beat out-of-touch or hapless Republicans, giving the Democrats slim majorities in Congress.  What has this new centrism translated into in terms of legislation this year?  Well, not much, unless you consider proposals for higher taxes and more regulation on the oil and gas industry moderate.  Or the backdoor attempt at socializing medicine through legislation that aims at a multibillion dollar expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  
Or the endless calls for withdrawal from Iraq and efforts to undercut our military there.

Judging from words and deeds, the center of gravity in the Democrat Party remains decidedly left, as party leaders and architects intend it to be.  The centrist Democrats elected in 2006 were, well, useful idiots, or tools for the party's leadership to retake Congress and press ahead with their leftwing agenda.

The notion that the DLC is "battling for the souls" of the party's presidential aspirants is either ridiculously naïve or plain silly.  Conversions may well happen on the Road to Damascus, but not so often on the Road to the White House.  To be certain, the Democrats' nominee-say, Hillary Clinton-may well thrust a wet-finger-in-the-wind to tack in the direction of voter sentiment on key issues, but does that rate as a conversion?  No, it rates as a ploy, as a hardened and ambitious politician's calculation to temporarily mute or shelve true beliefs in order to capture 270 electoral votes and the White House. 

Sounds suspiciously familiar, doesn't it?  A variation of the Democrats 2006 strategy? 

Harold Ford is correct, though, in that the Democrats, who have been journeying left on a Yellow Submarine since the 1960s, need to find a way of navigating back into the nation's mainstream.  But the Democrats are so far off course that they can't possibly find the mainstream in a mere fifteen months. 

If the Democrats win the presidency and Congress next year, it won't be because of a conversion or that their ruse was especially good, or because the establishment media was any better at hoodwinking the public.  It will happen because of lingering voter fatigue with Republican Rule, no real progress in Iraq and, significantly, Republicans' failure to rediscover and embrace Reagan's conservatism, and to develop from that and articulate, proposals that address the concerns and aspirations of today's voters.  Simply put, Republicans failed to campaign on their conservatism with genuine conviction.

If victory comes for the Democrats, it will come as a result of circumstance and Republican default. 

Whatever the DLC is fighting for-a vague "progressive center," says Al From, the group's founder-the party's core activists and fundraisers are fighting for another go at Big Government and socialism.  The ideological fervor, the passion and the manpower are with the reactionary left (check MoveOn.org and the Daily Kos).  They will continue to furnish a lot of the dollars and much of the ground game to get the party's nominee elected to the presidency.  And woe to Clinton or Obama if either fails to feed the leftwing beasts the red meat they demand.  Whatever the window-dressing, a Democrat administration will be four years of tax hikes, expanded regulation of business and industry, retreat in the War on Terror and making mush of the definition of marriage and family, to name some choice items. 

How does a party, led by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, radicalized professors and a cadre of leftwing bloggers and fundraisers, ever find the true middle in America, a middle historically informed by conservative beliefs and values?  That may take a psychic to figure out.  What is known is that while Americans may accept that government has a role to play in their lives, it is far more circumscribed than what is desired by Europeanized liberals, unalloyed socialists and the nihilists who are the very heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

No, come to think of it, for the Democrats to find the middle, they would have to make an historic concession.  Everywhere that socialism was tried in the 20th Century, everywhere it exists now, its failure was, and is, unequivocal, and that failure stands in stark contrast to the dynamism and vibrancy of free economies and free peoples.  And that the mores and values that have undergirded Western Society for centuries are good and worthy of defense and advancement.   

The middle is as the middle does, and the true middle in the Democrat Party is nowhere near the American mainstream.     

Jeffrey Schmidt is a twenty-five year political and public affairs consultant.  He resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.