Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Can the Dems move toward the Center?

Joe Knippenberg composes articles faster than I can talk. This one, Tiptoeing Toward the Center, is an analysis of a long piece by William Galston and Elaine Kamarck. They try to argue that the Dems should move toward the center. Joe takes their arguments seriously--he thinks they are two of the smartest Democrats around, and he’s right--yet, he does not think they succeed.  

Discussions - 6 Comments

Wouldn’t it be preferable, from your perspective, for the Dems to stay put, rather than moving to the left?

On the one hand, T. Moore, as a Republican, I would be inclined to say yes. But as an American who believes strongly in the two-party system, I would very much like to see the Democrats move toward the center (which is what I assume you meant, rather than to the left). The Republicans, to my mind, are showing signs of having been the dominant party for too long. A healthy opposition party with an actual serious agenda would help to keep the GOP honest and committed to its principles, rather than to power as an end in itself. I certainly would’ve appreciated a party like that back in 2004, when it would have taken surprisingly little to get me to vote against George W. Bush. When it comes right down to it, I don’t think he’s a very good president. But every time I hear some Michael Moore-spouting nutjob attack him, or complain about U.S. imperialism in Afghanistan, or Nazi-style concentration camps in Guantanamo Bay, or they bring up the old "blood for oil" canard, my Republican instincts kick in, and I jump right into defensive mode.

So yes, I think a Democratic Party along the lines that Bill Galston talks about would no doubt be a bad thing for the GOP, but a good thing for the country.

For once, I couldn’t agree more with John Moser.

The Republicans are barely "dominant,"
and are probably heading into a bad ’06 cycle. Instead of all this hand-wringing about the fate of the Democratic party (which is still in a pretty strong position, thank you), we should focus on how to make the Republican party into something other than a bunch of wimps. Don’t do the Democrats’ work for them. They deserve every bit of whatever trouble they are in.

Actually, no John, I did mean move to the LEFT, which is the direction I think they’d need to go to move toward the center - the small handful of actual liberal Dems notwithstanding. Today’s positions in the "center" are yesterday’s positions of a moderately conservative nature. Today’s Democratic party, on the whole, is hardly anywhere to the left of center. And yes, I’ve noticed your occasional (dare I say reactionary) shifts to the "defensive mode" on this blog. But relax; I’m not "some Michael Moore-spouting nutjob."

I did mean move to the LEFT, which is the direction I think they’d need to go to move toward the center

Just curious, T. Moore--what’s your definition of "center"? Isn’t the center constantly shifting? What passes for conservatism today is downright left-wing compared to what it was in, say, the 1920s.

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