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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Welcoming the ‘New Center’

On Tuesday Ed Kilgore made a case that the “center-right nation” meme is “ridiculous.” In a good companion piece posted the same day in his Blog for Our Future post (via Alternet), “Clues Obama Won’t Govern Center-Right“, Robert Creamer called it “complete baloney”. Creamer adds:

Should progressives beware? Has Barack Obama suckered them into supporting a President who will really govern from the “center-right”? The short answer is no….Right wing pundits can comfort themselves with the fantasy that America is a “center-right” nation but it just ain’t so. In fact, all of the polls show that the November election represented a complete repudiation of right wing Bush-Cheney top-down economics and their Neo-Con foreign policy. Over 80% of voters indicated they wanted fundamental change. The polling shows massive majorities in favor of policies that would guarantee health care for all. It shows overwhelming support for policies that give tax relief to middle income Americans and increase taxes on the wealthy. Polls show complete rejection of neocon notions about “preemptive” war and unilateralism. And Americans strongly favor bold government action to stimulate the economy – not the failed laissez-faire economics that have lead to the current economic meltdown.

And echoing one of the points James Vega had some fun with in his Sunday TDS post “A New Slogan for a New Day,” Creamer continues:

…How many more bailouts does someone need before he stops believing that the unfettered “free market” will always lead the “private sector” (meaning those who control giant corporations and Wall Street Bankers) to act in the public interest. How many times can corporate CEO’s emerge from their private jets with tin cups in Washington before people begin to question the “center-right’s” claim that the private sector is inherently more efficient that the public sector. Let’s face it, it’s getting pretty tough to justify why Wall Street’s “masters of the universe” deserve to be paid hundreds of millions of dollars while middle class incomes tank; or why a CEO should make more money before lunch on the first day of the year than his minimum wage worker makes all year long.

Creamer explains that Obama’s cabinet picks

…do not in any way diminish the fact that America is demanding — and Obama intends to enact — a sweeping progressive program the likes of which we have not seen since the New Deal…Barack Obama will not govern from the “center right”, but he will govern from the “center”. That’s not because he is “moving to the center”. It’s because the center of American politics has changed. It has moved where the American people are. It once again resides in the traditional progressive center that has defined America’s promise since Thomas Jefferson penned its founding document over 200 years ago.

Fair enough. It’s well and good for Dems to root for their preferred cabinet choices and rail against the ones we don’t like as they come up. That’s part of the fun of being Democrats. Before uncritically embracing the “personnel is policy” argument being bandied about, however, Dems might be wiser to wait for the policies to appear before we start wholesale trashing of our team.

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