The stupidity of the “Move to the Center”

Glenn Greenwald in Salon has penned an excellent article The baseless, and failed, “Move to the Center” cliche

Republican Nancy Johnson of Connecticut was first elected to Congress in 1982, and proceeded to win re-election 11 consecutive times, often quite easily. In 2004, she defeated her Democratic challenger by 22 points. The district is historically Republican, and split its vote 49-49 for Bush and Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

In 2006, Rep. Johnson was challenged by a 31-year-old Democrat, Chris Murphy, who ran on a platform of, among other things, ending the Iraq War, opposing Bush policies on eavesdropping and torture, and rejecting what he called the “false choice between war and civil liberties.” Johnson outspent her Democratic challenger by a couple million dollars, and based her campaign on fear-mongering ads focusing on Murphy’s opposition to warrantless eavesdropping, such as this one:

What happened in that race? Murphy had 56 percent to Johnson’s 44 percent.

He then goes on to point out the historically unique case of the ’06 election:

not a single Democratic incumbent in either the House or Senate — not one — lost an election.

Earlier this year, Bill Foster made opposition to the Iraq War a centerpiece of his campaign — and emphatically opposed both warrantless eavesdropping and telecom immunity — and then won a special election to replace Denny Hastert in his bright red Illinois district.

In other words, not only is the pre-meditated flip-flopping morally corrupt, but it’s politically stupid. It’s like our candidates have been brainwashed by Karl Rove:

The very idea that Bush/Cheney policies are the “center,” or that one must move towards their approach in order to succeed, ignores the extreme shifts in public opinion generally regarding how our country has been governed over the last seven years.

isn’t the perception that Obama is abandoning his own core beliefs — or, worse, that he has none — a much greater political danger than a failure to move to the so-called “Center” by suddenly adopting Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies?

What makes Democrats look weak is their patent fear of standing by their own views.

As he points out in his conclusion, this move to the center hurts the chances of our Democratic candidates.

The Democrats had such a smashing victory in 2006 because — for the first time in a long time, and really despite themselves — there was a perception (rightly or wrongly) that they actually stood for something different than the GOP in National Security (an end to the War in Iraq). Drawing a clear distinction with the deeply unpopular GOP is how Democrats look strong. The advice that they should “move to the center” and copy Republicans is guaranteed to make them look weak — because it is weak. It’s the definition of weakness.

It’s amazing to see candidates with a winning hand throw it away and try to position themselves as identical to their Republican opponents. It’s like they all want to say “look, I have the same failed ideas as my opponent, but I have a [D] after my name so pick me.”

So my question is, why on earth are they doing this?

Note to the Udall-ites, it’s not “all about Mark,” this is pointed at a lot of our candidates.

53 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Cartesian Doubt says:

    The more Democrats try to go the the right and Republicans go to the left, both sides lose the fundamental meaning of what is it to be a member of that party.

    The NRCC (I can’t remember her name)recently suggested that Republicans go with an Independent platform rather than the official Rpublican platform because voters have soured on the party as a whole, and may vote against them just because they have an R next to their name.

    We have no place for DINOs and weak-willed apologists. Democrats stand on a strong platform. The American public is standing with us, but we can’t close the deal when politicians capitulate on FISA and other legislation because they’re to weak-kneed under pressure form an unpopular party that’s currently in the Congressional minority.

  2. puddin says:

    republican positions or values.  It means moving away from the extremes.  Most people, so I’m told, have a mixture of conservative, liberal and middle of the road values upon which their political life is built.  It is toward that mixture of values both republicans and democrats move during campaign time.  

    Who was the last liberal president?

    • BlueCat says:

      who won by triangulating, claiming the center, touting his pro-business orientation and absolutely never allowing the word “liberal” to be breathed about him.  The idea that the Clintons are liberals has always been nonsense. There has never been anything remotely liberal about the Clinton/DLC wing of the party.  This is not to say that times haven’t changed but in answer to the question of who was the last liberal President. Not the last two term Dem, Bill Clinton, that’s for sure.

      • One Queer Dude says:

           We agree, he’s not a liberal.  That’s how he won two terms!

        • RedGreen says:

          Thank you, Blue Cat, for bringing some reality into this debate (and OQD for seconding it). Clinton won twice by taking over issues Republicans had bashed Democrats with for decades, diluting them into something mainstream Democrats could live with (if begrudgingly) and taking them off the table. That’s all Obama is doing with FISA.

          David, it pains me to no end that Obama seems to be adopting a middle ground on some aspects of the FISA legislation, but in the real world, what he’s doing is not the moral cave you contend.

          In the real world, the Bush administration will continue doing exactly what it believes God (or Dick Cheney) has empowered a wartime president to do. They’ve signing-statemented their way past EVERY restriction Congress has tried to impose and weaseled their way around EVERY court decision that limits their ability to pretend they’re in an endless season of 24.

          The FISA bill voted out by the House is significantly different than the earlier version Obama pledged to filibuster. Is it good enough? No, but I believe Perlmutter (and other Democrats) who say the restrictions on wiretapping and court review of telcom immunity are the best they can get in a negotiation with Republicans, veto-ready Bush and the slimmest of majorities in the Senate. To hold out for something acceptable to the ACLU, given these circumstances, only opens up Democrats to endless “soft on terrorism” charges through the election and doesn’t actually write any meaningful restrictions on wiretapping or data mining into the law (because Bush would veto and Congress couldn’t over-ride a better bill). But it takes FISA off the table.

          Politics is the art of the possible, not the art of the endless bull session that weighs competing ideals. At some point, you’ve got to pull the lever.

          And the last liberal president was LBJ.

          • BlueCat says:

            the middle is no longer so far to the right as it was in ’92 and Obama is and can afford to be more progressive than Bill Clinton was then.  

            Here in Colorado, Udall is polling ahead in 2008 whereas he was considered too liberal to have a chance in 2004.  Obama is polling ahead of an alleged maverick Republican who a few years ago would have absolutely killed any Dem here, especially among independents.  The latest Colorado polling had Obama 12 points ahead of him with our indies.  

            We shouldn’t be counting any chickens yet but I believe we ARE getting away from the darkest days. Not that they could get much darker than what the right has brought us to in the Bush II era. Oh wait.  We could elect McCain and continue our trip down the drain.

          • One Queer Dude says:

               IMHO, the most reprehensible thing that Bill Clinton ever did as president was his signing that legislative abomination known as the Defense of Marriage Act in Sept. ’96.

              Yet less than two months later, I voted to re-elect him with no reluctance whatsoever because the alternative was simply unacceptable.

               You’re naive if you think that you’re ever going to find a perfect candidate (and if you did, he or she would probably be un-electable).  So you look at who is going to do the least amount of damage, and that’s often as good as it gets.  

      • puddin says:

        and like the DLC but agree that Clinton certainly wasn’t a liberal president.  I would argue that FDR was the last elected liberal president.  Which, of course, is the point.  If a dem is to be elected to the office today, he/she will not run as a liberal.  

        I’m not really sure where Obama is on the political continuum but he won’t be running from the left.  Like the Obama folks said to the Hillary folks…get over it.  I would say to the non-centrist…get over it if you want to win.

        • parsingreality says:

          He openly ran, proudly, as a liberal.  With his brother, he put the civil rights movement into high gear.  

          As to Clinton, I’ve often said, “The best Republican president since TR!”

          • ThillyWabbit says:

            While there were definitely liberal themes, Kennedy and his brother Bobby spent plenty of time on an anti-communist agenda, as well as a “tough on crime” agenda. They certainly were not anti-war, and while they were at least moderately pro-civil rights they were not exactly pro-civil liberties.

            • RedGreen says:

              I have no idea what you’re talking about, Thilly. Liberals invented the “anti-communist agenda,” in contrast with isolationist Republicans. There’s nothing opposed to liberalism about standing up to totalitarianism. Unless by liberal you mean the stereotypical Boulder moonbat (Boulderliberalboulderliberal), which has never been the center of the Democratic Party, much less occupied the White House.

              • Mark Mehringer says:

                I don’t think so…

                • ThillyWabbit says:

                  I should have been more explicit. Bobby Kennedy was tightly integrated into the McCarthy investigations as a staff lawyer for the committee, and received praise from McCarthy for his work.

                  Should have said “McCarthyist anti-communist agenda.”

                • RedGreen says:

                  There’s a history of liberal anti-communism and then there’s nut-case witch-hunt anti-communism. It’s a Reagan-era canard that liberals were soft on communism. That’s like saying liberals are fine with al Qaeda attacking U.S. cities and embassies because liberals don’t advocate a hysterical reaction, invasion of Iraq and destruction of civil liberties. Liberals are just as serious about protecting America, but their approach isn’t “let’s kiill ’em all” and undermine the Constitution while we’re at it. That would be the conservative approach.

            • parsingreality says:

              Communism was THE big sweat of the fifties and sixties.  Sort of like Al Qada and tare-ists of today, sort of.  

              FDR had his Commie worries and Nazi worries, too. Eleanor tells us in one of her autobiographies that her husband felt that if he did nothing or next to it, there would be revolution.  Hence, the New Deal, the Supreme Court packing attempts, etc. were at heart anti-revolution.  

              FDR did little or nothing for civil rights, as far as I know.  His thrust was economic justice.  

              In writing this response I reread FDR’s famous “Four Freedoms” speech to Congress.  Wow!  There’s a leader!  


          • Mark Mehringer says:

            Remember that line by JFK?  About how cutting taxes helps all Americans?  I’m not sure tax cutting has everyone been a liberal theme.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      I agree on the moving away from the extremes part. It’s funny how here I’m viewed as too liberal while in Boulder I’m considered conservative. So I understand that part.

      What concerns me is the changing positions for the general elections. It looks like screw what we said before, lets get 1 mm to the left of the Republican candidate so we “get all of the middle.”

      As BlueCat’s post makes clear, that road leads to CLinton/DLC which got us the presidency for 8 years, but a very curtailed presidency, the loss of Congress, and G.W. Bush after him.

      We need a FDR, not just as our presidential candidate but up and down the ticket. Otherwise we hand it all back to the Republicans.

      • Mark Mehringer says:

        Jimmy Carter was a southern evangelical who ran on moderate positions and his moral background.  He may have governed as a liberal, but he certainly didn’t win my running as a liberal.

  3. colorado_dude says:

    There it is. The most straightforward and compelling reason for the “move to the middle” in my opinion. Check it out here:

    and check out some of the article links wikipedia provides at the end of the article. Good stuff.

    Documented cases on the relationship of successful candidate to voter behavior has reinforced Black’s Median Voter Theory in almost all scholarly political science work. I think I remember Dabee47 writing at one point that s/he is a political science grad student at CU, so I bet s/he could explain and defend the political science method and evidence behind this theory better than I can, but this is where the “move to the center” comes from.

    Now I agree that it’s up for debate as to where the “median” voter actually lies, and as to what s/he believes. And I think you have a good argument to make that the “median” voter opposes FISA. However, if both candidates in a race cast the same vote on this issue then they are both equally close to the median. So if either of them were to gain from the vote, it would be expected that it would be the democrat (being generally to the left of the median) since their vote moves them rightward, and thus closer to the median — wherever that is.

    And I acknowledge that I am probably one of the Udall-ites (meant as a general term about candidate preference; maybe a better term would be Rahm Emmanuel-ite, then it’s not so personal to our race here). But if you have candidates that can occupy that median territory, that’s how you win. The science is there to back it up. That’s why you do polling to find out where the median is (for example, Obama, Udall, and Polis will all have different medians to which they are appealing), and then you craft your message around winning over that voter. It is once you win, and win big, that you (as a politician, as a party) get to be identified as “the median,” and once you are the median, you get to define it. You get to move it. You get to call it progressive and fly it to the moon. It doesn’t matter, because your candidate is the electorate now.

    But first you have to win, and that means fighting for the current median.

    Hope that helps explain where I come from on this. I’ve always respected your voice on this blog Dave, and I regret if my posts have been part of the effort that has turned you off of Udall. It’s just that, the problem as I see it is what you see as dutiful and necessary dissent, I see as moving our candidates and our party away from the median where we need to win. Because Udall, Obama, and the rest need your vote. And more than that they need your time and money, and if active people such as yourself turn off those spigots of money and energy, then our candidates won’t have the resources necessary to find and win my beloved median voter.

    Sorry for the length here. But I encourage you, and anyone else down on Obama, Udall, and co. recently to check out the wikipedia article, google Black’s Median Voter Theory, or check out this book “Congressional Primaries and the Politics of Representation”

    by Peter F. Galderisi, Marni Ezra, & Michael Lyons.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      First off, I’m not upset with the pro-Udall posts – that’s political discussion (and I’ve been called much worse up here in Boulder).

      I read the wikipedia article and it’s referenced article to Mickey Kaus and the Univ of Louisville study and I think they have a major hole in them.

      Both of these studies assume that voters are both well educated on candidates stand on the issues and then make rational decisions based on those issues. I think that assumption is way off.

      1) Every poll right now of Democratic and independent women shows the majority think McCain favors making abortion legal. Yet McCain has been very consistent in wanting it outlawed. Top issue for most women and they don’t know the candidate’s policy.

      2) People don’t vote for a menu of policies, they vote for the person they think will do the best job. And this includes voting for a candidate they agree less with at times. For example, I would vote for a competent Republican over any Democrat in any city/county election here in Boulder because one party rule is corrupting. Doesn’t mean I agree with them.

      3) People want someone who knows what they are doing and where they are going. I think what killed Kerry’s chances is that people saw him as equivicoal on everything. Yes seeing all sides of an issue is valuable. But then you need to make up your mind and act.

      4) People don’t want someone who will say anything & do anything to get elected. I think this is what killed Strickland against Allard – everyone figured that Strickland had no political center, he was whatever worked best that minute.

      McCain is hammering Obama right now for flip-flopping on everything and it’s resonating. My guess is the flip-flop attacks are hurting Obama more than any gain he got from flipping his position on FISA, debating McCain, public financing, etc. Especially when Obama has been announcing the flip-flop of the day for the past week or so.

      I compare that to my mom who faces a tough fight when she runs, Democratic state, Democratic district, plus a large evangelical contingent in the Republican party. All those groups want her out, some years she faces a tough fight in both the primary where being more conservative is a big advantage and the general where being more liberal is.

      And I’ve seen here look for common ground but never change her position on anything fundamental. And she gets 75%-80% of the vote because the people in her district respect her and love her. There are things that work better than triangulating.

      • colorado_dude says:

        to take it point by point.

        That rational choice assumption underlies all scholarly political science and economics, and certainly is an important objection, but the assumption our only way to predict behavior. If we were to assume instead that people are irrational, we would be better off just packing it in. There would be no way to predict if policies would be effective, well received, or anything, because how do you honestly predict irrationality? Isn’t it by definition unpredictable or unknowable?

        So I for one will bite my tongue and accept that people are rational actors for now, for decision-making purposes. But to continue:

        1) Agreed, and maybe Obama could vote against the FISA bill and Udall should continue to back creating a Department of the Peace, but on the off chance that voters will find something out, shouldn’t the candidates vote in a way that will attract the most votes? Just in case?

        2) Agreed. But votes shape a candidate’s perceived character, not just their policy positions.

        3) Sure, knowing “where a candidate is going” (i.e. a candidate’s platform) is probably important to voters (even if it is somewhat contradicted by your first two points), but if Obama were to take an unequivocal stance in favor of socialism, I don’t think it would help him. Now that is a bit snarky, but the point remains, your “clear” or “unequivocal” positions have to help you, or be framed to help you, win the median voter. Hence the FISA vote.

        4) Show me numbers on this. One of the oldest jokes in America is “How do you know a politician is lying? A: His mouth is moving.” People expect politicians to be, well, political. And, like I said, predictable social choice theories require rational, choosing actors, so clarity from a candidate helps, but taking a “primary position” as opposed to a median position hurts more. And the data since 1947 since Black first coined the term Median Choice Theory, seems to support this.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          We go through this measuring what is working in marketing at my company all the time. It’s very difficult measuring the effect of a print campaign, but it’s critical that we do so. We need to measure what people vote on, not on what is easy to measure.

          Yes it’s a lot of items that go into the mix. But all things being equal, not flip-flopping is good. And giving people a sense that you will make good decisions and then move on them matters a lot.

          As to the magical “middle”, that’s the point of Greenwald’s article – that the majority of America wants what we Dems are selling. They like our talk. So why do we cave and go for the less popular position?

          • colorado_dude says:

            Why do you think there was such a big emphasis put on candidate recruitment in ’06 and the special elections of ’08? Jim Webb, Jon Tester, that newest guy from Mississippi, these are not your “typical” Democrats. Many are anti-abortion, anti-gun control, and only talk about climate change with the rhetoric of “energy security.” I think that Greenwald should consider looking at this another way. The majority (or middle, or median, or whatever) doesn’t necessarily want what Democrats are selling, but rather Democrats are selling what the majority wants. And that may sound like pandering and flip-flopping to the extreme, but think about it, how many Democrats in office now vocally opposed the war — or would campaign on opposing the war — before it became unpopular? How many candidates run for federal office without matching message with polling? Not flip flopping is certainly good, but changing positions to fit the middle isn’t necessarily bad either. If you do it right, you win, if you mis-judge where the middle is, or how to sync/sell to them, you lose.

            • DavidThi808 says:

              how many Democrats in office now vocally opposed the war — or would campaign on opposing the war — before it became unpopular?

              Mark Udall did the right thing back then and voted against the war. A very good example of doing the right, albiet unpopular thing, because it was an important decision.

              And hey, it turns out over the long haul to also be a popular vote.

              • colorado_dude says:

                I didn’t realize the war in Iraq was a popular idea in the 2nd congressional district (sarcasm intended). Mark followed the prevailing political winds of his district; I’m pretty sure the median voter in CD-2 was vocally opposed to the invasion.

    • Dabee47 says:

      MVT is basically as close to a “lock” as we have in voting theory.  Dave may not be a fan…but when you actually analyze this stuff and look at results, any faults you may find with the rationality of voters quickly goes away.  If you really want to understand this stuff you should read Black’s book as well as anything by John Lapinski and Scott Adler (a CU Prof and all around great guy) or Rebecca Morton’s “Analyzing Elections.”

      Anyway, the fact of the matter is that this is how you win elections and Dave, and every other Udall and Obama doubter (myself included), will most likely end up voting for them because they are closer to our “ideal point” (the really elementary part of MVT) than Schaffer or McCain.

  4. Ralphie says:

    You’d rather be on the outside looking in than the inside looking out?

    How far do you think your agenda would be advance with a Republican president?  What’s that you say?  You’d go backwards?

    The dispute between ideologues and pragmatists is as old as politics itself.

    The bottom line is that nobody gives a shit what you believe if you can’t get elected.

    Getting elected trumps all other discussions.  Obama is doing what he has to do to make things possible even for people from Boulder.  And for the rest of us as well.

    • Ralphie says:

      Damned spelling checker.  It refuses to be a brain checker.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      To answer all of you (Ralphie pharased it the most bluntly) – yes I understand that politics is the art of compromise. Yes I understand that winning requires some equivocation and changing of ideals.

      My point is that in this case I think it didn’t buy the Dems anything. Even with this vote Bob Schaffer will claim that Mark Udall is weak on national security and will use his Dept of Peace vote and other votes he can cherry pick.

      Yes Clinton won by triangulating. But he lost our majorities in Congress at the same time so that was at best a draw, not a win.

      He also found a way to win, not necessarily the best way to win. And to a large degree he won the first time because the economy was in the toilet and the second time because he continued the economic policies the Bush I set in motion. Bush lost and Clinton won (both times) because of the tax bill Bush pushed through.

      • BlueCat says:

        Nothing concrete supports your contention  Dems are losing for the reasons you site or at all. While polls are only snapshots in time, all the recent ones show both Udall and Obama ahead.  

        None of the Dems who have taken seats previously held by Republicans here in Colorado would meet your standards. Neither would the more conservative Dems who recently took three vacated congressional seats in previously safe Republican districts in other parts of the country including the red south.  

        Like Ritter and the Salazars, none of these new office holders are exactly champions of the progressive side of the party. Would you rather their seats were still held by Republicans?  Would you rather have people in office who piss you off all the time instead of voting the way you’d like them to 80% of the time?  And how do you elect a Dem state wide in a state like ours without bringing moderate voters over?

        Clearly western voters ARE buying what moderate Dems are selling. Just look at the growing number of Dem Governors and Senators in the west, all of them better than the Republican alternatives, none of them far from the center.  You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own facts.  

        • DavidThi808 says:

          Why did we have all of these moderate Dems voting for the Iraq bill that would have slowly ended the war in Iraq and the earlier FISA bills?

          Most (all?) of our moderate Western Dems voted for those bills – which Bush then vetoed.

          • BlueCat says:

            I kind of fail to see what you’re “gotcha” is here.  I’m saying moderate Dems have won majorities both in the west and in DC.  You are saying what?

            • DavidThi808 says:

              You first said they voted to continue funding for Iraq and in favor of the FISA bill because they were moderate.

              Now you say they earlier voted against continuing Iraq and FISA because they are moderate.

              My point is that they were comfortable earlier doing what you now say they cannot do because they are moderate. My point is they clearly could – because they did.

              • BlueCat says:

                Look through my comments and tell me where you see all this stuff specifically about FISA to which you are referring. You appear to be having a conversation with someone else and to be responding to some comments not contained in my posts.  

                I’ll try to put this as simply as I can. Forget any one specific vote.  Forget the high horse stuff.  We have the choice between Republican majorities and Dem majorities.  A or B.  For progressives, a healthy Dem majority is obviously better.  The bigger and more secure the Dem majority, the more likely they will have the guts to stand up on a wide range of things.

                Different demographics in different areas require different kinds of Dems to win. More moderate Dems who can win their districts or state wide are better for progressives than Republicans and therefore also to be preferred for nomination and support to Dems who clearly can’t win and would result in Republicans winning instead.  This is why Dennis Kucinich, for example, would not be a wise choice for the general presidential election even if you love everything he says.

                Step one; get more Dems elected.  Step two, exert influence to get what you want out of them.  Step one is the prerequisite for step two.  That’s basically all I’m saying. That and also that you probably are just a bit too much of a push over for anybody who agrees to have breakfast or lunch with you.  

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      everybody gives a shit when you are a two faced creep who will do and say anything to get elected even to the point of selling your party down the river (e.g. John McCain).  Who can respect that good buddy.

      The argument that candidates have to shrink away from “extreme” positions to win is the kind of conventional wisdom that is as flaccid as it is cowardly.  People want leaders to lead but if the only thing that a professional politician cares about is winning then where’s the leadership?  I would prefer to have someone who articulates solutions to issues and is brave enough to stand by his positions.  Politics is suppose to be the competition of ideas and if the only goal is to get elected by playing it as safe as possible or abandoning principles then it shows a really weak commitment to the ideas that the candidate is suppose to represent.

      People are tired of Republicans now because Republicans had their shot and blew it.  They were neither frugal or protective.  Their actions didn’t match their rhetoric and everyone knows that now.  George Bush was great at getting elected but stunk (STUNK) at leading.  What Ralphie wants is a liberal George Bush.  I think that would be very very bad for the progressive movement.  There is no perfect candidate but there are principled men and women who campaign on ideas and are supported by people who share a common vision.  Supporting an empty vessel that is only interested in winning (with a not Boulder zip code) and we fail the test of electing leaders capable of generating the support and ideas to create a better world.  Sorry Ralphie but I’ll take a principled loser over a vacuous winner any day.  Good leaders don’t abandon their supporters or their principles and the pendulum will swing back their way again.  

  5. Sir Robin says:

    Are you guys kidding!! The economy, the environment, tghe culture of fear, the military-industrial complex run amok…..geez…..Swing hard left!!

    • Sir Robin says:

      but the media likes us to think otherwise. According to the “liberal press” it’s Blue vs Red….with some purple thrown in. What counts, and what’s patriotic…is our shared humanity. Never doubt it…and vote for it! Peace, prosperity, community, health and happiness people. Peace first! Iraq is a CRIME!

      Corporate interests should support these concepts. It’s good for business. What we’re witnessing proves this point.

    • Car 31 says:

      Imagine Obama spouting Robin’s rhetoric.

      McCain would win in a landslide.  

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        McCain is in trouble precisely for spouting the Bush mantra that war is mainstream.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        Fix the economy, save the environment, abondon a culture of fear, get out of Iraq (deducing military spending and saving lives).

        You’re right – those are the last things the American people want. We prefer the cluster-fuck Bush has given us.

        • Car 31 says:

          What I said was if Obama sounded like Robin he would lose.  

          That is true and you know it.

          McCain is moderate and courting independents, which apparently are THE group to focus on this year to win the election.  Obama is also courting independents as evidenced by the ‘stupidity’ (your words) of moving towards the center.

          If Obama had not moved to the center and stuck with the fiery rhetoric of Robin or other more passionate left wingers, the Republicans would eat him alive with charges of being soft on terror, being soft on immigration, being soft on crime…

          Easier to make the issue stick if the candidate you’re attacking is giving you the ammo.  Obama is taking some issues off the table so there is less ammo. He does this by adopting a moderate stance.

          This is about getting a Democratic President in the White House. Period.  Moderate, liberal, green or red. I don’t care how he gets there, just get him there.

          • BlueCat says:

            I would ask all those who insisted on making a point by supporting Nader in 2000 to ask themselves what the past 8 years AND the Supreme court would look like if not-good-enough-for-them Gore had been elected instead.  And yes I realize Nader made no difference here in Colorado at that time but ANY non-Obama votes will make a difference here this time.  Ditto non-Udall votes.  And all those who say big deal they aren’t different enough from Schaffer and McCain is a COMPLETE MORON.  

            • DavidThi808 says:

              I have stated throughout all of this that I will vote Democratic. I may hold my nose in one case but I will vote Democratic.

              But they are our representatives and it is incumbent upon us to tell them when we think they’re going in the wrong direction.

              You worry about the Nader effect? But we also need to worry about the Bush/Rove effect where our elected officials take our party off in the corporate/sell-out direction. So we need to make ourselves heard.

              • BlueCat says:

                about what you think if you don’t GET THEM ELECTED FIRST, with or without LUNCH!  Have you tried telling Allard what you think?  How about Tancredo?  Or Lambert?  Maybe MM? Get much in the way of results?  If you want representative democracy to work for you, you need to first elect those who might actually LISTEN more often than not. A little more unity in fighting to achieve that goal wouldn’t kill us.

                • DavidThi808 says:

                  Once they’re elected they can ignore you as incumbents have an incredibly high re-election rate. (Yes it’s not as high right now for Republicans but that’s an anomoly.)

                  Electing them under the plan of do anything/say anything and we’ll smile does not lead to reps that will be listening to us since we’ll accept anything when they run plus getting re-elected is pretty certain.

                  Right now is the time where you have the best chance of them actually listening and responding to us. Especially for a case like Udall where he is running for a new office.

                  But the bottom line is while I agree that Udall is better than Schaffer, that doesn’t mean we should quietly accept whatever he does while running. That’s how the Republicans ended up with people like Doug Bruce.

          • One Queer Dude says:

               He would end up geting the 38% that George McGovern got in ’72, or maybe even 41% that Mondale received in ’84.

              • Dabee47 says:

                Obama’s tack to the middle could be a problem because he’s gone on and on for all these months about being different and a new type of candidate.  Maybe if he hadn’t spent so much time trying to convince us he was the Obamessiah and just letting us know he was another politician he wouldn’t have this problem…

                On the other hand, last time I checked, Arianna , while an intelligent woman, isn’t a political scientist.  Her claims that running to the middle didn’t work for Kerry or Gore are just dumb.  First, GWB just did a better job of it.    Second, last time I checked, Gore got more votes than Bush, so running to the middle worked in one way…just not the way you need to be elected president.  Third, look at the exits from 2000 and 04.  Kerry and Gore picked up WAY more votes from moderates than they lost by alienating people on the far left.  It’s simple numbers…

                Obama’s only problem in running to the middle is being out-run by McCain.  Pissing off people on the left isn’t going to cost him this election, failing to capture indys will…

                • BlueCat says:

                  Besides, the number who will actually abandon him, even on the far left, is so small.  We see the polls.  We see him getting close and closer and we want a win WAY too badly now. We can smell it. The left will stick.  He can’t cede the middle.

                • One Queer Dude says:

                  …and that he would modify, change, evolve, flip-flop, or whatever verb you wish to apply to some of his more left-wing views.

                    I feel sorry for those of his supporters who are now suddenly discovering that he’s a mere politician determined to get elected.

                    I’m also relieved to see that he’s got the fire in his belly and will do what is necessary to win!

                • One Queer Dude says:

                     Being an aloof, flip-flopping nebish who was above responding to the swiftboat attack ads did!

  6. Old Rep says:

    Liberal or conservative, right or left – what is the real difference?  Perhaps just follow the money and overall policies.  The republicans are only paying off the top 1% by granting them an effective income tax of 15%.  War doesn’t matter it is just cover for the monetary shift to the 1% class.  Notice the repubs haven’t made any inroads into the environment.  They don’t want to upset the 1% of democrats, who in turn love the new class monetary policies.  We need someone to represent the 99 percenters.  That is not a centering mechanism.  It is the way a democracy should work, if it is to maintain itself and capitolism.

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