The biggest battle in today’s political climate and debate over the issues is overcoming the Washington version of “center”. I have been waiting for someone to aptly explain the problem better than I possibly could. This morning I found the great explanation on the The Huffington Post.
Sit! Stay! A New York Times Chew Toy for Blue Dogs Richard (RJ) Eskow]
Voters don’t think the way journalists and politicians do. They don’t share Washington’s obsession with labels, groups, and personalities. Instead they’re drawn to those parties, ideologies, and people who get things done the way they want them done. One poll after another has shown that voters are furious at big banks, would like to see the wealthy carry more of the tax burden, and want to protect Social Security. If Democrats had acted more decisively to reflect those positions, they would have done far better last week. It wouldn’t have mattered which personalities in Congress had prevailed, or what label they had given to their policies. The voters couldn’t care less.
But no poll can ever convince people of that which they don’t wish to understand. What Bai and others call “centrism” consists of a set of policy positions that voters across the political spectrum find odious, combined with a cynical, voter-driven style of governance voters find repugnant.
How can it be “centrist” to defeat the public option, which was supported by 51% of Republicans and a decisive majority of all voters? How can it be “centrist” to oppose tighter bank regulations when a poll taken earlier this year showed that 69% of voters (and 56% of Republicans) support them? How can it be “centrist” to support cutting Social Security when that position is not only opposed by most Americans, but by 76% percent of Tea Party supporters???? Yet Matt Bai ghettoizes those who hold these popular positions by calling them “liberals,” and elevates those who oppose them with the “centrist” misnomer.
What I am finding, with great fear, is that even our liberal Democrats are picking up the Washington version of center, validating it, and supporting it’s vision. It seems Democrats now believe that governing from the Washington DC center is the best thing to do. They are accepting it as the genuine center of the debate. Perhaps it’s because the media is driving this version of the center. Our leaders should not be listening to the media, they should be listening to the voters.
I wish, I truly wish, that elected officials of both parties would get out of the Washington elite bubble and spend just one month working in the private sector living off of a modest middle class paycheck while answering to an ever tightening household budget. If they did that, we would have people fighting for policies that work. If the Democrats fought for policies that work, they would win every single election. They aren’t going to win by supporting the Washington DC version of “center”.