Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

That's not what centrism means, Joe

by David Atkins

Joe Lieberman won't be getting an invite to the Democratic national convention, and it appears all of maybe three Democrats are upset about it:

But when Democrats and Republicans gather in Charlotte, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., later this summer, Lieberman will receive less homage than a local councilman. He will be left out of the festivities altogether.

Some Democrats think keeping Lieberman away is a mistake. After all, he served as Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, becoming the first Jewish American to run atop a major party’s ticket.

He also presided for several years as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, which helped transform the ideology of the Democratic Party and laid the groundwork for Bill Clinton’s election in 1992...

“Joe Lieberman is a victim of polarization. He’s another person cast aside by people who aren’t interested in centrist views,” said Professor Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University, who has worked as a scholar in residence in the Senate.

Ross Baker should be embarrassed to have been quoted as saying such a ridiculous thing in print. A political scientist should know better.

Joe Lieberman is not a centrist. He is a man who holds some left-leaning positions on social issues and climate change, and extreme right-wing views on invading other countries, slashing social services, banning certain kinds of videogames, and keeping taxes really low on the wealthy. As The Hill notes at the very end of the article:

His vote for Democratic legislation is often more assured than is support from centrists facing tough reelections, although he did vote last week against a Democratic proposal to end the Bush tax rates for income above $250,000.
In an election against Gordon Gekko incarnate, Lieberman votes against the very popular position of ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy while sitting in a safe blue seat in Connecticut. And there's surprise that he's not part of the Democratic convention where economic populism will be a major theme?

Holding contradictory partisan views doesn't make one a "centrist." Supporting lower taxes on the wealthy while supporting action on climate change isn't "centrist." A hypothetical candidate who wanted to ban abortion entirely while supporting single-payer healthcare wouldn't be a "centrist," either. A centrist is someone who supports milquetoast, inoffensive positions on a variety of issues: say, simplifying the the tax code while raising taxes slightly on just the richest incomes. Or advocating toothless carbon exchanges as a "solution" to climate change. Or decrying abortion but wanting to make it "safe, legal and rare." Or converting welfare programs into work programs.

You know, the mainstream positions of the modern Democratic Party. That's centrism. It's not the voters' fault if centrism has been wholly adopted by one political party while the other sits squarely in crazyville. That's just the breaks.

Politicians like Lieberman who take some centrist positions from the sometime left while advocating other extremist positions from the modern right don't get to claim the mantle of centrism. They're just extremists on a less diverse set of issues. And nobody should be surprised if they don't get an invite to the centrist party's big shindig.

Update: As multiple commenters have pointed out, there's also the simple fact that when Joe lost the Democratic primary, he left the party to stay on as Senator. So he's not a Democrat anymore. Why anyone is surprised that he's not at the Democratic Convention is beyond me.