- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Memo to media: THIS WASN'T A TRIUMPH OF CENTRISM
Tom Ferrick and Tom Fitzgerald are two of my favorite writers in Philly. It is not a stretch to say that with either of them not covering PA and Philly politics, my life would be a lot harder. But in their day-after post mortems, they are throwing around a line that I cannot take: That this election, this complete repudiation of the GOP, was really a huge victory for centrists.
An example is this article from Fitzgerald:
Democrats took control of the House and apparently the Senate, exit polls suggest, largely by running moderate candidates - and speaking to the concerns of disaffected independents and swing voters.
First of all, let's go back to 1994 for a second. When the GOP creamed Bill Clinton, and took over the majority in both houses, we all heard about a Republican Revolution. Things were gonna ch-ch-change in DC, because the Country had become more and more conservative. I didn't hear anyone say that it was a big victory for Newt Gingrich's centrism. Did you?
Let's consider this nationally below. Yes, some moderates won. And, so did some out and out progressives. I mean, on the heels of Sherrod Brown, the head of the progressive caucus in the House, cruising to a Senate win in Ohio, and Nancy Pelosi, another progressive caucus member, becoming Speaker of the House, the idea seems a little silly. Then, look a little deeper. In Kentucky, the star recruit by the national Democrats was ex-Congressman Ken Lucas, a very conservative Democrat. He didn't come particularly close to winning. Still in Kentucky, John Yarmuth, a liberal guy who started an alternative newspaper, and was an out and out progressive, won. In Illinois, Tammy Duckworth, another conservative-ish Democrat that was a star of the national party, lost, despite having millions of dollars thrown her way. Or in Rhode Island, one of the only GOP moderates, Lincoln Chafee, lost his Senate seat decisively.
Locally, how about Joe Sestak? What did Joe Sestak campaign on? Some new ideas for Iraq, and national healthcare. Not exactly conservative. Patrick Murphy sat down in front of me and said that he thought anyone who wanted to marry someone should be able to, regardless of sex, and that he thought the Defense of Marriage Act was not only bad policy, but Unconstitutional.
Now, of course, we did elect some moderates, because we are a big tent party, as opposed to the GOP ideologues. Chief among them was Bob Casey. But here is the key difference between Casey and our most famous triangulator- Bill Clinton. Clinton had the theory that he would win by blurring differences between the two parties, and start advocating outright for conservative sounding principles. Casey, obviously pro-life, instead focused on where he differed from the GOP, not on the social issues where he had some agreement. And, in his first interviews afterwards, what did he talk about? Raising the minimum wage, expanding healthcare, and changing the direction in Iraq. He did not start advocating to pass abortion restrictions.
The local media is interviewing people like Al From. From is the head of the DLC, a centrist, self-hating group of "Democrats" that advocates Dems selling out to big business. If anything, the close ties between the Democrats and big business that led us to NAFTA and CAFTA were repudiated by Democrats from Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey and a host of other Dems everywhere. Its not like From has no interest in this. He hates grassroots activists, he hates progressives, he hates bloggers and he hates the netroots. He is a sorry man, whose influence has sunk to about nothing. He has no credibility. Please do not take him as some uninterested party.
Was this a win for out and out liberals? Not exclusively, no. But, this was a victory for progressive activists, the grassroots and the netroots. Nationally, the new Democratic Senators from Montana and Virginia (remember, the ones that swung the Senate) were candidates that largely would not have existed without bloggers and activists. Locally, two suburban Congressional candidates had big grassroot and netroots followings: Sestak and Pat Murphy. Lois Murphy, who I will write more about tomorrow? Not so much. Guess which two won...
The country has swung to the left. Does that mean national healthcare comes tomorrow? No. But it is disingenuous to say that on the heels of this historic win, that somehow this shows the Country wants centrism. They want DEMOCRATS, and all that entails- fair trade, a sane foreign policy, expanded healthcare and a greater minimum wage.