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Politico: Will The Democrats Move To The Right?

From the Politico:

The looming Democratic divide

By: Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman | January 18, 2013 04:45 AM EST

As President Barack Obama approaches his second inaugural on Monday, he presides over a party that has largely papered over its divisions for the past four years thanks to the president’s commanding popularity.

But almost as soon as the echo of Obama’s inaugural address fades and he becomes a lame duck, Democrats are going to have to face a central and unresolved question about their political identity: Will they become a center-left, Democratic Leadership Council-by-a-different-name party or return to a populist, left-leaning approach that mirrors their electoral coalition?

When has the Democrat Party ever stopped moving left? Perhaps for a few years under Clinton. But that only happened because of Clinton’s impeachment problems and the GOP winning majorities in both houses of Congress.

But even then the Democrat Party did not really moderate their views. They simply pretended they had. Just like they always do after an electoral shellacking.

An immediate answer may come in the entitlement debate and whether Obama and congressional Democrats will agree to any Social Security or Medicare benefit cuts to achieve deficit reduction, said a wide-ranging group of Democratic elected officials and strategists.

“In the short term that’s the flash point,” said longtime Democratic consultant Paul Begala.

If they ever agree to cuts, they will be as real as Manti T’eo’s girlfriend.

But as moderate Republicans become an ever rarer breed and more centrists find a home in the Democratic coalition, the party also must reconcile exactly who they are on a broader panoply of economic issues including Wall Street regulation and public employees. As 2016 grows nearer, and their presidential hopefuls begin openly maneuvering, Democrats must decide whether they want to be principally known as the party of Rahm Emanuel or the party of Elizabeth Warren.

Like there is a real difference. In reality, the only difference is Rahm is a better liar. And he knows that Democrats have to lie to get elected.

“One of the challenges is how we continue to do the right thing while working with a wide coalition of people, both workers and business,” said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

"Continue"? Can anyone name a single thing that the Democrats have done for business?

For decades, it was culture that divided Democrats internally as they scrambled to fend off GOP charges of extremism on issues ranging from race to gender to gay rights.

And of course these were all false charges. There is nothing extreme about the Democrats’ cultural agenda.

But thanks to Bill Clinton nudging the party on matters like welfare reform and to broader cultural shifts in the country, there’s now a consensus on social issues: Democrats overwhelmingly are in agreement on abortion rights, same-sex marriage and immigration reform. and while there may be tensions within the party’s ranks on Capitol Hill on gun control, there’s wide and deep consensus on the issue in statehouses and among the grass roots.

Except a lot of Democrat candidates know better than to mention their ‘consensus’ on these things if they ever hope to get elected.

Moreover, are we supposed to forget that Obama and the Democrats have eviscerated welfare reform? And that welfare is going to expand by 80% in the next ten years?

It’s not so much Obama’s policy choices that have reshaped the party as much as it is the rise of the Obama coalition — a largely tolerant amalgam of youth, minorities and women.

Who are tolerant of everything except differing views.

It’s unthinkable, for example, that any serious Democratic White House contender in 2016 would not toe the party line on such issues. The Republicans are now the ones confronting internal divisions on such cultural matters as they contend with how to appeal to a rapidly changing country.

“The center has moved,” said veteran Democratic strategist Mandy Grunwald.

And 2010, the biggest political landslide in modern history was a mirage. We are social liberals and socialists now.

For Democrats, the gulf is over fiscal and class issues, between their populists and their elites on how to appeal to a broad group of voters while retaining their traditional commitment to those in need. In other words, finding a way forward that represents the interest of their supporters making six (or seven) figures in places like McLean, Va., and Bryn Mawr, Pa., while staying true to middle-class backers in La Crosse, Wis., and doing right by the poor of Albuquerque and Philadelphia.

“The real struggle within the Democratic Party is where you stand on income inequality and whether the government needs to be a part of fixing that problem,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The demographics that the Democratic Party must attract are the people who need responsive government.”

Moderate Democrats counter that center-versus-left formulations are outdated — while making an emphatic case for pragmatism.

“I know what has been incredibly successful for the party and country: the banner of reform and change,” said Emanuel, adding that there is “no part of the budget that’s immune to reform and change” so long as Democrats don’t abandon their traditional “mission.”

Hogwash. Emanuel is pushing class warfare just as much as Elizabeth Warren. He just knows it has to be soft-pedaled whenever you are asking for campaign donations from the fat cats.

How exactly that mission is defined promises to shape the coming debate over Social Security and Medicare.

The differences in the Democratic coalition are razor sharp. Take the question of whether Obama and Congress should consider raising the eligibility age for future Medicare recipients as a way to find savings.

“That stuff you debate out,” said Emanuel, adding: “I don’t think raising the age of Medicare to 67 is a centrist or a liberal idea.” …

Rahm will just make sure the age limit is only raised for ‘the rich.’

Even Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and 2004 White House hopeful, a progressive on some issues, said it makes sense for Democrats to act now on entitlements.

“I would advise [Obama] to go ahead with changing the entitlements because if we do it’s going to be much better than if the Republicans do it,” Dean said, “If you’re willing to show some courage and do some thinking, this can be done and should be done by [the Democrats].” …

Looking ahead to 2016, a harder line on public spending could be for the next generation’s center-left Democrats what welfare reform was for Bill Clinton — proof positive that DLCers were serious about the “responsibility” part of “opportunity, responsibility and community.” …

Again, we have seen what Obama and the Democrats have done to welfare reform.

No, in reality the Democrats are doing everything they can to roll back every move to the center the Republicans have forced on them. In fact, that has clearly been Obama’s agenda from the getgo. And we have seen nothing to convince us otherwise.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, January 18th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Politico: Will The Democrats Move To The Right?”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Only after they have circled the globe and can ultimately eat their own tail …..

  2. untrainable says:

    “The real struggle within the Democratic Party is where you stand on income inequality and whether the government needs to be a part of fixing that problem,”

    So what options are there for responding to income inequality. Obama could address the income inequality in his own White House before he starts telling us how to earn and spend our money. Women get paid around 17% less than men in the Obama administration. Then they can begin to steal from the rich and give to the crackheads. Democrats won’t be happy (ever) until the kid with the single digit IQ and the need to take his shoes off before he counts higher than 10 is making a “living wage” for the amazing accomplishment of wiping his own ass.

    Income equality? Manufactured outrage over a manufactured crisis. Obamaville S.O.P.

  3. yadayada says:

    this is the first legs of the dem party attempting to convince the stoopids (low info) that they are moving to the center. they need to convince the electorate that they aren’t off-the-deep-end leftists so they don’t get creamed in the mid-terms. historically, stoopids are too busy laying on the couch smokin dope to vote in the mid-terms. again, it will be up to the makers of this country to retake congress away from the takers at the half way point. let’s hope the simpletons in the House are able to pull their collective head out of their rectum and distill a distinctively conservative message to get the voters out.
    I fear for the country I once served so proudly.

  4. Enthalpy says:

    The Democrat Party is the party of Fake Injuns and Twinkle toes aided and abetted by feckless RINOs. Until that changes, things will remain as they are.

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