I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What is a "centrist", a "moderate"?

We hear a lot about the progressive wing of the Democratic Party trying to drive "moderates", "centrists" like Joe Lieberman from the party. Well what is a "moderate", a "centrist"? Is it a Joe Lieberman who is as much a neocon as Paul Wolfowitz or Richard Perle. Is it a Marshall Wittmann who still talks more like a Republican than many who still think of themselves as Republicans? I'm sorry but there is no such thing as a "centrist" neocon. Joe Gandelman has a post, The Straining Of The Center In Connecticut. If Joe Lieberman is in the center I for one want no part of it. It's about more than the war in Iraq. As Taylor Marsh says:
The war is a huge part of the exodus away from Lieberman, but what lies at the root of it is the philosophy that got us into Iraq in the first place. That's what must be purged.
And what is that policy? You can find it at the Project For The New American Century.
The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.

The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America's role in the world.

William Kristol, Chairman
These are the neocons and Joe Lieberman is a proud member. And it is more than the war in Iraq. Mike F. commenting on Joe Gandelman's post puts it nicely:
Joe Lieberman has supported George Bush on domestic spying, suspension of due process, creation of an extra-judicial prison system, the conduct of the war in Iraq, the threat of war against Iran, downplayed the use of torture at Abu Ghraib, praised Alberto Gonzales in his nomination proceedings and suggested that those who disagree publicly with the administration are endangering the country. On the most important issues of the day he is securely in George Bush's camp. How is he a centrist?
Jonathan Chait writing in the LA Times today is critical of some of Lieberman's critics but also critical of his supporters.
A good window into the competing mentalities can be found in two arguments, one by prominent Lieberman supporters, the other by a prominent critic. First, the supporters. Writing in the Hartford Courant, Marshall Wittmann and Steven J. Nider of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council complain that "far too many Democrats view George W. Bush as a greater threat to the nation than Osama bin Laden."

Those loony Democrats! But wait, is this really such a crazy view? Even though all but the loopiest Democrat would concede that Bin Laden is more evil than Bush, that doesn't mean he's a greater threat. Bin Laden is hiding somewhere in the mountains, has no weapons of mass destruction and apparently very limited numbers of followers capable of striking at the U.S.

Bush, on the other hand, has wreaked enormous damage on the political and social fabric of the country. He has massively mismanaged a major war, with catastrophic consequences; he has strained the fabric of American democracy with his claims of nearly unchecked power and morally corrupt Gilded Age policies. It's quite reasonable to conclude that Bush will harm the nation more — if not more than Bin Laden would like to, than more than he actually can.
And yes this is the George W. Bush that the "centrist" Lieberman tells us we should not be critical of. According to many in the DLC like Marshall Wittmann a "centrist" is a neocon in the Democratic Party. Now tell me how you can be as far as you can to the right when it comes to foreign policy and still call yourself a "centrist"?

I think Joe Gandelman does get one thing right:
There is clearly a movement by a segment of the Democratic party to “take back” the party. What that means is “take back” the party from the Clintonistas, who essentially tried to take back the party from McGovernite influences to a more JFK-style oriented politics where the party would try to win elections (and did) by getting a large chunk of Democratic votes, plus centrist votes and votes from Republicans who unhappy with their own party.

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