Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's not your father's party anymore

We may be fast approaching a redefinition of our political nomenclature, going by how little regard the DLC is giving to the rest of its party. While many activists on the left are trying to bring the Democratic Party back to its roots as the party that cares about the majority of the citizens of the US, many power brokers still in the party are simply seeking to restrain such democratic notions, or even just stay in office--(see Joe Lieberman). Any signs of progress made by the left, such as the heartening poll numbers Ned Lamont is getting in Connecticut, is matched by what I used to think was mere faintheartedness of those on the right of the Party, but what I now think may be calculated sabotage. (Why else would Hillary Clinton and the DLC publicly seek to muddy the emerging clarity of the platform, or similarly publicly support a clearly floundering and treacherous Lieberman?)
All of which brings to mind a concept most of us who've been watching things over the past quarter century have noticed--the relentless pull of the Republican Party to the right, and the subsequent redefinition of terms like "centrist" or "Democrat". Squint at my graphic here (double click to open a larger view):

The Democratic Party is covered by the light blue (natch) part of this graphic, while the Republican Party is in red. The top bar represents the parties of the 1960s and early 1970s, with some representative pols in their appropriate places on that spectrum, as I see it, and the current parties and denizens are shown in the bottom bar.
Ther are a number of points I want to make, which I think are fairly well-substantiated:
1) The "center" of the political world has shifted to the right, and no one is really situated there anymore. (I have serious doubts that the populace has really "moved" anywhere, judging by the historically steady polling numbers on issues like abortion, Social Security, healthcare, and the environment. If anything, our citizens are shifting to the left!) What used to be the center-right is now occupied by members of the DLC; they would have been the "Liberal Republicans" of the 1960s.
2) What was once the far right is now virtually the mainstream for the Republicans, and people once thought beyond the pale can look to whackjobs like Santorum and (unlisted) Kyl, Cheney, and Norquist for true representation in high office these days.
3) Where once moderate Democrats like Scoop Jackson could work effectively with moderate Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller, let alone those even further to the right or left, that is pretty much impossible now. "No Man's Land" means exactly that; anyone straying into that region from the right is immediately slapped around by the Republican leaders, while Democrats seeking help from outside their party from the right are fooling themselves or are being played.
4) The scope of each party has changed as well. The earlier period saw 2 parties with approximately the same breadth. The Republican Party now truly stands for a smaller section of the ideological landscape than they used to, while the Democratic Party, almost by default, is stretching idelogically to accommodate those left behind by the Republican shrinkage to the Right.
What do you all think?


Blogger Slangred said...


5:47 PM  
Anonymous threefingerjack said...

Third party. Good or bad, and for which group?
What do you think?

9:04 PM  
Blogger sporksforall said...

I think you rock. Out.

10:57 PM  

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