Monday, September 26, 2011

Obama's a Centrist -- I Know because I'm a Radical Leftist

Paul Krugman's post on his blog today rang true: when people cry out for a centrist alternative, what they really are asking for are the policy positions of the Democratic Party. As Krugman quoted from Greg Sargent's post at WaPo:
One of the two parties already occupies the approximate ideological space that these commentators themselves are describing as the dream middle ground that allegedly can only be staked out by a third party.
That party is known as the “Democratic Party,” and it alreadly holds many of the positions these commentators want a third party to espouse.
I'm old enough to remember my first active campaigning. I went door-to-door for LBJ in 1964. It was as much against Barry Goldwater as for LBJ, partly because the "Daisy Ad" and partly because the John Birch Society and the red-baiters seemed so nasty. It was also because we thought Johnson would complete Kennedy's legacy concerning civil rights, which he did.

I'm also old enough to remember when there were plenty of moderate and even liberal Republicans, folks like Mitt Romney's dad George Romney, as well as Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, and Earl Warren, not to mention Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. A case can be made that Nixon was to the left of Obama and even Bill Clinton, though no one would mistake Nixon's antisemitism and racism for liberalism.

George and Mitt Romney
I remain the same radical leftist I became in my college days, and that ain't Barack Obama, although, let's face it, even radicals like myself have little choice but to favor the weak tea that is most of the Democratic ideals today. I'm for single-payer health care, most cradle-to-grave ideals of the European social democrats, all the liberal values such as strict gun control, a women's right to choose, decriminalization of drug use, elimination of the death penalty, and a major shrinking of the defense budget in concert with a major expansion of spending on education. Of course I'm in favor of anything that makes the tax code more progressive, and if I had my way every worker in America would be a union member.

So when you read a column calling for a centrist "third way," please realize that the position is already taken. It's today's Democratic Party. If you're against socialists and tax-and-spenders, rail against me -- or the dozen or so of us who have survived-- and not Barack Obama. He's a true centrist that should be the default candidate of anyone to the left of today's Tea-Party-controlled Republican Party, which is pretty much everyone who isn't registered Republican.

I remember when my brother Bill uttered his famous, eye-opening "I'm to the right of Genghis Khan" comment and afforded me the shocking realization that all children of progressives don't automatically become progressives. What I realize now, sadly, is that today's Republican Party is to the right of Genghis Khan, making the statement superfluous.

G. Khan, Republican

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