Skip this if you’re not interested.
Conservatives and media types are already spinning Scott Brown’s senatorial win as a warning that Democrats have moved too far to the left. Even conservatives within the party are saying this. Witness Evan Bayh: “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country — that’s not going to work too well.”
But this is, of course, a fucking fantasy. Coakley lost yesterday primarily because she was an awful, lazy, contemptuous candidate. Secondarily, she lost because her base is pissed off.
As much as the Washington media and political operatives like to tell us otherwise, polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of citizens support progressive agenda items if they’re presented without a party name attached. Once the party names are hung on them, voters switch heavily to Republicans.
Health care reform, which Bayh seems to think is progressive over-reaching? In truth it’s been stripped of most everything progressives wanted, including a public option. At this point, actual liberals in this country are angry because the legislation doesn’t go far enough–it doesn’t cover enough people, doesn’t break the poisonous connection between health insurance and employment benefits, and doesn’t actually change the health insurance situation for the great majority of Americans.
In other words, the Dems lost a seat because they weren’t progressive enough.
Now, I’m glad that the Democratic party has a big tent. The Blue Dogs might annoy me and make me roll my eyes, but I would hate to see a DINO-purging start. We ought to be able to work together–liberals, moderates, conservatives–to legislate, and that’s what the Democratic party has been doing. The results aren’t always pretty, and damn, the White House could have made the public option more of a priority, but it’s how governing is done. What’s more, I’d like to see the current reform bill reconciled and passed; we’re in for a disaster if we don’t.
But don’t try to tell me the government has been too far to the left. That’s absurd.