Squeeze the Right

You should read Ed Kilgore's comments on the latest salvo in the abortion battle, wherein Carol Tobias of the National Right to Life Committee firmly rejected Hillary Clinton's call for compromise. As Ed notes, hardcore anti-choice folks don't see a moral difference between birth control and abortion procedures, forcing them to explain that publicly drives a wedge in their colaition. But at the end, Ed writes that:

Hillary Clinton has just given us all a textbook case of what it really means to "seize the center": it does not mean "moving to the right," it means moving to higher and stronger ground.

I'm starting to think that it's the whole concept of a "center" that messes up progressive politics. Conceptually, you can only occupy so much ground, so if you're seizing the center you're not covering the left. But Hillary's not seizing the center, she's squeezing the right. Her framing pushes them out of a whole range of positions they formerly inhabited and leaves room only for those groups entrenched in the most extreme ideas. And that's how we should think about these things, not in terms of where they move us, but where they move our opponents.

So long as you're hanging out at Ed Kilgore's place, read his post on reinstating the estate tax. Good stuff in them there grafs.