Reading this Politico article, I get the impression that Third Way is salivating at the prospect of a Republican-controlled House:
The group has spent months preparing to capitalize on this moment and take a more central role in the party.
And it’s coming down squarely on the side of centrism — and planning to vigorously challenge the left.
“The party is about to come to a major fork in the road,” said Jonathan Cowan, Third Way’s president. “A left turn at this juncture is a turn toward permanent minority status.”
So, my question for the DLC: Part Deux is this: what exactly didn't you like about Obama's brand of politics? Unless this is a mindless desire to walk in step with some Beltway "centrism," there must be something particular about the Obama administration and the Democratic Party that you don't like.
I, for one, am mystified by what it could be, as you can easily describe the Obama approach as "centrism for liberal ends." The Affordable Care Act was a tremendous liberal achievement, but structurally, it looks like the bill Mitt Romney signed for Massachusetts and builds on ideas proposed by Republicans in the 1990s. Moreover, it was won through careful -- and not-so-careful -- compromise with conservative Democrats, major stakeholders in the health-care system, and other business interests. The same goes for most of the Obama program, which involved compromise with Democratic moderates and conservatives in order to pass legislation that satisfied the party at large.
So what does Third Way want, if not this? Politico offers a few clues:
The economic team is developing a proposal that it thinks could win bipartisan support. It includes tort reform and incentives for research and development. And Cowan’s writing a paper with a colleague about “the danger of left-wing economic populism.” [...]
And the group will advocate for education reform that focuses on middle-class, not low-income, schools. Third Way is also pushing for more trade agreements and a new approach to immigration.
Well, there it is: Third Way wants Democrats to drop the pretense of helping the poor and working class, and devote their energy to helping the "middle class," which looks suspiciously like finding more and novel ways to shovel money at the well-off. Blaming liberals for losing the election -- when conservative Democrats shoulder more of the blame -- is just the first step.
-- Jamelle Bouie
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