Monday, December 31, 2007

Has the Democratic Party moved to the left?

I usually don’t comment on politics on this blog, but in this political season, and with politics being my version of sports, I guess it’s inevitable.

In this Jerusalem Post op-ed piece, Jonathan Tobin decries that the Democratic Party, by veering sharply towards the left, has forced people like Joe Lieberman to turn to the republicans and endorse John McCain. Tobin repeats the usual claim of the right that the Democratic party has become soft on terror and is now controlled by the radical anti-Israel pacifist left and that people like Lieberman have no choice but to lean towards the “responsible” foreign policy of the Republicans.

"At places like and other sites where the crowd congregate, the comments range from the scatological to the purely anti-Semitic. At such places, hard core anti-Bush and anti-war sentiments are the coin of the realm, and hostility to Israel and its perceived influence on American foreign policy is rampant. The notion of a Democratic Party that aggressively defends America's interests abroad as vigorously as it fights for liberal causes at home is treated as an absurdity in this quarter."

The truth is, by needlessly attacking Iraq, mismanaging the war, torturing prisoners, and abrogating international treaties, Bush created the opening for the lunatic fringe of the left to gain so much of the voice of liberalism. If he had continued to responsibly prosecute the war in Afghanistan and not attacked Iraq and embraced unilateralism, the radical voices of the extreme left wouldn't be nearly as loud or carry nearly as much weight in the media.

That being said, it is exactly that focus by the media on the crowd that gives a skewed impression of today's Democratic electorate. The vast majority of Democratic voters is fairly middle of the road and abhors the tactics and shrillness of the extreme left. But they recognize that the war in Iraq was a costly and useless error and they are anxious to move back to normality. Lieberman doesn't recognize this truth and therefore gravitates to the right. He left the Democratic party behind when he chose to support the wrong war.

The one Democratic candidate for President who really represents the fringe left that many seem so frightened of is Dennis Kucinich, and he is polling in the low single digits. Most Democratic voters are supporting mainstream candidates like Clinton, Obama, Edwards, etc. All of them supported the war in Afghanistan and have consistently expressed strong support for Israel. So in what way has the Democratic party abandoned the center? Only by the standards of those who support this wasteful and illegal war in Iraq.

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