Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Independents Are Not Progessives

The current narrative among progressives for why independents are deserting Obama seems to be that independents are frustrated by the lack of progress that the president has made thus far.

This makes perfect sense only if you think moderates are actually progressives. And if you are a progressive, then this kinda makes sense. Don't we all think, deep down, that we are the median voter?

Let me do the progressive movement a favor -- moderates are not progressives. They, unlike you, are not frustrated by the lack of progress. They are simultaneously frustrated by the lack of any progress on almost every issue, but also scared shitless of the huge deficits and the increasing percentage of the economy controlled explicitly or implicitly by the government. The progressive narrative, that moderates are frustrated by the lack of accomplishments thus far by the administration, and consequently the president should double down with more government action despite, or perhaps because of Republican resistance, is the path to electoral ruin.

This happens every time. The side that wins think they have a mandate to do everything they said during the campaign, when in reality people didn't vote for everything the candidate said. As he mentioned in August:
It is true that Obama has a mandate. One of every politician's most crucial jobs, and one very relevant to their re-election, is to interpret that mandate. A strong case can be made that the mandate includes health care reform because it was such a large part of the campaign. However, I think that Democrats overestimate the size of the health care mandate because health care was an even bigger part of the Democratic primary process.

Now that many initiatives have stalled the true believers think that the solution to the impasse is more of what they believe. Put simply -- insufficient ideological purity is the problem. More forceful action toward more pure ideological goals will solve the problem.

It won't. It will just shift power to the other party. The obstacles in the way of progressive goals aren't simply narrow special interests. Those special interests indirectly, albeit oftentimes distortedly, represent legitimate interests that are opposed with real democratic power and votes behind them.

The Democrats aren't the only ones that do this. Conservative talk of RINOs is the same thing on the Right. And the failure of the so-called permanent Republican majority is due to the same thing that is going to undermine Democratic power.

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