You've just got to love the framing they used for this segment from CNN's Parker/Spitzer earlier this week -- Can a centrist movement in the U.S. succeed or is it too 'mushy' to hold up?
This just smells of more Republican re-branding with some of the so-called Republican "moderates" wanting to distance themselves from the teabirchers that have taken over their party. They may have done well during the mid-term elections just catering to their base, but that's not going to work so well in 2012.
Former Rudy Giuliani staffer John Avlon's been pushing this nonsense for some time now, but as Karoli pointed out last week, there's a new group jumping on his bandwagon as well. Kathleen Parker never mentioned the "No Labels" group during the segment, but it may as well have been an infomercial for them by Parker and Avlon.
It's really a shame that Thomas Frank wasn't allowed to speak more to counter Avlon's talking points. Kathleen Parker and John Avlon can put all of the "mushy middle", "we're a center-right country", bipartisan spin on this they want. It's not going to change the fact that they're both a couple of right wingers. There's not a lick of difference between their economic policy positions and those of Dick Armey and the Koch brothers.
CNN's off air interview with Frank looked a lot more interesting than listening to Avlon's claptrap about how voters just really want all the bickering to stop and for our politicians to all just get along, which is doublespeak demanding Democratic capitulation.
Q: If we could arrange a private conversation between you and Rep. John Boehner, what would you say to him?
FRANK: I was struck by his line about Democrats “snuffing out the America that I grew up in.” It’s a charge that I frequently apply to conservatives, who have so resolutely smashed the middle-class society where I grew up in favor of a nation that is heaven on earth for the very rich—and an endless, losing struggle for working people. It’s also something I often say about market forces generally, which are the most radical and disruptive cultural influences I know of. Conservatives always claim to love the market and to deplore what’s happening in “the culture,” but they never explain how they can hold these two views at the same time. Wouldn’t it be great to have John Boehner himself sort out these things out for us?
I’m also always been impressed by his luminous neckties, and I would of course tell him so.
Q: What credit do you give the Tea Party for changing American politics at this moment?
FRANK: They demonstrated two important things:
- That the supposed power of centrism is in fact just a comforting beltway fairytale. That the “median voter” doesn’t really determine things. That politics really is a battle of small, committed groups—and also of money.
- That there’s a place in politics for class-based discontent. That conservatives can speak to that emotion just as readily as liberals can. And that if liberals don’t understand this—if they just blow it off on the grounds that working-class people will always vote for Democrats because duh—that they will keep losing, and they will deserve to lose. [...]
Q:As you get older, do you find yourself becoming more or less liberal?
FRANK: Not speaking strictly for myself here, but what I find people outgrow isn’t liberalism per se, it’s the tendency to treat politics like a branch of aesthetics, where what matters are gestures and what you’re after—the object of politics—is a demonstration of your originality and your surpassing cleverness. When you get older you realize how impotent that approach is, and you also understand the disastrous consequences things like, say, banking deregulation have for people.
Full transcript of the clip above below the fold.