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How "Centrist" Democrats Are Helping Conservatives -- and Failing America's Moms

By       Message Richard Eskow       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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So a corporate Democratic lobbyist named Hillary Rosen made a gaffe about Ann Romney's resume. So what? The reality is that Moms of all ages have been wounded by an obsolete and misguided consensus among Washington elites -- a consensus that is too often mislabeled as "'centrism."

This false centrism is based on an utterly discredited ideology of deregulation and government austerity - an ideology that has the GOP in its iron grip and controls much of the Democratic Party apparatus. The Republicans have become too radical to save, but the Democrats need to see the light -- and soon -- because the results are in and they're indisputable.

The Clintonite economic fantasy of "corporate-friendly Democrats" has failed. From Wall Street deregulation to welfare "reform," from Social Security "bargains" to jobs cuts for poor mothers, the record is undeniable: "Bipartisan" Washington's economic agenda doesn't work.

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Sorry, corporate Democrats: The dream is over. Wake up and smell the GDP. If you won't do it for yourselves, do it for your mothers.

GOP Gone Wild

It's true that Mitt Romney has said stunningly insensitive things about lower-income mothers. And his "bromance" partner Paul Ryan has cooked up a second round of welfare cuts which would decimate lower-income mothers and their children - even though we now know the first "reform" was a cruel failure.

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But Romney's comments aren't all that different from what Bill Clinton said about welfare cuts back in the nineties. And leading Democrats from the White House on down still seem determined to pursue an austerity deal with Republicans that would take the country down the same road of blood and horror that Europe is walking.

(Maybe they should call it a "Grand Guignol Bargain?)

When will Democrats learn that repeating right-wing talking points only accomplishes three things? It helps turn right-wing ideas into right-wing realities, it legitimizes bad ideas -- and it elects Republicans.

Nostalgia Trip

Right-leaning -- excuse me, centrist Democrats -- love to lecture others about living in the past. They argue that their party's traditional ideals and themes -- fighting poverty, ensuring a secure old age, and providing work at fair wages -- went out with bell bottoms and Nehru jackets.

The group that used to be known as "DLC Democrats" and is now sometimes called the "Third Way" contingent still controls the party, and it quickly secured leadership positions for itself in the Obama Administration after the 2008 election. As soon as the insurgent candidate won office the White House nomination process rang with an unspoken but undeniable theme: Out with the new, in with the old.

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But the nation quickly learned, even if they did not, that they were the ones living in the past. From the Presidential Deficit Commission to the Administration's ill-timed embrace of austerity, the centrism that worked so well in the nineties began tanking in the 21st Century. It even allowed Republicans to run to Democrats' left on Social Security in 2010 -- and recapture the House.

Why won't they change? Maybe because it's hard to let go of a beautiful dream.

That Nineties Show

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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