1/02/2005

Beware the Democratic "Centrists"

David Sirota, of the Center for American Progress, criticizes the corporate-sponsored Democratic Leadership Council for claiming, despite wins by economic populists in red states like Colorado and Montana this year, that progressive policies are hurting the Democratic Party.
According to Sirota, the DLC is funded by huge contributions from the likes of Philip Morris, Texaco, Enron, and Merck and tends to push a corporate agenda "under the guise of centrism while allowing the DLC to parrot GOP criticism of populist Democrats as far-left extremists...Worse, the mainstream media follow suit, characterizing progressive positions on everything from trade to healthcare to taxes as ultra-liberal."    
Sirota asks: Is this really true? Is a corporate agenda really "centrism"? He argues that, despite overwhelming evidence that large numbers of Americans support universal health care, fuel emission standards, drug imports from Canada, and other progressive economic policies, "DLC Democrats apparently have not gotten the message that their current definition of centrism is actually pulling the party further and further out of the mainstream. Instead, insiders are doing their best ostrich imitation: putting their heads in the sand, pretending nothing is wrong and continuing down the same path that sells out America's working class - the demographic that used to be the party's base."
He explains that the DLC has issued a "heartland strategy," telling Democrats to "jettison economic populism, which has been used to elect Democrats in various red regions in America...The strategy conveniently avoids the issues that might make the DLC's corporate backers uncomfortable...Instead of engaging in grassroots funding efforts, it is openly relying on corporate contributions...hijacking centrism to sell out America's middle and working classes."

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