Remember a Time When It Was OK to be a Political Moderate?

Submitted By: – Click to email about this post
Here’s a link to the NYT Magazine article referenced in Conklin’s post:

I’m not entirely sure what Mr. Conklin is advocating. Perhaps that Democrats have left the middle ground and become immoderate?

An example of moderation given in the article is that Democrats can win if they use Bill Clinton’s formula of implementing “Tough on [fill in the blank]” programs. Let’s take a look back at three of Clinton’s most significant initiatives.

Tough on Crime: largely responsible for the massive spike in incarceration in the last three decades. It made the U.S. an outlier among Western democracies.

Tough on Welfare: created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program which today barely reaches the poorest families and was subsequently used by Republicans as a template in attempts to kill Medicaid & Obamacare.

Tough on Mental Health Reimbursements: the driving force behind deinstitutionalization. It pushed patients onto the street and swapped institutions for prisons. It contributes to today’s homelessness crisis.

None of these programs were ultimately moderate. So perhaps it’s understandable if Dems might not be excited about 21st Century versions.

Frankly, the Democratic Party is a mess in general but remains well within the range of what one might expect in a broad, reasonably healthy, multi-ethnic party struggling with modernity. The same can’t be said of our Republican friends who are cruising at flank speed toward a vision of governance that is anything but moderate.

Gene Dieken