Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine asks “when did liberals become so unreasonable,” regarding their expectations for a Democratic president, which to me is like asking when did vegetarians become so unreasonable about the menu at Peter Luger Steakhouse.
Democrats have shifted more to the right as Republicans have shifted so far to the right they are in danger of falling off the edge of the world or becoming liberals — depends on whether you believe in Hellenistic politics. Obama is far more center-right than 1988′s Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, and George H.W. Bush, the Republican nominee that year, would be booed off the stage at any of this year’s GOP primary debates.
The twist is that no matter how much liberal weight Democrats lose, the conservatives see only bloated, big government Marxists. Continued efforts to compromise or receive conservative approval will only leave Democrats politically and philosophically emaciated husks of themselves.
The arguable lesson from the Faustian bargain that Democrats keep making is that they tend to be too concerned about winning to actually ever win. Would it make a difference if the Democratic left had the same ideological rigor as the Republican right? Or would you just wind up with a Frankenstein monster that looked like Obama, Boehner, and Bachmann? That certainly didn’t work for the Superfriends.