Friday, May 13, 2005

Where are the Democrat Centrists?

Yesterday, George Voinovich (R-OH) reminded the Senate and the nation of the power of Centrists. By standing up for what he believed rather than just bowing down to party wishes, Voinovich insured the debate will continue on John Bolton’s controversial nomination to server as UN envoy.

Voinovich has really upset the partisans in his own party, but his actions over the last week have been generally praised throughout the media.

That’s not a surprise. The two party’s abhor a politician they can’t control. But America likes its independents. We like free thinkers. And that is reflected in the press. Today both a news story in the New York Times and a Mort Kondracke commentary on Real Clear Politics praise the spirit of the center while questioning if the middle can survive the current polarized atmosphere.

The problem is, like a MSNBC piece this past Wednesday, most all news stories in recent months have been about Republican Centrists. Where are the Democrats from the middle? Why are they so silent?

The only sure way to get Congress to stop playing zero-sum games is for Centrist Democrats to join with Centrist Republicans on key issues. As we’ve reported, it would only take six senators from each party to end the filibuster standoff. Social Security reform could be jump-started if a Democratic senator would just work with Democratic House Centrist Allen Boyd (FL) on his bi-partisan bill. And why are free traders in the Democratic Party opposing CAFTA?

It is easier to go against your own party when you’re in the majority than when you’re in the minority. But that’s just a reason, not an excuse, for Democrat Centrist silence. If there was ever a time in American politics where we need leadership from the center, this is it. Come on Joe Lieberman (CT), Evan Bayh (IN), Ben Nelson (NE), Max Baucus (MT), Mary Landreau (LA). And you too Hillary Clinton (NY) if you’re so intent on proving your Centrist credentials and leadership ability. Stand up. The Democrat base may be drifting far to the left, but the American people are still in the center. Stand up. Take a cue from Voinovich. Stand up for principles, not partisanship.


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