2010's Lesson: Move to Center
America wasn't ready for a new progressive era
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2010 11:21 AM CDT
With the crucial midterm election imminent, President Barack Obama makes a final get-out-the-vote push for Democratic candidates in Bridgeport, Conn., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Democrats didn’t just get stomped because of the economy, and they didn’t just have a communication problem. “The public heard us,” writes retiring Sen. Evan Bayh in the New York Times, “but disagreed with our approach.” Democrats overestimated their mandate. Exit polls in 2008 showed 22% as liberals, 32% as conservative, and 44% as moderates. “An electorate that is 76% moderate to conservative was not crying out for a move to the left.”

To rebuild, Democrats need to move to the center. “Every policy must be viewed through a single prism: does it help the economy grow?” To counteract the revived “tax and spend” stereotype, Democrats should enact entitlement reform, freeze federal wages, and at least temporarily ban earmarks. Given the beating Republican moderates took this year, the GOP will probably oppose even such sensible proposals. But as they “genuflect before the Tea Party, President Obama can seize the center.”