Thanks to Dems, Centrist America Suffers Again We're rehashing the stale debate of big vs. small government By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Apr 23, 2010 11:30 AM CDT 44 comments Comments President Barack Obama speaks about financial reform at the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York, Thursday, April 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Newser) – David Brooks sees himself as an advocate of "progressive conservatism," which he says puts him at the center ("or a step to the right") of American politics. And he's not happy with the plight of the "broad middle" these days. He had hopes that Barack Obama could move the nation "past the old polarities," leading to a "revival" of the center, but it hasn't worked out that way. "In the first year of the Obama administration, the Democrats, either wittingly or unwittingly, decided to put the big government-versus-small government debate at the center of American life," Brooks writes for the New York Times. Their policies, taken as a whole, have the feel of a "federal onslaught." Cue the outrage. "The Democrats have become the government party and the Republicans are the small government party. The stale, old debate is back with a fury."