Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism

Filed in National by on June 14, 2017

By Matt Taibbi

Last week, after yet another week of anti-establishment upheavals in Europe, former Bush speechwriter and current Atlantic senior editor David Frum tweeted in despair:

“I think we need a word to describe people broadly satisfied with the status quo & skeptical of radical changes based on wild promises.”

Frum was responding to a move by Catalonia to seek independence from Spain. But he might as well have been talking about the electoral successes of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in Britain, which Frum also denounced last week.

Frum was so distressed by all this rejecting of the status quo going on that he proposed that those “broadly satisfied” folks band together to create a political coalition:

“I mean, there have to be a few of us, right? Maybe we could form a movement of some kind or form a political party with that word in it?”

The responses to Frum on social media were priceless. One tweeter suggested Frum could call his party the “ungressives.” Another humorous name proposal: the “Quo-nothings.”

Frum’s clarion call spoke to the almost total cluelessness of the D.C./punditoid class to which he belongs. (To be clear, though I’m a New Yorker, I also belong to this miserable group.)

Our media priesthood reacted with near-universal horror at the election in Britain. We panned the result in which Labour, led by the despised Corbyn, took 261 seats and won 40 percent of the vote, Labour’s largest share since hallowed third-way icon Tony Blair won 40.7 percent in 2001.

Corbyn’s strong showing came as a surprise to American readers, who were told repeatedly that Britain’s support for the unvarnished lefty would result in historic losses for liberalism.

The status quo line on Corbyn followed a path identical to the propaganda here at home about liberal politics. Whenever Washington pundits in either party talk about the progressive “base,” you can count on two themes appearing in the coverage.

One is that “progressive” voters make decisions based upon their hearts and not their heads, with passions rather than intellect. The second is that such voters consistently choose incorrectly when forced to choose between ideals and winning.

The New York Times perfectly summed up this take a few days after the Corbyn result, describing the reaction of the American left: “Democrats in Split-Screen. The Base Wants it All, The Party Wants to Win.”

This has long been the establishment line both here and in Britain. In the U.K., the once-revered Blair’s support among European progressives tumbled after he supported the Iraq War efforts of Frum’s former boss George Bush. Blair years ago warned that Corbyn was leading his party over a cliff toward “total annihilation.”

The former PM played a lurid riff on the heart-head propaganda line, telling Britons whose “heart is with Corbyn” to “get a transplant.”

In December, Barack Obama said he wasn’t worried about the “Corbynization” of American politics because “the Democratic Party has stayed pretty grounded in fact and reality.”

The idea that British liberals had failed the “wanting versus winning” test and elected to live in loserific “unreality” has been everywhere in our media for years.

“A cult is destroying a major liberal political party,” insisted CNN’s Michael Weiss. Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, a quasi-official weathervane of mainstream Democratic Party opinion, declared in January, “Corbyn has been a disaster for Labour.”

In April, the Washington Post ran a piece saying that swooningly “rigid” leftists in Britain would pay a high price for supporting a man in “cuckoo world.”

The idea that people who want expanded health care, reduced income inequality, fewer wars and more public services are “unrealistic” springs from an old deception in our politics.

Continue reading at  The Rolling Stone

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Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

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