The Ideological Continuum

Over at ThinkProgress, Brad Johnson has a good post about the deficit reduction debate that’s been tied to the debt ceiling. He puts the political positions of progressives, President Obama, and the Tea Party side by side to draw out a continuum of recommended actions (or non-action). Johnson writes, “As of this moment, the president’s negotiating stance is a lot closer to the radical, destructive goals of the far right than to the climate hawks and progressives.”

Not included in Johnson’s analysis are the positions of the mainstream Democratic Party (arguably represented by Harry Reid) and the mainstream Republican Party (arguably represented by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell). I think the omission here is interesting in part because it would show the near-total capture of the mainstream Democratic Party by the President’s conservativism, which places them in the same place as most of the Republican Party. Yes it’s important that in Johnson’s chart, Obama is closer to the Tea Party than Progressives. But it’s probably more important that he’s where the non-Tea Party GOP is and he’s brought the non-progressive Democratic Party along with him. This is an incredibly important  dynamic as it signifies the functional end of the Democratic Party as a vehicle for liberalism (let alone populism or progressivism).

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