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Tom Frank advises Obama to "Act As If You've Won"-- Centrism is a chump's role

David Sirota posted about this article with the title "What Tom Frank Said."

Frank points out that Tom DeLay understood that playing to the middle watered down his objectives; he said he told Repubs to start every proposal as far to the right as possible and in that way the general discussion pulled the national discourse to the right. Frank stresses Obama needs to recognize this and not create a "centrist position" which will merely become a starting point to move rightward. As have we all said.

The first commenter notes that pols use centrism for their own purposes, not for a general agenda (which is probably accurate, esp'ly with BO):

What Frank is really saying is that he wants Obama to act like liberalism won. In fact, Obama won and he'll use the office for his own purposes.

Progressives made Obama president for their own purposes; to get their agenda passed. Obama sought and won the presidency for his own purposes; presumably person power, etc.

If the progressive movement can make him president, then it probably has some ability to control him as president, but that is not necessarily easy. In other words, electing a Democrat to the White House doesn't mean the battle hasn't ended. It has just begun.

Centrism, by definition, doesn't help the progressive agenda. It helps individual politicians win office. It is our job to promote the progressive agenda, reward politicians for doing the same, and to punish centrism.
by: idratherbedrunk @ Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:08:21 AM CST

As Frank concludes,

Democrats have massive majorities these days not because they waffle hither and yon but because their historic principles have been vindicated by events. This is their moment. Let the other side do the triangulating. (My emphasis)

Please let Dems grow spines and let Obama see the wisdom of this advice reality. Without the Worst President Evah, the Dems' waffling might well have condemned the party to permanent minority status. A smarter Repub president might well have accomplished what Rove wanted, the permanent Republican majority.

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basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

care proposal - that he had given up any negotiating room whatsoever by not even attempting to create genuinely universal healthcare.

I know I've said it before - I think the guy is a Republican. I don't think he would govern as a progressive even if he had his filibuster proof majority. His little lizard brain is in control and he's going to be the guy in the bullet proof limo. I cannot believe this happened.

Submitted by jawbone on

meet Repub objections up front so that they would see how bipartisan the Dems were being and would vote for the Dem plan. Ha. Need to start as far to the left as possible; only then is there actual room for compromise and still achieving most of the objective.


Submitted by Randall Kohn on

Part of what they don't get is that Obama is acting as if he won. Another part is that the rest of us lost. Still another part is that they think Obama's centrism means that he's being chumped along with the rest of us, when what it does mean is that he's acting the chump in order to chump the rest of us.

PS - Thank dog for italics.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

"Answering your questions" As the new DNC chair, he posts a video where he addresses some of the many questions people sent in about the future of the party. These are the three examples he lists. Notice the very first one:

Randy in Portland, Oregon, asked how the Democratic Party will take into account the Republicans who crossed over.

Jackie in Boise, Idaho, asked about investment by the DNC in "red states" like hers.

Tom in Warren, Michigan, asked what can be done to help salvage Americans' homes, jobs, and lives.

Good grief. I'm sure that was the most challenging one he got.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

Thanks for posting it. Doing what DeLay and Gingrich did (starting as far to the political right as possible) is as much common sense as political acumen!