Swinging Left: A Day Dream…?

“I hope Huntsman does well.”  That’s what I said to my husband yesterday shortly before the NH returns started coming in.

“Isn’t that bad for Obama?”  He replied.

“Yeah.  But good for our country.”

Let’s just imagine what might happen to our political discourse if the leading Republican voice were an actual moderate.  Someone who acknowledged that evolution is science and creationism is religion; that global warming is a fact; that the way to solve our budget and deficit crises is to use a combination of taxing and cutting.  Just imagine…what might happen to the “center”?

When beloved “liberal” Justice John Paul Stevens retired from the bench in 2010 he made the observation that when he was appointed in 1975 he was the “moderate”.  And every appointment since then, with the possible exception of Justice Ginsburg, was more conservative than the justice (s)he replaced.

The “right” has systematically drawn us all to their side of the spectrum.  I’ve often been amazed by the policies and words of past Republican presidents like Nixon and Eisenhower.  My view of all Republicans is so tainted by the cartoonishly ridiculous extremists that characterize their party today.

Obviously, Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.  And despite what Newt Gingrich wants us to believe, Mitt isn’t a Massachusetts moderate.  Mitt is whatever the polling data tells him to be.  With “leadership” like that the Republicans will keep the political discourse as ridiculously extreme as serves their current short-sited ideological and greedy goals.

But yesterday, for a brief moment, I got to imagine that this presidential election might have swung left.  That President Obama would have had to fight to energize his base by taking actual progressive stands.

That the next time discussion about healthcare came up for debate, the idea of a single-payer not-for-profit government-run program was actually on the table for discussion, instead of marginalized as some extremist Socialist insanity.

That the next time fracking or oil sand pipelines were up for debate, the response was a resounding NO, we will not destroy our economy and our environment for the short term gain of one bloated tax-payer subsidized industry.

That the next time the Defense of Marriage Act came up for debate, every Democrat proudly stood up and acknowledged it’s not any government’s job to dictate who a person loves, rather it is our federal government’s job to preserve people’s rights.

That the next time legislation for campaign finance reform was presented, it stood up to Citizens United and corporations, and stood up for democracy and American citizens, by removing corporations from the political process.

Perhaps instead of waiting for the Republicans to make it easy for the center to swing left, those of on the left need to make it happen…

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