From ABCNews of all places:
As the Democratic presidential candidates gather in Washington to make their pitch to party activists this week, “liberal” is suddenly no longer a dirty word.
In recent months, virtually the entire Democratic field has tacked left — not just on the Iraq War, but on health care, taxes, energy issues and gay rights. In each of those areas, much of the field is standing to the left of where Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., stood in 2004, when President Bush lampooned Kerry as a “Massachusetts liberal.”
“They’re responding to the reality of the primaries, where the center of gravity is far to the left of the electorate as a whole,” said Erik Smith, a Democratic consultant who is not affiliated with any of the 2008 candidates. “The discussion with the greater American public is just getting started. They have plenty of time to define themselves, but you don’t come all the way back to the center.”
Let’s just say, and believe me, this is a big hypothetical, that just because a person may oppose the Iraq war, it doesn’t mean they embrace liberal socialist policies. Now I know for some people, like Rosie O’Donnell, that may be hard to fathom. However, I would venture to say that Democrats will be overplaying their hand this round.
Opposition to the Iraq war does not equal support for socialized Hillary-care. In some cases, sure. However, there are plenty of moderates, independents, and others who oppose Iraq but do not support liberalism. The two views are not intrinsically linked.
Game, set, match:
But some observers say that the candidates’ zeal to appeal to the party’s liberal base could cost them in the general election with the independent-minded voters they’ll need to win.
That is a particular concern for Democrats if Republicans nominate a candidate who could claim the vast middle of the electorate — a social moderate such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, or a candidate with a long history of reaching out to independents such as Arizona Sen. John McCain.
“Lots of people say, ‘I want a Democrat,’ but when they see the particulars, they say, ‘I don’t want that Democrat,'” said Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University. “The thing that’s amazing about the Democrats is that they could still snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. The major Democrats are all now well to the left of the median voter.”
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., touched on this concern Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” He is the only Democratic presidential candidate to have voted in favor of continuing funding for the war last month.
Biden is reaching for anything. However, he’s probably headed in a reasonable direction. If I were advising Hillary, God forbid, I would encourage her to stay center left more than anything. Liberals are not going to abandon her if she’s not liberal enough.
Of course, the Goracle could come out of nowhere to carry the left, take the primaries, and then win a landslide general election. Wouldn’t that leave us all speechless.
Bernard Goldberg validates my comments in this video from earlier tonight: