Thursday, June 30, 2005

You hate me, you really hate me

Through the magic of the web, this URL ended up on the Centrist Coalition's blog along with a few other fledgling efforts. The reviews are in and, well, let's just say this show may not make it out of New Haven:

Wash Your Bowl. This guy self identifies as a centrist Democrat. I read the entire site in search of any evidence of his cenrism but did not find it. I am reminded of a poster on Democratic Underground to claimed that DUers are the real center and everything to the right of that is “right wing.” If that theory is true this guy is a centrist. My main issue with this site is that there is no value added. You gain nothing from reading this that you wouldn’t get from reading Kos or MyDD other than descriptions of a stranger’s trip to Target with his kids. This one rates fair to poor.

I take some of this to heart. It's hard to avoid the temptation to Bush-bash. It's hard to come up with thoughtful content that says something original. It's hard to make those trips to Target entertaining. I'm looking for ways to make the blog more distinctive - suggestions welcome.

But I do take issue with the idea that the content here is pure leftist polemic leavened only with trips to Target. (Actually, I've never written about going to Target. Target belongs to Lileks.) My criticisms could come from just about anywhere on the spectrum from moderate Republican to the Kos crowd. In some ways I'm not sure what the term "centrist" means at the moment - does it imply trying to work with Bush & Co., to find some political or rhetorical middle ground? Most, including the DLC, would agree that's pointless. By the same token, are you a "leftist" if you persistently criticize the president and Congress?

There is a large, increasingly disaffected middle out there that is tired of Bush but disenchanted with the Democrats. They will be the death of the 51 percent strategy - then things will get interesting again. This is the political story of the next few years, but it's hard to write about something that hasn't happened yet - to reflect on how the Democrats might seize the opening. Most of the commentary I've seen on the Democrats suggests vague slogans - "reform" being the top choice - as the nascent building blocks for a winning message and majority. They lack the pungency and policy heft - however misguided - of Gingrich & Co. in 1994. This is a matter of some urgency, and it's still quite fuzzy. This doesn't mean I won't write about it - just that anyone who does has to think a lot harder than they've been thinking.