osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

An insightful piece from Drew Westen

The New York Times had this insightful piece by Drew Westen on Sunday. Briefly, although the candidates have shown marked improvement in the general election every time they have taken turn to the left (in Obama's case, by embracing income inequality and increased taxes on the wealthy; in Romney's case by pivoting center in the debate), the invariable narrative that drives our politics is rightward leaning. Even if Obama wins, "centrist" Democrats are likely to argue that the narrow margin of victory flows from his supposed effort to move "too far" to the left.

Polling and focus groups by Westen and others shows that even in conservative areas of the country, there is considerable support for a greater role of government than is credited by the dominant narrative. But the influence of money on politics, and the absence of a compelling progressive philosophy and narrative, act to create "a single magnetic pole" in our politics that draws all policies and discourse to it. (Westen compares this to the period between Roosevelt and Reagan, when even Republican Presidents such as Eisenhower and Nixon adopted essentially New Deal-esque policies of infrastructure investment and expanding federal involvement in the economy generally).

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