I was for Gary Hart back when first ran for president in 1984. To be honest, I was an enthusiastic backer, and I looked forward to his next try in 1988. Then, he self destructed with his reckless private behavior with Donna Rice.
Think about it. Having an affair could ruin your chances for higher office back in the day. It is downright quaint nowadays to think that extramarital affairs could cost you elected office.
Anyway, I ran across this recent interview that Gary Hart provided to the CBS Denver affiliate. Former Colorado Govenor John Hickenlooper went to Hart to obtain some advice on a presidential run. And you have to admit, it makes sense because Hart has run a presidential campaign before, so why not get some advice from a friend. Right?
Too bad for Hickenlooper that he didn’t listen.
In a political climate where angry bomb throwing candidates suck up all the energy, Hickenlooper comes across as milquetoast. He has tried to carve out a position as the centrist candidate or what he calls the “extreme moderate,” opposing Medicare for all and the Green New Deal. He told the Washington Post the country needs a candidate who can solve the “crisis of division.”
“I believe that not only can I beat Donald Trump, but that I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done.”
Hart lamented, “Saying you can work with the other side is death to a candidate today.”
This is where centrists clutch their pearls.
But Hart has his finger on the pulse of the makeup of the Democratic Party, especially those voters who vote in the primaries:
He says the Democratic party is a coalition party and the coalition has changed.
“It was labor and then social revolution and now it’s the party of environmentalists, feminists and disaffected minorities.”
I think that is an accurate assessment of the current Democratic Party. And I believe that centrists do not get that. If you believe that we are experiencing a global climate crisis, that Republicans are waging a war on women, and Trump and his fellow Republicans are openly racist, why the hell does anyone think that working with forces aligned against your interests is going to appeal to those voters?
And the other problem with some centrists is that they have no vision. And Hickenlooper is one of those who has none. Drum roll please on what Hickenlooper wants to focus on:
Hart says Hickenlooper even struggles with how the job of president differs from that of governor. When Hart asked Hickenlooper what his campaign theme would be, he says Hickenlooper replied, “Small business.”
Now there is a vision that captures the imagination and stirs the hearts of voters.
While Hart was focusing on the advice he gave to Hickenlooper, I believe that his words also apply to other politicians who push bipartisanship: it does not fit the times we live in.
Note to centrists on Daily Kos: I believe what you may hold as sincere moderation or centrism is not what centrist Democrats in D.C. actually represent. I’ve blogged before that what so called centrist Democrats push as moderation is not that at all. Most of what they push is a corporate agenda with some deceptive labeling.