Agitated by ‘Pathetic Centrists,’ Progressive Populists Strike Back

From Common Dreams:

Real story isn’t the tired antics of the “corporate centrists” but the “sustained feistiness among progressives” increasingly on display

Jon Queally

Progressives on the march? Perhaps a bit premature, but a string of DC-based headlines this week suggest that the “corporate-friendly centrists” in Washington policy circles are losing the rhetorical battle when it comes to the national discussion surrounding economic populism:



Adding evidence to the notion that progressives are willing to go on offense against the forces of the “establishment’s faux centrism”—represented by former public officials, corporate-funded Beltway pundits, and the mainstays of the mainstream media—a series of scathing attacks against the group “Third Way” have continued nearly a week after two prominent members of the group published an op-ed calling for cuts to Social Security and a rejection of the populism that is bubbling up across the nation.


In just the latest hit on the Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal at the beginning of the week, economist Paul Krugman called the so-called “centrism” of the ‘Third Way’ representatives “pathetic.” Describing their arguments as intellectually bankrupt, Krugman concluded:


It’s just so tired and tiring. If being a “centrist” means fact-free denunciations of progressives for not being willing to cut entitlements, who needs these guys?


The Economic Policy Institute’s Joshua Smith wrote in response to the op-ed:


In poll after poll after poll, huge majorities of Americans want no part of cuts to either Social Security or Medicare—and by percentages much larger than those who voted against Colorado’s tax hike. (These results were concurrent with polls that show majorities of Americans support raising taxes on high earners.) If we’re truly listening to the American public, and not simply cherry-picking from off-year election results, the question becomes how to strengthen the social safety net and not, as Cowan and Kessler advise, how to deal with the programs’ “undebatable solvency crisis.”


And Joan Walsh, editor-at-large for Salon (though she acknowledgeed she was “very late to the Third Way-trashing party”), said the real story isn’t the tired antics of the “corporate centrists”—which have become painfully familiar—but the “sustained feistiness among progressives” that is becoming increasingly evident.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Agitated by ‘Pathetic Centrists,’ Progressive Populists Strike Back
%d bloggers like this: