Whether you agree or disagree with “far left” progressives—those like Jane Hamsher and Howard Dean who believe the health care reform bills coming out of the House and Senate are no good and need to be killed—the very fact that there is a “far left” is a good thing for progressives on both sides of the divide. At least, that’s Cenk Uygur’s view.
We need them, says Uygur, because without them the moderate, compromise seeking Obama would represent “the left.” And that’s just silly. We need them, in other words, to shift the spectrum and raise the level of debate. God knows the Republicans aren’t up to the job.
Can Jane Hamsher or Howard Dean be wrong on the substance of policy issues? Of course!!! I don’t think they often are, but recently there have been many progressives who have thought so. These were reasonable disagreements and everyone was within their full right to think Dean or Hamsher might not have gotten the balance right on any particular issue.
So, why can’t they be wrong?
Because even if you disagree with them, they’re doing you a huge favor. If you’re a strong progressive and you think Howard Dean has gone out too far left on health care reform or Jane Hamsher has attacked President Obama too hard from the left — then, fantastic, you are now officially a moderate!
And more importantly, so is Obama.
Why is this so important? I’m not sure you particularly want to be moderate, and I’m certainly not sure you are one. But that’s not the point. The point is that the mainstream media loves people who they can call “moderates.” If Joe Lieberman is somewhere between Obama and Cheney, no matter how far to the right he is, he gets to be called a moderate. Why? Because there’s someone to the right of him.
Now, you have someone to the left of you. Congratulations, you made it! You’re now part of the cool crowd in DC, the only people that the establishment media care about or give any credence to — moderates.
I get thrown into the Hamsher category because I believe in attacking hard from the left. Some have started to call this the Uygur Doctrine, which, of course, I love. The reality is I’m a political moderate who until about a month ago believed we should stay longer in Afghanistan and that single payer was not the way to go. But it’s not my positions that matter as much as my attitude. We have to, have to, have to attack Obama from the left. If we don’t, he is seen as the far left and the whole spectrum shifts even further right than it already is.