CommunityPam's House Blend

“It’s hard to be a centrist in the House,” said Sen. Thomas “Boohoo, I’m in the Center” Carper (D-MD).

WTF? Here we go again, Dems hand-wringing about “recapturing the center.” I guess it’s all about winning, not principles. This Third Way group smells like the in-bred cousin of the DLC.

Third Way is the latest in a series of organizations aimed at rescuing Democrats from the perception that they have lost touch with middle-class voters, particularly in the heartland states that voted overwhelmingly for President Bush over Sen. John F. Kerry.

The group, which has enlisted the support of several senators from Bush-backing “red states,” hopes to rebut the notion that Democrats represent an outdated brand of liberalism by producing new policy proposals designed to create a “moderate majority,” said Matt Bennett, Third Way’s communications director.

…Third Way is the idea of three political entrepreneurs who in recent years have fashioned a career out of trying to make Democrats more competitive on issues that have been historical vulnerabilities. The founders — President Jonathan Cowan, Policy Director Jim Kessler and Bennett — are all veterans of Americans for Gun Safety, which sought to craft centrist gun-control proposals while emphasizing support for some gun-owners rights. While in his twenties, Cowan, now 39, was a founder of “Lead . . . or Leave,” which advocated generational fairness and reform of entitlement programs.

Among Third Way’s programs will be a “New South” project, aimed at crafting policies and political strategies for cultural and values issues that have played against Democrats in that region in recent decades. The project will be led by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a vice chairman.

Third Way will also conduct a national security retreat and craft policy initiatives on health care, taxes, tort reform and Social Security reform — all identified by Bush as key items on his second-term agenda.

The group plans polling to help Democrats find more effective political language to advertise their policies, similar to the way Republicans embraced the phrase “death tax” to describe the estate tax.

Let’s see how long before they take Big Bill’s advice to Kerry and toss gay rights overboard.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding