Mike Tomasky makes the point that the ideologal terms which are being employed to measure the real estate between "liberal" and "centrist" Democrats this election cycle are essentially meaningless. Heath Schuler may have serious homophobia issues, but he didn't get elected because of them — when voters listed their priorities in exit polls this year, "kill the queers" didn't even chart.
And it's not likely to. With Democrats controlling the majority in the House and Senate, it's unlikely that divisive social issues are going to make to the floor. The handy tool that Republicans used to tear apart the Democratic caucus and whip up their own base is gone, and with the country wanting to focus on corruption, war and economic issues, there's small chance anyone is going to put it back in their hands.
So while much ink and hot air has been devoted by Democrats to demonizing the fearsome liberals who need to be chained to the porch lest they run around in the country's flower beds and piss on all the lovely new begonias, I would ask for a definition of what it is, exactly, that vociferous liberal-bashers Schumer, Reid, Emanuel and Tauscher are afraid of when they repeat this core Republican talking point. I know what the wingnuts mean — they fear that Teddy Kennedy is going to raise their taxes so swarthy, shiftless illegals can have free abortions and use the rest to smoke crack, but I have to say I've missed that press release coming out of Kennedy's office. Maybe some of the above would be willing to let us know WTF it is that they're talking about?
No, the things the Democrats seem to be focusing on right now — raising the minimum wage, empowering the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical robber barons, holding hearings into corporate war profiteering, finding a way to get out of Iraq, the things people are hungry for — are, as far as I can tell, respective of values coming out of the philosophically "liberal" wing of the party. If there's been an announcement calling for more draconian bankrupcy laws, lower corporate taxes, business friendly relaxation of environmental standards or any of the other issues that the so-called "centrist" blue dogs use to define themselves, it must be sitting atop Teddy Kennedy's "More Pork for Welfare Queens" manifesto, because I haven't seen that, either.