Why Washington is More Right-Wing Than the Rest of the Country

We recently had John Avlon on the program and he is a devout "centrist." That used to mean that you were somewhere on the political spectrum between the left and the right. It now means that you set up false equivalencies between the left and the right and call everything even no matter what.

I'm an actual centrist. I used to be a liberal Republican from the North East. Of course, no such thing exists anymore. I'm against affirmative action. I'm a deficit hawk (except I believe we should balance the budget by not just cutting "entitlements" but also by cutting the Pentagon and raising taxes). I was for the Persian Gulf War but against the Iraq War. I am against Bush or Obama violating civil liberties or abusing executive authority.

So, in the country I'm right in the middle of the political spectrum. There is hardly a national poll that doesn't agree with my political position. Hence, I am now considered a raging liberal in Washington. Apparently, I am so far left now that Obama is significantly to the right of me.

How does that make sense? It doesn't, in any place outside of DC. But what's maddening is that no one acknowledges two things: 1. How far to the right of the country Washington is. 2. How far the political spectrum has moved to the right.

Why is Washington more right-wing than the rest of the nation? Because that's where power and the establishment reside. Power is by nature conservative -- it wants to protect its current privileged position. That's not nefarious, it's natural. But not acknowledging that is silly. The establishment loves the status quo, because that's what got them their current position. Why would they want to change that?

And how can anyone consider themselves a political analyst and not see how far to the right we have moved as a country? Eisenhower warned us of the military industrial complex. If he had said that now, people would say he's weak on national security and doesn't support the troops. And he was a Republican. Truman ran on single payer healthcare -- Obama wouldn't even consider that. Nixon started the Environmental Protection Agency. Reagan sold arms to terrorists, negotiated with the evil empire, raised taxes eleven times, ran from Lebanon. Are you absolutely sure that Obama is to the left of Reagan?

Watch this debate with John Avlon, the author of Wingnuts, How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, and see if you really think there is such a thing as the hard left in this country and whether they are anywhere near as extreme as the hard right:

One other thing that we touched on in this conversation was the idea of corporatism. Being against corporatists doesn't mean you're anti-business. There is this absurd myth that liberals are anti-business. What does that mean? Liberals don't want there to be any more businesses? Does anyone really believe that? Liberals, centrists and conservatives have no problem with business as long as they are not taking our taxpayer money!

Do conservatives want trillions of taxpayer money going to Wall Street banks? My understanding was that they hated the bailouts. Do conservatives want taxpayers rather than BP to pay for the clean up of the oil spill in the Gulf? Well, I hope not.

Maybe some of the conservative leaders who take money from oil companies want that to happen -- but that's the whole point. The politicians aren't working for us anymore, liberals or conservatives. They are not driven by ideology. They're driven by whoever pays them, which is the lobbyists. Seventy percent of campaign contributions come from corporations. Now who do you think the politicians are going to work for?

Being against corporate control of our democracy shouldn't be a liberal position. It should be a universal position. It's not that multi-national corporations are evil, it's just that they're amoral. They are unconcerned with American taxpayers or citizens; they are concerned only with profits. That is what they have to be by law. It's absurd to argue otherwise.

Yet, the conventional wisdom in DC is that people who are worried about corporatist influence on American politics are far left crazies. They're not crazy, they're awake. And they're not even liberals, they're every American who is sick of their politicians being bought by the highest bidder. That's all of us, except the "centrists" in DC.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
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Why Washington is More Right-Wing Than the Rest of the Country

We recently had John Avlon on the program and he is a devout "centrist." That used to mean that you were somewhere on the political spectrum between the left and the right. It now means that you set up false equivalencies between the left and the right and call everything even no matter what.

I'm an actual centrist. I used to be a liberal Republican from the North East. Of course, no such thing exists anymore. I'm against affirmative action. I'm a deficit hawk (except I believe we should balance the budget by not just cutting "entitlements" but also by cutting the Pentagon and raising taxes). I was for the Persian Gulf War but against the Iraq War. I am against Bush or Obama violating civil liberties or abusing executive authority.

So, in the country I'm right in the middle of the political spectrum. There is hardly a national poll that doesn't agree with my political position. Hence, I am now considered a raging liberal in Washington. Apparently, I am so far left now that Obama is significantly to the right of me.

How does that make sense? It doesn't, in any place outside of DC. But what's maddening is that no one acknowledges two things: 1. How far to the right of the country Washington is. 2. How far the political spectrum has moved to the right.

Why is Washington more right-wing than the rest of the nation? Because that's where power and the establishment reside. Power is by nature conservative -- it wants to protect its current privileged position. That's not nefarious, it's natural. But not acknowledging that is silly. The establishment loves the status quo, because that's what got them their current position. Why would they want to change that?

And how can anyone consider themselves a political analyst and not see how far to the right we have moved as a country? Eisenhower warned us of the military industrial complex. If he had said that now, people would say he's weak on national security and doesn't support the troops. And he was a Republican. Truman ran on single payer healthcare -- Obama wouldn't even consider that. Nixon started the Environmental Protection Agency. Reagan sold arms to terrorists, negotiated with the evil empire, raised taxes eleven times, ran from Lebanon. Are you absolutely sure that Obama is to the left of Reagan?

Watch this debate with John Avlon, the author of Wingnuts, How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, and see if you really think there is such a thing as the hard left in this country and whether they are anywhere near as extreme as the hard right:

One other thing that we touched on in this conversation was the idea of corporatism. Being against corporatists doesn't mean you're anti-business. There is this absurd myth that liberals are anti-business. What does that mean? Liberals don't want there to be any more businesses? Does anyone really believe that? Liberals, centrists and conservatives have no problem with business as long as they are not taking our taxpayer money!

Do conservatives want trillions of taxpayer money going to Wall Street banks? My understanding was that they hated the bailouts. Do conservatives want taxpayers rather than BP to pay for the clean up of the oil spill in the Gulf? Well, I hope not.

Maybe some of the conservative leaders who take money from oil companies want that to happen -- but that's the whole point. The politicians aren't working for us anymore, liberals or conservatives. They are not driven by ideology. They're driven by whoever pays them, which is the lobbyists. Seventy percent of campaign contributions come from corporations. Now who do you think the politicians are going to work for?

Being against corporate control of our democracy shouldn't be a liberal position. It should be a universal position. It's not that multi-national corporations are evil, it's just that they're amoral. They are unconcerned with American taxpayers or citizens; they are concerned only with profits. That is what they have to be by law. It's absurd to argue otherwise.

Yet, the conventional wisdom in DC is that people who are worried about corporatist influence on American politics are far left crazies. They're not crazy, they're awake. And they're not even liberals, they're every American who is sick of their politicians being bought by the highest bidder. That's all of us, except the "centrists" in DC.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
Follow The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

Charlie Rangel Gets a Primary Opponent

New York Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, whose father was the previous incumbent, announced today that he will challenge embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel in the Democratic primary this Fall. Congressman Rangel, the former Chair of the powerful House Ways & Mean Committee, represents the New York Fifteenth Congressional District that includes Harlem.

More from the New York Times:

Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV announced on Monday that he would challenge Representative Charles B. Rangel in this fall’s Democratic primary, setting the stage for a deeply personal battle between two of Harlem’s biggest political names and oldest foes.

Mr. Powell’s entry into the race suggests that Mr. Rangel’s political troubles are reshaping the campaign for his seat, which was once considered untouchable. So far, he faces two declared opponents, and a growing list of would-be candidates who are exploring the race.

Mr. Powell, 47, acknowledged that the ethics probes swirling around Mr. Rangel, including an investigation into corporate-sponsored trips he went on, and the congressman’s decision to give up the chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, had emboldened him to run.

“The fact that he is no longer chairman is significant,” Mr. Powell said. “If he were still chairman, I might not be running.”

Mr. Powell on Monday speculated that Mr. Rangel would seek re-election and then resign, in order to control the appointment of his successor, a situation that aides to Mr. Rangel immediately dismissed.

Mr. Powell, whose father lost his congressional seat to a young Mr. Rangel three decades ago, tried unsuccessfully to oust Mr. Rangel from the seat in 1994, losing by a wide margin.

Mr. Powell said he has raised about $65,000 for his campaign, far less than the roughly $500,000 Mr. Rangel has. But Mr. Rangel’s legal bills have eaten into his campaign budget, and show no signs of abetting.

During a press conference on Monday in Harlem, Mr. Powell said that avenging his father’s defeat is something “I have gotten out my system” and that he was running against Mr. Rangel this time because it was “time to turn the page” on his tenure in Congress.

Yesterday, the New York Daily News caught up with Congressman Rangel and asked him about the speculation that he may face a primary challenge. Here is that interview:

Ron Paul: "Obama is a Corporatist"

Unfortunately, I find it hard to disagree. Congressman Paul is correct in his assessment. The question I have, however, is whether Barack Obama is a corporatist by conviction or one of electoral necessity.

The story in Talking Points Memo:

Near the end of the third day of this year's Southern Republican Leadership Conference, it was time for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to take the stage. Paul, fresh off his victory in the CPAC straw poll, gave a characteristically fired-up speech that took on the views of the Republican party establishment.

"The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist," Paul said. "I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical sense, in the economic definition of a what a socialist is, no, he's not a socialist." "He's a corporatist," Paul continued. "And unfortunately we have corporatists inside the Republican party and that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country."

Paul said examples of President Obama's "corporatism" were evident in the heath care reform bill he signed into law last month. He said the mandate in the bill put the power over health care in the hands of corporations rather than private citizens. But he said the bill wasn't the only place where corporatism is creeping into Washington.

"We see it in the financial institutions, we see it in the military-industrial complex," he said. "And now we see it in the medical-industrial complex."

In terms of the cure, I tend to doubt that I'll find much concurrence with the libertarian Ron Paul but in terms of the diagnosis, I'm hard press to disagree. We have become a country of corporations, for corporations and by corporations. Until we tackle the issue of corporate personhood, our democracy is very much in jeopardy and it's evermore the pity that the Democratic party is too often so beholden to corporatist interests.

To learn more about corporate personhood and the dangers that it poses to American democracy, please visit Reclaim Democracy.

Ron Paul: "Obama is a Corporatist"

Unfortunately, I find it hard to disagree. Congressman Paul is correct in his assessment. The question I have, however, is whether Barack Obama is a corporatist by conviction or one of electoral necessity.

The story in Talking Points Memo:

Near the end of the third day of this year's Southern Republican Leadership Conference, it was time for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to take the stage. Paul, fresh off his victory in the CPAC straw poll, gave a characteristically fired-up speech that took on the views of the Republican party establishment.

"The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist," Paul said. "I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical sense, in the economic definition of a what a socialist is, no, he's not a socialist." "He's a corporatist," Paul continued. "And unfortunately we have corporatists inside the Republican party and that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country."

Paul said examples of President Obama's "corporatism" were evident in the heath care reform bill he signed into law last month. He said the mandate in the bill put the power over health care in the hands of corporations rather than private citizens. But he said the bill wasn't the only place where corporatism is creeping into Washington.

"We see it in the financial institutions, we see it in the military-industrial complex," he said. "And now we see it in the medical-industrial complex."

In terms of the cure, I tend to doubt that I'll find much concurrence with the libertarian Ron Paul but in terms of the diagnosis, I'm hard press to disagree. We have become a country of corporations, for corporations and by corporations. Until we tackle the issue of corporate personhood, our democracy is very much in jeopardy and it's evermore the pity that the Democratic party is too often so beholden to corporatist interests.

To learn more about corporate personhood and the dangers that it poses to American democracy, please visit Reclaim Democracy.

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