I've noticed lots of people complaining about the democratic party being "center-right" lately. No longer the liberal party, and all that. Sometimes they'll say liberals aren't real progressives anymore, or some other variation of political label absolutism.
The problem is, I try to think 10 years back, 20 years back, and it looks to me like the left was never more left than it is now. Obama being the easiest example. He does seem awfully moderate, and yet, is he really to the right of where Clinton was, 15 years ago?
Economically, I guess, kinda. Maybe.. but I think even that has more to do with how far right the economy has moved, thanks to his predecessors and the greedy obstructionist party preventing anything from being done about it. And in every other way? I'd say definitely not.
I know, this isn't how it feels, though. We look to our legislators, and they do seem largely to the right of your average liberal. So if it's not that legislators are more right than they used to be, what's changed? I think on both sides, we're seeing a lot of them simply lagging behind the American public.
I've noticed that new ideas take a while to reach the media, the pundits and wonks, then to the legislators and the low information majority. Every major issue that's finally being addressed legislatively started out a few years earlier by 'real' liberals, tossed from forum to Facebook pages, from long-winded blogs to catchy photo captions.
This is naturally frustrating. Maybe it's because they're less plugged in, maybe too busy being filthy rich, or just fundraising to stay in office. I don't know, but I don't think the democratic party is really more conservative, exactly. They're still pointed in the right direction. It's just that they've been falling way behind. They start looking almost conservative, in their inability to keep up.
So I don't think it's as bad as it seems. They do come shuffling along, eventually... but maybe too many of them are just too damn old.