Bush Propagandist Repeats Meme that Democrats Are 'Too Far' to the Left

As Digby reminds us in her recent Salon.com piece, it's become a meme of corporate media that, although it's now widely acknowledged that the political right has moved farther in that direction in recent years, the left — already far out on the fringe — has moved equally leftward. This despite analyses by Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, among others, that suggest "Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem".

On May 27, 2015, GOP propagandist, Bush speechwriter and Karl Rover protege Peter Wehner argued in an NY Time op-ed piece that under Barack Obama the Democratic Party has moved sharply to the left, compared to the Clinton administration. Predictably, given his previous employment in the so-called Office of Strategic Initiatives, Wehner reaches his conclusions by playing with numbers, cherry-picking statistics, or simply false statements. In a piece titled NYT Scrapes the Bottom to Argue ‘Democrats Pulled Too Far Left’ FAIR.org's Jim Naureckas debunks Wehner's thesis point by point.

“Mr. Clinton lowered the capital-gains tax rate; Mr. Obama has proposed raising it,” Wehner says. Clinton lowered the rate capital gains were taxed at to 20 percent; under Obama it went up—to 20 percent.

“Mr. Clinton cut spending and produced a surplus,” writes Wehner. “Under Mr. Obama, spending and the deficit reached record levels.” From 1993 through 2000, Clinton reduced the US budget imbalance as a proportion of US GDP by 6 percentage points; from 2009 through 2014, Obama reduced it by 7 percentage points.

Naureckas concludes: "An honest appraisal of the administrations of both Clinton and Obama, with their emphasis on deficit-cutting and corporate-friendly trade deals, reveals both Democrats to be establishment centrists—and centrist politics, contrary to what the punditocracy would have you believe, do not have a particularly winning record at the ballot box."