It should be noted that Jon Meacham’s Newsweek cover story–dissected here–is matched in the magazine by a “Counterpoint” from columnist Jonathan Alter. It’s instructive to see the arguments side by side; Meacham argues for a center-right America (more right than center, it would seem), while Alter argues that, “since about 1980, we’ve been living in a center-right America, but we’re center-center now, and likely headed left.” Alter adds:
If Obama moves “smart left” next year, he will have succeeded in rewriting the American social contract–the obligations of the government to the people on the economy, energy, health care and education. But if we see a revival of the dumb left with old-fashioned capitulation to interest groups and a series of rookie mistakes on foreign policy, even a big Democratic victory next month would be a speed bump on the Ronald Reagan highway.
That’s pretty typical corporate media liberalism–a Democrat should try not to be too much of a, well, liberal Democrat. Hence the advice to defy the party base, the standard press formula for Democratic success (the fact that it doesn’t necessarily work with the public is another matter). That’s the left side of the debate, for Newsweek.
Alter throws in one more thought that is… well, “no comment necessary” is the only way to describe it:
Most voters are neither Limbaugh dittoheads nor ACORN activists. They’re pragmatic centrists who decided they liked Obama when he reminded them more of Will Smith than Jesse Jackson.