Media advise Dems to move to the right once more

With the Democrats suffering substantial losses in the 2014 midterm elections, it is likely that the advice from pundits and political journalists will be the same as it always is: Move to the right.

This has been the counsel almost any time that Democrats lose at the polls (Extra!, 9/92, 1/95, 1/11), rooted in the assumption that when the party veers too far leftward, the public reacts.

The advice is already coming in; USA Today (11/4/14), for instance, used an interview with a former adviser to Ronald Reagan to recommend that Barack Obama deliver a “mea culpa” speech along the lines of Reagan’s 1987 Iran/Contra address. There’s still time, the paper notes, for Obama to “score progress on big issues” if he “launches a concerted effort to build bridges with congressional Republicans.”

More outreach to the GOP is in order, say the pundits–but it’s more than that. The news site Business Insider (11/5/14) quoted a “Democratic insider” as saying that “the president has 60 days to clean house, regrow his spine, and lay out an aggressive, centrist agenda. If he fails at any of those, he might as well just start writing his memoir.”

Where to find a model for this kind of “aggressive, centrist agenda”? Many accounts are offering the Clinton years as a recipe for success. As theNew York Times (11/5/14) reported:

The Obama years have in effect represented a political trade-off: Democrats largely abandoned the more centrist, line-blurring approach of Bill Clinton to motivate an ascendant bloc of liberal voters. That strategy twice secured the presidency, but in the two midterm races it meant sacrificing the culturally conservative districts and states that had ensured Democratic congressional majorities.

Read more