Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot recalled in his latest piece the era of 1990s when Democrats were willing to compromise on everything. To some extent, after the Republicans took over the House in 2010, President Barack Obama was forced to compromise with Republicans or risk nothing making its way through the legislature.
“Many Democrats were unhappy with this ‘triangulation,’ but they gritted their teeth because Clinton also attempted to expand health-care coverage and keep abortion legal — and he was better than the Republicans,” Boot wrote.
The era of “playing nice,” however, seems to have come to an end.
“You can argue that in 2016, Democrats paid a heavy price for years of compromises,” Boot said, noting Hillary Clinton was already damaged.
“Now, for better or worse, Democrats are in an uncompromising mood, both on ideology and ethics,” he continued.
As the Republicans have turned further right and expunged most moderates from their party, Democrats are now struggling with those members that have taken over more moderate suburban areas.
“Along with intolerance of centrist policies has come intolerance of personal misconduct by politicians,” Boot wrote, citing Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) being told to resign after accusations of sexual harassment.
Now Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) is struggling with a racism scandal. What Northam lacked in crisis communications, he made up for in excuses about what really happened.
“It didn’t matter,” Boot noted. “Virtually the entire Democratic Party establishment, both nationally and in Virginia, had already called on him to resign.”
“It’s true that Democrats’ speed in ejecting errant officeholders risks miscarriages of justice — something that some Democrats think may have happened with Franken, who was forced out before the Ethics Committee could complete its investigation,” Boot wrote. “But, on balance, Democrats’ willingness to hold their politicians to a high standard is a welcome change from the hypocrisy of the Clinton era — and compares favorably with the GOP’s support for the likes of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and President Trump despite evidence of their racism (and, in Trump’s case, numerous other ethical lapses including #MeToo issues).”
He called the progressive purity more problematic because any left pivot to risk alienating the districts newly won by Democrats in 2018.
“Their left turn risks alienating the independents and moderates whose support they need to defeat Trump — and to govern effectively. The United States already has one extremist party; it doesn’t need another,” Boot closed.