George Graham

Beware of “Centrist” Democrats

Congress Meets As Government Shutdown Looms


It’s not just Republican skulduggery that depresses me although that’s enough to make anyone feel depressed. The so-called centrists in the Democratic Party are almost as bad.

Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp (above) for example.

Why are these senators allowed to call themselves Democrats? They obviously do not agree with the party platform.

The two “moderates” made news today by joining centrist Democratic group Third Way as honorary co-chairs.

Yes, there is a third way – somewhere between the reactionaries on the right and the progressives on the left. And a lot of Americans seem to think that’s the way to go. They like to think of themselves as reasonable, mature people who don’t get carried away. They keep calling for “compromise.”

They’re wrong of course.

There is no middle ground between what’s right and what’s wrong.

Politico’s Burgess Everett observed that:

Manchin of West Virginia and Heitkamp of North Dakota are two of the most conservative Democrats in the caucus. They recently voted with Republicans to advance a human trafficking bill that included abortion language rejected by 42 of their colleagues.

The abortion “language” would undermine the Constitutional right of American women to control their own reproductive destiny. Does that sound like something a real Democrat would do?

Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp are not alone. The Politico article also notes that:

Manchin and Heitkamp join Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Chris Coons of Delaware, Tom Carper of Delaware and Claire McCaskill of Missouri as honorary Senate co-chairs at Third Way.

These “moderate” Democrats do not represent your interests or mine. They front for powerful financial interests, just like the Republicans they pretend to oppose.

Naturally, they have been President Obama’s greatest handicap.

The Blue Dogs, as some of them are called, sabotaged health care reform, making a single-payer system like Canada’s impossible to legislate.

They made the convoluted Affordable Care Act the only possible way to go.

Of course, the act has been a vast improvement, providing affordable health insurance for millions of Americans. But it has been beset by vulnerabilities and implementation problems that would not have existed in a simpler single-payer law.

Democrats should weed the “centrists” out in the primaries. As long as they are allowed to remain in the party, its mission will be compromised.

Click for the Politico story.

Click for a flashback to the Obamacare fight.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for