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Thursday, February 13, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The mainstream media would have us believe that the Democrats’ presidential field is divided between “progressives” (a euphemism for ultraliberals) — Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — and what they call the “more moderate” candidates — former Vice President Joe Biden; former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

It’s journalistic sleight of hand that they hope no one notices. Adding the adjective “more” and calling them “more moderate” (i.e., more moderate than Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders) is a backhanded admission that Messrs. Biden and Buttigieg and Ms. Klobuchar aren’t moderates at all. They, too, are far left, albeit not as in-your-face about it as Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren.


For all of the mainstream media’s handwringing about the disappearance of moderates among Republicans — lamenting, for example, how only Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah voted for presidential-impeachment witnesses, and how only Mr. Romney voted to convict — there’s been little comparable media angst about the glaring lack of moderates among Democrats generally, much less among the party’s 2020 presidential hopefuls.

Simply put, there are no genuine moderates among the Democrats on the ballot. That was made abundantly clear as far back as last June at their first debates, when there were still so many candidates running that it took two nights for all of them to participate.

The 10 participants in the June 27 debate were asked, “Raise your hand if your government [health insurance] plan would provide coverage for undocumented immigrants.” All 10, including Messrs. Biden and Buttigieg, raised their hands, as did Mr. Sanders. (Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Warren weren’t on the stage that night.)

Apparently watching, President Trump tweeted: “All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited health care. That’s the end of that race!”

On the previous night’s debate, both Ms. Warren and Ms. Klobuchar concurred with Julian Castro when he called for illegal immigration to be decriminalized and reduced to — as GQ magazine put it — “a civil offense, the same way people break the law when they drive over the speed limit.”

Fast-forward seven months to Jan. 25 and to the issue of transgender rights. “Let’s be clear,” Mr. Biden tweeted. “Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights.” (Forgive us for thinking the real “civil rights issue of our time” was school choice for the millions of minority children locked in failing inner-city public schools.)

How is Mr. Biden’s position “more moderate” than that of Ms. Warren, who vowed Jan. 30 to have a transgender youth help select her nominee for education secretary? (Her promise was so preposterous that even comedian Bill Maher, a card-carrying liberal himself, called it “crazy stuff” and asked, only half in jest, “Is she running for president of Berkeley?”)

Just four days earlier, Mr. Buttigieg confirmed what everyone has long known: The Democratic Party has no room in its so-called “big tent” for (genuinely) “more moderate” Democrats; specifically, pro-lifers. At a town-hall event in Iowa on Jan. 26, a pro-life Democratic woman asked whether he would back efforts to soften the party’s hard-line support of abortion rights, including for public funding of the procedure and for partial-birth abortion. The bottom line to his convoluted answer: “No.”

He doubled down on that less-than-“more moderate” stance on abortion on Feb. 6 in an appearance on ABC’s “The View.” Asked to disavow support for late-term abortion, Mr. Buttigieg refused to do so, prompting co-host Meghan McCain to call his position “radical.” His equally radical “Medicare for All who want it” plan would drive private insurance companies out of business — just not as quickly as the Sanders and Warren plans.

As for Ms. Klobuchar, a “Campaign 2020” supplement in The Washington Post on Jan. 31 summarizing the remaining Democratic candidates’ positions on the issues noted the Minnesotan is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution and favors rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. She supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and the federal corporate income-tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. She backs universal pre-K free to low-income families, tuition-free community college, and lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 50.

As all of this should make clear, the mainstream media’s adjectival hairsplitting over who’s “progressive” or “more moderate” among the Democratic presidential candidates is, for all practical purposes, a distinction without much of a difference.


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