Gahan’s NAHA putsch: “I am a progressive Democrat fighting against a plan supported by a local Democratic administration.”


Local activist Aaron Fairbanks states the case with uncommon eloquence. Next spring, the purported “cleanliness” of local Democratic campaign financing quite likely will be a central campaign issue when Jeff Gahan seeks a third term.

If he does. Maybe he’ll cash out. After all, that’s why he’s here — and the ever-accumulating cash is abundant.

As an advocate for public housing residents in New Albany, I have found that activism can be quite unrewarding stuff. While I continue to feel that I am standing up for what’s right, the people I care about and I’ve grown to respect are often on the opposite side of this issue. This has been extremely difficult for me in a way that I find hard to explain in words. I am a progressive Democrat fighting against a plan supported by a local Democratic administration. In general, I am sympathetic to the platforms of most of the Democratic candidates running campaigns in the area. For the most part, they run cleanly financed campaigns and run on platforms consistent with my own philosophy and values. There’s simply no equivalency that can be drawn between them and their opponents.

On the flip side, I’m disgusted that Democratic candidates that run cleanly financed campaigns and support platforms that are consistent with progressive and Democratic values find it taboo to call out Democrats who deviate from this path. I’m sick to my stomach at the thought that the party that once stood for “the realization as soon as feasible of the goal of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family” cannot call out an attack on affordable housing within their own ranks. I literally have a hard time looking most of these people in the eyes anymore, and I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it.

And by the way, centrism is bunk — whether you resisting Gahan or Donald Trump.

The Third Way Is a Death Trap, by John Patrick Leary (Jacobin)

Centrists look at a burning planet, a racist in the White House — and plead for moderation.

Is centrism dead? Or is it sexy?

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortéz’s congressional primary victory in New York and the rise of other democratic socialist candidates has scrambled the political landscape. Demands that just a couple years ago seemed unthinkable in mainstream US politics — Medicare for All, a universal jobs guarantee, free college — are now the centerpiece of viable political campaigns.

But the centrists aren’t giving up. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni rushed to moderation’s defense a few weeks back, pronouncing it “sexier than you think.” Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman followed up a column in March touting the win of a centrist Democrat in Illinois with a column last month pillorying Ocasio-Cortéz

The centrist think tank Third Way is still all in with a “Social Contract for the Digital Age,” released earlier this year. Its headlining measures: an “Innovation Trust Fund,” a “Boomer Corps,” and something called a “College Value Guarantee.”

Its supporters concede that these are dull ideas — but for American centrism, so proud of its pragmatism, dullness has become a mark of virtue. Moderation is as much emotional as it is political; never shouting is a test of statesmanship.

But with Donald Trump in the White House and the planet burning, just how pragmatic is centrism?