This is so insane, I must go off a little. You don't have to indulge. This is for me.
This is some crazy ass bullshit. Sure it is his "opinion", but it is so bat-shit crazy, you (I'm looking at New York Times) might think twice about printing it.
[SM: Well "self-flattering" is pretty negative and used here to set a tone. In fact, many liberals have become saddened by the fact that we think Republicans have become too extreme to support. ALSO, notice how he comparing Republicans and Liberals - not Republicans and Democrats).
This is not to say the Republican Party hasn’t become a more conservative party. It has. But in the last two decades the Democratic Party has moved substantially further to the left than the Republican Party has shifted to the right. On most major issues the Republican Party hasn’t moved very much from where it was during the Gingrich era in the mid-1990s.
To see just how far the Democratic Party has moved to the left, compare Barack Obama with Bill Clinton. In 1992, Mr. Clinton ran as a centrist New Democrat. In several respects he governed as one as well. He endorsed a sentencing policy of “three strikes and you’re out,” and he proposed adding 100,000 police officers to the streets. [SM: Americans, Republican and Democrats, have pulled back from blanket 3 strikes ideas. This was not a change in policy but a response to new evidence (as much of the following will prove to be). As for adding Police, Obama agreed to that as well and has added money for body cameras.]
In contrast, President Obama’s former attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., criticized what he called “widespread incarceration” and championed the first decrease in the federal prison population in more than three decades. Mr. Obama, meanwhile, has chosen to focus on police abuses.
One of the crowning legislative achievements under Mr. Clinton was welfare reform. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, loosened welfare-to-work requirements. [SM: President Obama has allowed states, usually Republican, to fiddle with how the law is implemented. This is a state's rights issue that the Republicans have been championing - how a liberal repeal of welfare - to - work]. Mr. Obama is more liberal than Mr. Clinton was on gay rights, religious liberties, abortion rights, drug legalization and climate change. [SM: Wow, a lot to unpack. Re: Gay Rights - everyone is more liberal. The first state that legislated gay marriage was a bipartisan Republican / Democratic state. Religious Liberties - It would be great to see where President Obama has been more "liberal" on this. Abortion Rights - President Obama hasn't done anything here (much to liberals chagrin). Drug Legalization - He is tentatively allowing states to set policy here - which is a states right (and un-liberal) thing). Climate Change is not a liberal / conservative item at all. To send this into this debate is to say he is more liberal on the sun coming up in the morning. It is an asinine statement.] He has focused far more attention on income inequality than did Mr. Clinton, who stressed opportunity and mobility. [SM: This is response to the changes to income equality ushered in by Bush the Younger. While incomes grew less un-equal under President Clinton, they grew massively more unequal under George Bush. This was not a change, but a response.] While Mr. Clinton ended one entitlement program (Aid to Families With Dependent Children), Mr. Obama is responsible for creating the Affordable Care Act, the largest new entitlement since the Great Society. [SM: "Largest new entitlement" is an inflationary idea. Before that it was... let me think... Bush the Younger and the Medical Drug support additions he added. Also, President Clinton evolved the Aid to Families with Dependent Children with the help of Congress who worked with him. This Congress specifically said they would not. Finally - you idiot - you are often discussing intents not actions (because it wouldn't help your points). Bill Clinton specifically intended to implement Universal Health Care, he just didn't have the votes. He is the first president to essentially nationalize health care. [SM: "Essentially" - used to emphasize the basic, fundamental, or intrinsic nature of a person, thing, or situation. This comment is, essentially, bullshit. Health Care was NOY nationalized - I wish it was. It was, instead, outsource to private companies along the plans developed by the Heritage Foundation (a conservative think tank).
Mr. Clinton lowered the capital-gains tax rate; Mr. Obama has proposed raising it. [SM: First actions versus proposals. Second, President Obama proposed "raising" it not from President Clinton's rates, but from the rates subsequently cut by Bush the Younger - to rates back towards (but not quite as high) as President Clintons rates. So calling Obama more left that Clinton here is just a lie.] Mr. Clinton cut spending and produced a surplus. Under Mr. Obama, spending and the deficit reached record levels. [Mr. Clinton raised taxes to combat the mess left for him from previous administrations. THEN he cut spending because the country was prospering. President Obama was left with cratering economy, Bush had squandered the surplus and the economy crashed. If our writer was honest here (which he is not) we could all acknowledge that when you leave you successor with a crap economy, you will spend more in the safety net. The deficit did reach record levels, and has since fallen. A nice little table here shows how full of shit this writer is:
In foreign policy, Mr. Obama has shown himself to be far more critical of traditional allies and more supine toward our adversaries than Mr. Clinton was. [SM: Does anyone remember what Republicans were saying at the time. If not, google "Wag the Dog".] Mr. Obama has often acted as if American strength is a problem to which the solution is retrenchment, or even retreat. [SM: First, when. Second, how does this prove that liberals have drifted further left - that was, if you remember, the original intent of this argument.]
Another bellwether: Hillary Rodham Clinton, in positioning herself for the 2016 election, is decidedly more liberal than she and her husband once were on illegal immigration, gay marriage and incarceration. [SM: Ah, here we have a change of target, because Obama here is not easy. The President has deported more people than any previous President, so we turn to Mrs. Clinton who is running for President. I refer to gay marriage and incarceration above. Everyone is more liberal on these now, Republicans and Democrats.] She has called to “end the era of mass incarceration” and spoken about the importance of “toppling” the wealthiest 1 percent. She has remained noncommittal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free-trade agreement that has drawn ire from the left. [SM: Drawn ire from the left and right. The TPP has drawn fire from the left and right. link]
The Democratic Party, then, has moved steadily to the left since the Clinton presidency. In fact, since his re-election, Mr. Obama’s inner progressive has been liberated. (An exception is the administration’s conditional approval of oil drilling off the Alaskan coast, starting this summer.) Other examples are his executive action granting temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants,[SM: This actually follows the example of states like Texas under Gov. Rick Perry (R) and New Jersey under Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Utah under the Republicans since forever. It allows children brought here before they had a choice, who attend school and have no criminal record to stay in the county. They actually were not "illegal immigrants", but children who were brought here illegally. They didn't do it.] his claim that gay marriage is a constitutional right [SM: Gez, agains with the Gays. The lawyers for that actually were Republican including the man that argued for Bush versus Gore in the Supreme Court - not some ninny liberal.], and his veto of legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Democratic Party is now a pre-Bill Clinton party, the result of Mr. Obama’s own ideological predilections and the coalition he has built. [SM: Oye, I wish! The Democratic Party has goosesteped rightward, in my opinion. These Democrats support Drone wars, invasive domestic spying, endless attacks around the world without Congressional authorization, haven't fought against outrageous attacks on a woman's right to choose, support Wall Street bailouts that would scandalize a Babylon Whore and have a knee jerk support of Police that wasn't challenged until after a baker's dozen of unsupportable killings was filmed and shown (and even then went un-prosecuted) We are not a pre-Bill Clinton Party.] . Liberals will argue that the Democratic Party has benefited from this movement to the left and cite the election victories of Mr. Obama as evidence of it. The nation has become more liberal, they say, and the Democratic Party has wisely moved with it. [SM: Nope, that is not what "liberals" would argue.]
In some respects, like gay rights [SM: Gez, again with the gays - I think he has an issue here.] , the nation is more liberal than it was two decades ago. On the other hand, it is more conservative today than it was in the mid-1990s. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that Republicans have opened substantial leads over Democrats on dealing with terrorism, foreign policy and taxes. [SM: So... are you arguing liberal / conservative here or Republican / Democratic. Or, are you conflating the two so that you can hopefully drive some conservative Democratic votes to the Republicans? If so, I think you has miss judged. Those voters might be more conservative, but they aren't "more stupid." If they are voting Democratic if might be because they remember the last train wreck of an administration that truly ran Clinton's surplus and economy into the proverbial ditch. They’re competitive on the economy, and a good deal more competitive than in the past on traditional liberal issues like immigration and health care. Self-identified conservatives significantly outnumber self-identified liberals.
One can also plausibly argue that the Republican Party is the governing party in America. After two enormous losses by Democrats in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, Republicans control the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are currently 31 Republican governors compared with 18 for Democrats. Republicans control 68 of 98 state legislative chambers and the most state legislative seats since the 1920s. Nearly half of Americans now live in states under total Republican control. The Obama years have been politically good for Mr. Obama; they have been disastrous for his party. That is a problematic legacy for a man who envisioned himself as a Franklin Delano Roosevelt-like transformational political figure. [SM: I agree here. I don't think the Republicans are doing a better job (Kansas and Wisconsin pop out), and some very liberal states (California) are doing great. But generally, the writer is correct that numerically the Republicans are doing well, particularly at the state level. I would argue their national aspirations would be more successful if they offered solutions at the national level, instead of crazy rhetoric.]
Those who insist that the Democratic Party’s march to the left carries no political risks might consider the fate of the British Labour Party earlier this month. Ed Miliband, its leader, ran hard to the left. [SM: Who argues this? Anyone who mildly believes that the Democratic Party should be more populist is shouted down. Elizabeth Warren is loved by the members, and hated by the Party. You see anyone support the "Occupy Wall Street" gang - who I would argue is way less fringe that the "Tea Party" was - anyone support them? This is a nice flash argument.] The result? The Conservative Party under David Cameron won its first outright majority in Parliament since 1992. Before the election, the former Labour prime minister Tony Blair warned his party against letting the election become one in which “a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result.”
Mr. Clinton acted on a lesson Democrats learned the hard way, and moved his party more to the center on fiscal policy, welfare, crime, the culture and foreign policy. Progressive figures like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Bill de Blasio are the politicians who electrify the Democratic base. [SM: No. Mayor Bill de Blasio is a giant asshole who will (hopefully) lose the next election. Elizabeth Warren is schooled by President Obama when they disagree. Two populist politicians - even if both were popular - do not indicate that the party has moved leftward. If we were judging by two politicians we could look at Louie Gohmert and Steve King and say the entire Republican party is hysterical and believes we are invading Texas.
For demographic reasons, many Democrats believe that they are riding a tide of presidential inevitability. They may want to rethink that. They are placing a very risky bet that there are virtually no limits to how far left they can go.
Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, served in the last three Republican administrations and is a contributing opinion writer.