“Not the Time”

In case you missed it, Obama adviser Steve Hillebrand took to the Huffinton Post yesterday to write an Op-Ed telling “The Left” to back off. The money quote:

 This is not a time for the left wing of our Party to draw conclusions about the Cabinet and White House appointments that President-Elect Obama is making. Some believe the appointments generally aren’t progressive enough. Having worked with former Senator Obama for the last two years, I can tell you, that isn’t the way he thinks and it’s not likely the way he will lead. The problems I mentioned above and the many I didn’t, suggest that our president surround himself with the most qualified people to address these challenges. After all, he was elected to be the president of all the people – not just those on the left.

Of course, read the whole thing.

Naturally this produced a fair amount of blowback from progressives, but I find myself agreeing with Ezra, Atrios, and Tim Frenholz; it’s a “declaration” to the Village, and a dogwhistle to progressives. Hillebrand is a political professional, and when you actually look at what he defines as “the center,” it’s a litany of things progressives have been advocating for years like universal healthcare and climate legislation. In other words, Hillebrand is saying that we’re going to pass thing progressives really want passed, but he’s attempting to define those positions as the middle of the political debate, because that’s what the Beltway press worships. It sucks if you take it as a swipe at you I know, but ultimately it’s good positioning. The sad state of the matter is that progressives have to take lumps in ways the far-right doesn’t, but part of the reasoning for that is that the Beltway press sees the “middle” as being somewhere on the center-right. But ultimately policy is what’s important, and Hillebrand is pretty clearly committing to progressive policy goals.