Let's be blunt: Third Way and all the other groups that exist to glorify centrism are conservative groups. They appeal solely to people who agree with Republican policy but are embarrassed at how mean and backward and – worst of all – uncivil Republicans are. It's the Aaron Sorkin / West Wing deleted scenes version of political reality in which everyone is very serious and very honorable and lo and behold all of the policy they push is virtually indistinguishable from anything the Republican Party has wanted since the 1970s. Liberals fall for this sometimes because the idea of politics being nice and civil even when you disagree about things is just so darn appealing to some people for whom process and decorum are far more important than outcomes.
You can't do a much better job of undercutting the whole Centrist / Third Way movement than it does to itself, though, and I think this exercise in concern trolling about the Democratic Party being just so ultra-leftist (e.g., shows signs of supporting something to the left of Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller) is a great example:
Some of the key initiatives are a massive apprenticeship program to train workers, a privatized employer-funded universal pension that would supplement Social Security and an overhaul of unemployment insurance to include skills training. Other proposals included a "small business bill of rights" and the creation of a "BoomerCorps" — like the volunteer AmericaCorps for seniors.
Meanwhile, they say the progressive agenda is out of date. They dismiss, for instance, a federal jobs guarantee as a rehash of the New Deal.
"Our ideas must be bold, but they must also fit the age we are in," Cowan said. "Big isn't enough. If it's bold and old — it’s simply old."
OK so there's a lot to unpack here. Privatization (straight out of the right wing playbook), "retraining" (Bill Clinton at Peak Neoliberal), small business handjobbing (Chamber of Commerce right-wing deregulation), and…something so utterly stupid that I don't even know how to define it.
Then the New Deal is invoked to…deride the Democratic Party? Clearly what the Democratic Party should avoid at all costs is the thing that got a president and his successor re-elected five times, produced the largest Democratic Senate majority in history, and was instrumental in the economic development of the country at a perilous time.
These people are idiots, the whole centrism fetishizing apparatus is a stalking horse for right-wing economic policy, and the more the Democratic Party has tried to appease these people the worse its results – electorally and policy-wise – have been.
They're dumb and they're wrong. Stop listening to them and stop idealizing their fantasy version of a Politics of Politeness and Propriety that never was.