You need to convince the American people of that, not me. Ask yourself a few things here…why won’t Kerry come out and say he’s a ‘liberal’? Because he really is a centrist? The majority of his past policies haven’t been centrist, he’s certainly a left leaning politician on most matters…by American standards anyway. Is he using European standards, or is he perhaps afraid to be branded a ‘liberal’? Afaik, even Kucinich didn’t come right out and proudly display the fact he is a liberal. Why is that?
Liberals have a bad name because their over all agenda/image isn’t popular in the US for a variety of reasons…part of which is the majority of American’s hover closer to the center (albiet our own center). I know Brain Glutton doesn’t agree with me on this, but I think that the majority of American’s are basically centrists, leaning left on some issues, right on others. ‘Liberals’ have been associated with the left wing and are not an over all centrist political philosophy…much like Conservatives aren’t really a centrist political philosophy. However Conservatives have really gone out of their way to modify SOME of their stances to APPEAR to be centrist…or at least to appeal to the center. Well, at least they were on that road before Bush anyway…
So, why aren’t Conservatives demonized like Liberals are? Good question with a complex answer. For one thing I think the Conservative message strikes a cord with Americans somewhat, while much of the Liberal message has fallen a bit on deaf ears (I’m talking about over all, population wise in the US). While certainly some of the Liberal message is appealing (even to this centrist :)), over all I don’t think there is much of a ‘market’ for their message in the US.
The majority of the reason though is the fact that Concervatives of the old school were generally successful in associating Liberal with Socialist…and making a connection between Socialist and Communist. Part of that is the fact that there is some similarities between agendas (albiet a pretty tenuous link IMO). Communism, especially after the spectacular way it bombed world wide, has never been very popular with the majority of Americans, so even a tenuous association is like the kiss of death to the majority of Americans.
Another thing has been the perception that Liberals haven’t managed well when in power. Look at the presidents generally reguarded as ‘Liberals’…Presidents like Carter and Johnson. Then look at presidents (generally) reguarded as centrist like Clinton and Kennedy (I’m using Democrat examples obviously) and you get a strong contrast as far as the PERCEPTION by the American people of who had successful administrations, and who bombed big time. I know that some would argue with my examples (Liberals would argue Carter wasn’t REALLY a Liberal, Conservatives would argue Clinton was no Centrist), but I think this is the over all perception of these folks by the majority of Americans.
At any rate, thats the reality…in America left leaning politicians don’t want to be associated or labled as a ‘liberal’. They want to be associated as centrists as that appeals more to Americans.