David Sirota has a long post today on Joe Lieberman & the hostile takeover of "centrism", Sirotanlog 05/30/06, in which he writes:
In my new book *Hostile Takeover*, I spend a good deal of time showing how ultra-conservative right-wingers have hijacked the terms "centrist" and "mainstream" and disconnected them from what's actually "centrist" and "mainstream" among the public. This is no small matter (and a topic I have focused on before) - it is a hugely important and powerful linguistic weapon deviously employed by the most destructive forces. That's right - today in Washington, positions that are way to the right of where the American public stands are regularly called "centrist" or "mainstream." That's no accident - it is a deliberate strategy employed by Big Money interests that run the Establishment to effectively marginalize the vast majority of the population from its own political debate and political system. It is, in short, a hostile takeover not just of our government, but of political discourse itself.
How this semantic strategy legitimates right-wing positions and politicians can best be seen in looking at Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), a man incessantly billed by the Washington media - and himself - as a "centrist."...
On almost every major issue, the data shows that Lieberman is far to the right of the "center" or "mainstream" of American public opinion.
Take the Iraq War. Lieberman continues to unflinchingly support the stay-the-course policy of the Bush administration, to the point where he attacks those who even raise questions about the administration's Iraq policy as "undermin[ing] the president's credibility at our nation's peril." His out-of-the-mainstream position comes at a time when every major national poll shows roughly two thirds of Americans oppose the war and want a change in policy. But it gets worse. Lieberman has long claimed that because of the Iraq War, "the world is safer, America is safer." Again, CNN/USA Today polls asked this very question, and they have consistently shown (here and here) that the majority of Americans believe that the Iraq War has made America less safe. In sum, the cold, hard data shows that despite the rhetoric, Joe Lieberman is on the fringe extreme, while those like Ned Lamont who have criticized his position and who want a change in policy are the real centrists. (my emphasis)