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Who You Callin’ Moderate?

The Senate held a historic vote on health care reform last night at 1 AM. Splitting exactly along party lines-that is, if you call Joe Lieberman a Democrat-the health care bill made it through a cloture vote and is one step away from final passage and the conference committee.

To get so-called moderate Democrat Ben Nelson on board, however, Harry Reid had to agree to a decidedly un-moderate compromise on abortion rights. It's not Stupak language-but it's close.

Stupak's staffers, meanwhile, were sending frantic emails to catholic bishops and top republican staffers asking for their help to keep his amendment in the final bill. If that's bipartisanship, they can keep it.

So who says these guys are so moderate, anyway? Politico, for one. The Washington Post as well. The Wall Street Journal called them "centrists," as did the New York Times. Interesting that moves that would radically alter women's right to choose are moderate.

Maybe the media's idea of moderate has something to do with who they're talking to. Look at the Sunday talk shows, for instance. Meet The Press had not a single woman on to discuss health care. You know it's bad when FOX News Sunday features a pro-choice woman, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and the biggest show on Sunday doesn't. CBS's Face the Nation was the only one to feature two women.

As Ann Friedman pointed out in The American Prospect, white men are the least likely to identify as progressives. So why do Democrats-and the media- continue to act as if their opinions are the only ones that matter?

(This post originally appeared Monday, December 21, 2009 at 5:58 pm.)

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Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders is a best-selling author and broadcaster who hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at or via Twitter @GRITlaura

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