This is the same intellectual sloth and dishonesty which enables the Instapundit's of the world, to this day, to continue to depict Howard Dean as being some sort of leftist extremist when Dean is one of the least ideological political figures on the national scene and, to the extent he can be ideologically characterized at all, is to the right of most national Democrats on most issues and has been for his entire career. What specific views does Dean hold, or Kos for that matter, which can be characterized by any honest person as "extremist"? While this conventional wisdom is spewed, that question is never answered. But Republicans have pounded that smear drum for so long, and the media has passively ingested and then disseminated it so thoroughly, that the Instapundit's of the world have had that "point" engrained in their head and can never do anything but repeat it endlessly despite its complete separation from what is real.
If I had to place myself on the political spectrum I'd be moderate-left. I believe the government is a necessary restraint on the excesses of the free market and a buffer to protect the weakest in society but I also believe that government is not always the solution. I don't want government making running shoes or cars but believe it should be building roads and maintaining the infrastructure, for example.
I believe in a balanced budget and support paygo.
I'm pretty much squarely in the center when it comes to foreign policy. I want the U.S. to apply a robust diplomacy towards achieving it's ends and recognize that the world is a pretty small place and the fortunes of all nations are intertwined. At the same time I recognize that the use of the military must be a possibility in the use of diplomatic means. I subscribe to what's commonly referred to as the Powell Doctrine when those times arise.
When it came to the war in Iraq I WANTED to be convinced that it was a necessity. I considered the arguments on all sides. It became obvious very early on that the administration was not approaching the issue in earnest. I remember reading several articles about the IAEC disagreeing with the assertions of our government that the infamous aluminum tubes could be used in the refinement of uranium to weapons grade and thinking that, at the very least, this calls that topic into question and takes it off the table as an assertion of certainty.
Then came the infamous sixteen words in the State of the Union. I was watching that live and my jaw dropped. I could not support any military action that wasn't self-justifiably necessary and needed to be sold to us with lies like some sort of used car.
Point is many of use that are regularly portrayed as out on the leftist fringe are really sitting in the political center despite the nonsense spouted by the right and robotically repeated by the media. The true extremists are the Instapundits of the world. They just can't bring themselves to admit it.
There's a great response to Glenn's post that sums this up better than I could:
They can't ever ever EVER admit that Kos is anything but fringe because if Kos is the center, then they have no to choice but to acknowledge that THEY are the extremists.