Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., responded to progressive critics suggesting he wasn’t exactly who people thought he would be while he was campaigning. He added that the progressive “label” left him.

“I’m not a progressive, I just identified myself as a regular Democrat,” Fetterman said, talking to CNN’s Dana Bash. “Now, eight years ago, I was a progressive, but the situation’s changed and I‘ve been very clear that I didn‘t leave that label. That label leaved [left] me and I think it’s much more important to be focusing on Donald Trump instead of those kinds of purity tests and those kinds of issues.”

The Pennsylvania senator has been a staunch supporter of Israel and has expressed concern for border security, breaking with several members of his party on the issues.

Bash also asked Fetterman to respond to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who told CNN on Tuesday that President Biden was using the “same tools as Donald Trump” to address border security.

“She’s entitled to her own opinion, but it does also seem like some of the harshest words for the president in this situation seems to be more coming from very safe, and blue, very kinds of places. Now in Pennsylvania, border security is an important issue and we do all believe that we should have a secure border, and I never thought it was unreasonable for any Democrat to want to make our border more secure,” he said.

  • themeatbridge@lemmy.world
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    13 days ago

    He’s not wrong. His stance on Israel and the border are two of his least progressive positions. When he first became a national figure, those two issues did not put him at odds with progressives, but his support of marijuana legalization, LGBTQ+ rights, and labor unions all put him at odds with centrist Democrats. The conversation has shifted dramatically, and while we still need to fight for those issues, they aren’t exclusively progressive positions. This is good news because it means the Overton window is sliding to the left.

    I still disagree with Fetterman on his unconditional support of Israel and his stance on border security. However, there has been a transparent campaign to fracture the left and weaken his influence by painting him as a turncoat.

    John Fetterman has not changed his policy positions.

    Like him, hate him, agree or disagree, he’s been consistent on what he believes, and he’s been uncharacteristically honest for a politician. And anyone claiming otherwise should have their motives questioned. Why is it suddenly important that Fetterman doesn’t call himself a progressive anymore? Why does that matter at all? Who benefits from the perception that he’s not who he claims to be?

    If you think he’s wrong, say so. I think he’s wrong about several issues. If you think he’s lying, point to the lie. If you’re mad about labels, I assume you’re the liar, because that’s not a valid criticism.

    • LovstuhagenOPM
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      13 days ago

      Yeah, it is remarkable that he actually has distanced himself from the title, which might be something that you would want other Democrats to do in light of their actual stances.

      Now, this might be controversial: it indicates a cultural shift where massive support for LGBTQ policies is mainstream.

      I’ve actually been somewhat gobsmacked by how much he has gone to bat for Israel. Of course, I expect a lot of moderate Democrats and people who I’ve never heard of with a (D) next to their name, and even random “progressives” who are part of some LGBTQ group or feminist organization with -berg at the end of their last name coming up with tepid support for Israel, but the guy has really hoisted up the Star of David.

      In my book, the fault line for a true progressive comes down to foreign policy (have to not be a hawk or a Zionist) and, of course, fiscal policy (have to not be some free trade advocate who randomly invokes the glories of the welfare state).

      Border issues I am somewhat of a radical. I can see how progressives can support border clampdowns. It seems like it could be part of some worker’s rights issues. It also does not preclude a foreign policy that elevates the living standards of the downtrodden in foreign countries. But yeah, I see how in G20 countries it has become quite different.

      (BTW I am not a progressive. I am a pretty homeless social conservative, fiscal liberal).

      • themeatbridge@lemmy.world
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        13 days ago

        I am a progressive living in PA and have followed his career since he was a progressive mayor out in what people near Philly consider the Wasteland. He’s always been a staunch and vocal supporter of Israel. I can’t say if that’s a sincerely held belief, or a political decision, but there’s no question about where he stands.

        As for border security, he came up during the tail end of the Obama administration and supported Bernie in 2016. During the Trump years, it was pretty easy for anyone left of Goebbels to oppose Trump’s crimes against humanity committed under the auspices of border control, but it still didn’t come up much in his 2018 campaign for Lt. Gov. His race against Oz for the Senate in 2022 was more about how horrible Oz would be, and marijuana.

        So I understand why modern progressives are surprised to learn that Fetterman is backing Biden’s plan. But that doesn’t mean he’s changed his stance, it just means they weren’t aware of his stance to begin with.

        • LovstuhagenOPM
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          12 days ago

          I am a progressive living in PA and have followed his career since he was a progressive mayor out in what people near Philly consider the Wasteland. He’s always been a staunch and vocal supporter of Israel. I can’t say if that’s a sincerely held belief, or a political decision, but there’s no question about where he stands.

          That’s very interesting to me - I would have actually guessed he was critical of Israel before on some level or maybe silent, but never a full on supporter.

          As for border security, he came up during the tail end of the Obama administration and supported Bernie in 2016. During the Trump years, it was pretty easy for anyone left of Goebbels to oppose Trump’s crimes against humanity committed under the auspices of border control, but it still didn’t come up much in his 2018 campaign for Lt. Gov. His race against Oz for the Senate in 2022 was more about how horrible Oz would be, and marijuana.

          So I understand why modern progressives are surprised to learn that Fetterman is backing Biden’s plan. But that doesn’t mean he’s changed his stance, it just means they weren’t aware of his stance to begin with.

          Good analysis, thank you.