Democrats Seeking "Middle Ground"?

But the Times' idea of "governing from the center" includes minimum-wage hikes and increasing education aid.

Robin Toner, who often writes about social issues for the Times, centers the new Democratic-controlled Congress in Tuesday's front-page "In This Turn at the Top, Democrats Seek the Middle on Social Issues."

But Toner's definition of centrism certainly sounds a lot like liberalism: "The promise may not outlast their political honeymoon, but Democratic Congressional leaders say they are committed to governing from the center, and not just on bread-and-butter issues like raising the minimum wage or increasing aid for education. They also hope to bring that philosophy to bear on some of the most divisive social issues in politics, like abortion."

The next part doesn't pass the laugh test (devout Catholics for abortion on demand?), but Toner lets it slide.

"Some House Democrats said they had also learned to be more open about their own religious life.

"'We, for a very long time, left the definition of ourselves as Democrats to others,' said Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, an abortion-rights supporter and one of 55 Catholic Democrats in the House who signed a Catholic Statement of Principles last year, essentially saying that their faith involved more than their position on abortion. 'But I think people finally felt enough. Enough. It's about who we are, where we come from, what our culture and environment has been.'

"Ms. DeLauro is one of the leaders in the House on legislation that would try to reduce the need for abortion and provide economic support to new parents."

DeLauro supports partial-birth abortion.