We're back in 2008

Story highlights

  • Democratic presidential candidate debate took place Tuesday night
  • Christian Whiton: Debate reflected leftward drift in party since Bill Clinton left office

Christian Whiton is a former deputy special envoy for human rights in North Korea for the George W. Bush administration. He is president of the Hamilton Foundation, a principal with DC Advisory, a public policy consultancy, and the author of "Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War." The views expressed are his own.

(CNN)Democratic hopefuls vowed Tuesday night to take on Wall Street, lamented the invasion of Iraq and pledged to end climate change and soak the rich. The 2008 campaign called -- it wants its talking points back.

Aside from positions that are immoderate even for a Democratic primary season, the candidates postured as though they were founding some new insurgent party. In reality, they are trying to make the historically tough sell to the American people that their party deserves a third term in the White House. But talking up President Obama's achievements and appealing to the political center was obviously not what the candidates had in mind tonight.
Christian Whiton