Covering the health care debate from the left, Luke Mitchell of Harper's offers as good a definition you'll see of what "moderation" means in D.C.:
The polite word for regulatory capture in Washington is "moderation." Normally we understand moderation to be a process whereby we balance the conservative-right-red preference for "free markets" with the liberal-left-blue preference for "big government."…The contemporary form of moderation, however, simply assumes government growth (i.e., intervention), which occurs under both parties, and instead concerns itself with balancing the regulatory interests of various campaign contributors. The interests of the insurance companies are moderated by the interests of the drug manufacturers, which in turn are moderated by the interests of the trial lawyers and perhaps even by the interests of organized labor, and in this way the locus of competition is transported from the marketplace to the legislature. The result is that mediocre trusts secure the blessing of government sanction even as they avoid any obligation to serve the public good. Prices stay high, producers fail to innovate, and social inequities remain in place.
No one today is more moderate than the Democrats.
[Via James Ridgeway.]