Neoliberalism and incrementalism are at the heart of Democratic triangulation, the Democrat's move to the center. Robert Rubin was no progressive. The DNC is notoriously opposed to progressivism, as became apparent from its sabotaging of Sanders' campaign.
Whoever first wrote Romney's healthcare plan, it's still a bastardized, compromised plan that's far removed from the left-wing solution. Likewise, Obama's one-sided bailout and lack of prosecution of Wall Street were far from the progressive options. As far as American "conservatives" are concerned, a Republican president could have improved on Obama's handling of that crisis only by physically spitting on those who had been suckered into bad mortgages.
What's the difference what Democrats' intentions were? All politicians lie almost all the time in public. What matters is what they do, not what they personally think about anything. No one knows that better than politicians. Clinton didn't govern as a progressive, nor did Obama, and nor will Biden.
That's how Democrats forced Republicans into a box that's closing in on itself, not by their private feelings but by their neoliberal policies and by shutting progressive out of powerful positions in the party.