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Shanty Oilish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:21 PM
Original message
What's right/wrong with centrists and centrism?
Is it pandering to the politically alloyed, or is it realistic, or is it sensible? Is it good to be a centrist, as Dean supporters claim he is? Lieberman's a centrist, that isn't good.
Whoever wins the nomination, it's guaranteed he'll get centrifugal overnight. Will you be disillusioned or relieved if your candidate shapeshifts?
Bonus question: if Dean is the darling of the liberals, why are we constantly reminding ourselves he's a centrist?
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Perhaps you should distinguish between centrist and corporatist
Edited on Sun Sep-21-03 11:25 PM by wuushew
Modern centrists serve big corps, on social issues liberal positions are preferred.
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denverbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #1
18. That's a very good point and one I hadn't considered.
I'm actually fairly moderate on many issues, but moderate has become more or less synonymous with corporatist lately.
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RobinA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #18
32. Moderate
these days means you don't have a white sheet and pointy hood in the closet.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. If Dean's core are activist moderates...he's in good shape, I think.
Personally, I'm wondering if there will be a consensus on a candidate going into the convention....if it is brokered, expect a lot of compromising from any candidate that finally winss the nomination.
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Shanty Oilish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. Thanks, Old, give me nightmares!
If it comes to that, a brokered convention, I will take up drinking, and I don't mean Kool-Aid. :scared:
If it happens, the experienced compromiser will gain the advantage, and that's just one more area in which Dean's experience doesn't compare to the rest.
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VelmaD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. Jim Hightower put it best...
when he said, "the only thing in the middle of the road is yellow stripes and dead armadillos".

There's just something about candidates who say they are progressives who then turn around and pander to the middle that smacks of moral cowardice to me. I want them to stand for something dammit. Centrists never feel to me like they stand for anything other than the status quo.

Just my 2 cents.

DV
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. thats how i feel.
I get the impression they take a poll on each issue to determine what is the popular view then claim it as their own and anybody to the left or right of that view is "fringe' on either side. They are "normal" and everbody else is "extreme." They consider themselves far superior to the "idealists who require purity". Just my own fringe leftist unscientific opinion on what a centrist is.
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Brian Sweat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #3
14. That is a nice saying,
but it doesn't make it so. It is easy to stake out a position on the extreme end of the political spectrum. IMHO, moderates tend to be more open minded than people on either extreme. There are at least two sides to every position. Extreme liberals and extreme conservatives have a hard time see things from the other perspective.
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Rich Hunt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #14
35. what could be more closed-minded
....than automatically rejecting ideas because they're too "extreme"?

Liberalism is, by definition, open-minded:

Liberal, adj.

a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded

The problem with middle-of-the-road-ism is that the middle of the road is not a fixed spot - if the right moves rightward, so does the "middle". If you have one ridiculous solution to the problem, and one that is somewhat reasonable, you end up with a compromise solution that is somewhat reasonable and somewhat ridiculous.

It is best to take stances by looking at each issue square on, and not adopting a position because it fits neatly into an attractive, pre-determined schema.

The middle of the road seems to be all about caring how you look to others.
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Brian Sweat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Straw man
No one said that moderates reject ideas because they are two extreme. Moderates often hold extremem positions. Some moderates are pro-choice and pro-capital punishment. Some moderate belong to the NRA and believe that drugs should be legal.

Most moderate are no concerned about how they look to others. They just look at both sides of the issues. Sometimes they agree with one side, other times they they agree with the other side and sometimes they disagree with both sides.

Many moderates agree with the need for a safety net, but they do not like the idea of able bodies people living off of the government when there is work available. The media has convinced them that this happens more often than it really does, so they tend to be torn whether or not to support welfare.

People on the far right assume everyone on welfare is mooching and everone on the far left assumes that no one is.
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-03 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
54. thats how I feel too
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Vikingking66 Donating Member (402 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
4. it's more how you do it and why
If you're a centrist who fights, like Clinton or Dean, than that's good. If you're a centrist who actually has a cross-section of beliefs that come from different ideologies, then that's good.

However, if you're a centrist who tries to blur the difference between yourself and your opponent and who shirks from fighting from your own side, that's bad. If you do it just because that's what you're supposed to do to win, that's also bad.

I'm a liberal, and I'm a Dean supporter. And I know that we don't agree on certain issues - but he fights for my party and for the right to be a Democrat and a liberal without being called a traitor. That being said, there's not a lot of difference between centrists (democrat-style) and liberals anymore. If you look at the New Democrat platform, a lot of it is simpatico with liberals. Very few liberals argue for deficit spending anymore, and all liberals are in favor of investing in infrastructure and schools, raising the minimum wage, and such. The main policy disagreements between the DLC and say, the People for the American Way, are over free trade, social issues like equal rights for gays, crime and judicial issues, regulation versus deregulation of industry, and the merits of the federal government as an institution. A lot of the disagreements are over centrist political strategy, which urges acting like Republicans - emphasizing family, morality/religion, personal responsibility, self-improvement, and how bad youth culture is - rather than traditional liberal themes of social justice, economic opportunity, freedom of personal expression, and cultural pluralism.
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Woodstock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:42 PM
Response to Original message
5. Bonus answer: because we need a centrist to beat Bush?
Edited on Sun Sep-21-03 11:49 PM by Woodstock
The overriding objective for many is to beat Bush. What he's done to the country has created a sense of urgency. To get enough votes, we need someone who doesn't appear too far left, but we don't want to go too far right in the process. We need someone who is willing to compromise on the issues that are less important, but compromise from a practical standpoint (Dean) rather than to seemingly embrace the other side (Lieberman.)

To keep the base satisfied, we need someone who has a decent record on the things that are important to us (choice, environment, civil liberties, worker's rights, among others.) And we need someone who will strongly challenge the Bush Administration and the Republican congress on their foolish/extreme positions - someone who clearly identifies as a Democrat first and foremost, and plays up the difference between us and them. (The former may sound like Liberman, but not the latter. Dean sounds like both.)
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Tell me what defines too far left?
In poll after poll Americans support Democrats on social issues, judical matters, healthcare, etc. Most if not all the energy for these positions comes from the left of the party, so again I ask what is to be gained from moving to the center?
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Woodstock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. In poll after poll I'm seeing most Americans identify themselves
as moderates. I'm not saying move to center, but appear moderate.

By far left, I mean someone who appears "extreme." Extremes are turn offs. People who seem reasonable (moderates) are turn ons. IMHO.
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Completely true
people place far to much emphasis on labels

I am just saying that when people are polled on ISSUES they fall left of center.
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Mairead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. In poll after poll you're seeing most Americans identify themselves
as being in the upper end of income and wealth, too!
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. They may identify as "moderates", but they support progressive policies
It's an important distinction to make. Many Americans have heard the term "liberal" demonized for so long that there is a visceral reaction to NOT be identified with it. Therefore, when asked what their general political affiliation is, many of them will say "moderate".

But this answer presents a fallacy when asked about specific policies. For example, an overwhelming majority of those who call themselves "moderates" support such policies as universal health care, stewardship of the environment, more funding for education (instead of tax cuts!), and so forth. In fact, most of these self-styled "moderates" are really liberals/progressives -- even if they aren't willing to recognize themselves as such.

It's an important distinction to be made before we set about selling out on the majority of stuff that liberals/progressives are all about, because we share a relatively common vision with these "moderates" out there.
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Woodstock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Also most are pro-choice
Edited on Mon Sep-22-03 10:31 AM by Woodstock
Despite the weaselly polls out there, ask them plain and simple pro-choice or not, and most will say yes, they are pro-choice.

It's like feminism - people will say, no, I'm not a feminist. Then ask them if they are for equal rights for women, and they say, sure.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. It's a question of framing, like anything else.
If you ask people something like, "Do you support abortion?" the majority will reply "No."

However, if you ask, "Do you think that the government should have the right to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her own body?" the majority will reply "No."

It's all a question of framing. And the right wing is masters of it, while we allow them to dictate the terms of debate.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #15
37. Bingo! IC wins the door prize
Progressive ideas and policies resonate with people. It's how they believe in their gut that the world should work, and who the government should work for.

But due to brainwashing, even the relatively tame word "liberal" has been made to seem like it is some weird, exoric disease.

Dennis Kucinich (despite his rhetorical overload) is actually a liberal moderate of the kind that brought us Social Security, medicare, the Minimum Wage and the oethr programs and policies we take for granted.

When Democrats abandon that for a Corporatist version of what people supposedly want in Reagan's America, they lose their credibility.

If Democrats would once again stand up as clearly for liberal (progressive) values and policies as the GOP does for right-woing ones, we will actually have a real political life in this nation again.



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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. It's not as simple as "standing up", Armstead -- we have to frame them
One of the biggest problems we have about in the whole left-of-center spectrum is that we are HORRIBLE at framing our issues in the proper context. Democratic candidates will go out and support a myriad of interests, but they often fail in tying all of those interests together into an overarching VISION. As such, they end up being a patchwork quilt of special interests -- and fail to inspire people.

One of the biggest areas in which progressive policies tie together is in the basic theme of our society. It's about forging a society in which we actually care about each other, and realize that we can accomplish a lot more working in concert than we can by acting selfishly.

Self-interest still plays a part in all of this, but it is also about emphasizing the value of community, cooperation and compassion on the same level as self-interest.

The ultimate Republican vision is a return to the politics of the late 1890's -- the gilded age in which everyone looked out for themselves, and anyone who tripped up was left to their own fate. That is not the general nature of human beings, despite the efforts of the "establishment" to convince us otherwise.

It's a simple choice -- go with the status quo and be selfish and miserable, or dare to challenge it on the possibility that we can re-learn how to be caring, compassionate... and HAPPY!
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. I agree totally -- You grouch
Edited on Mon Sep-22-03 01:22 PM by Armstead
IC I know exactly what you mean, and I agree 100 percent. Have for a long time. I just didn't repeat it in the shorthand of a message board.

Progressive politics should appeal to the selfish instincts of people,as well as their altruism and hope for a better socirety. So much of it is about what is good for individuals as much as anything.

Universal Health Care, for example, is an ideal for altruistic reasons. But it also means your average yuppie family is likely to pay a lot less for their medical care. Making that kind of connection is one area where libeal and progressive politics have failed miserably.

Call that framing if you want, or just smart politics. We've all been lacking in that ability, and we do need to learn it.

P.S. Just kiding about the grouch part. But sometimes there's nothing wrong with just taking a compliment and leaving it alone. ;-)



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Brian Sweat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #8
17. I agree.
Polling shows most American are slightly left of of center. They favor positions like:

A woman's right to choose.
Social Security
An economic safety net (but they are afraid that people are taking advantage of it.)
A fair minimum wage.



They are turned of by idea like.

A total ban on all guns
A maximum wage
WTO protests
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. What's the deal with this bullshit, Brian???
They are turned of by idea like... WTO protests

What a simplistic, biased statement -- and to think, you were doing so well by simply admitting that most Americans have "left of center" views on things.

Why not frame the issue as something more indicative of the truth by saying, "Most Americans are against shipping US jobs to slave labor in China for slightly cheaper goods."

And I still don't know what "left-of-center" means if most Americans have those views. It seems as if THAT would be the very definition of "centrism" -- something that falls right in the median of views on a variety of issues. By stating that this point falls "left of center" you are implying that the current center is, in reality, to the RIGHT of the "true center" -- something that liberals, progressives and "fringe leftists" have been saying for quite some time now!
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Brian Sweat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #19
26. How is my statement that
Most Americans are turned off by WTO protests biased?

Also, while you are correct about the center being defined as the view point of most Americans, you knew what I meant and you were intentionally eqivocating. I was responding to the idea that most Americans are well left of center.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. Because it's the same kind of framing as I talked about above
It starts from an assumed point of view -- anyone who publicly questions WTO policy through protest or collective action must be some kind of kook, and the "center" would never be able to identify with any of them. The central fact is that in many of the ISSUES surrounding the WTO protests are issues that can resonate with these "moderates".

The counter, which I spoke of in my reply to your post, is not much different than the framing of the issue of reproductive choice. Instead of asking, "Do you support a woman's right to abortion?" ask, "Do you believe the government should tell a woman what she can or cannot do to her own body?"
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Brian Sweat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. No it doesn't
It just says that most people are turned of by WTO protests.

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Sideways Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #29
49. You Are Proving Chris's Point
Where do you get the information that "most" people are turned off by WTO protests? I'll wager from corporate owned TV. Where the ONLY issue they cover during WTO protests are when the very small minority of people( I suspect they are agent provocateurs)act up. And how the protesters "just hate trying to help people better themselves blah blah blah."

So of course the perception is that NORMAL people don't act or think like that so these protesters are demonized. But I'll bet you $100 bucks that if you asked 100 people on the street a few questions about the practices of the WTO framed from a protesters perspective(as in a question that clearly spells out the TRUE practices of the WTO, not the made up shit most people have been sold about WTO etc) I'll bet most would agree with the prostesters.

I once had an editor that told me, "Mary your writing is only as good as the words you choose and the order in which you state them."

That's why Chris is SPOT ON about the issue of framing it is EVERYTHING. So is the issue of demonizing words, and the right have been fine tuning this skill for 3 decades,thats why all wingnuts repeat the same villified words over and over. Liberal, Big Government, Welfare, Socialist, Commie, Feminist...the list is endless.

We need to take language back from these assholes and stop them from being the malicious arbiters of words and context that they have become.

This is such an important and critical issue for Democrats!!!!
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Mairead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-03 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #49
51. Brava! Right on!
Framing up the context in an appropriate way is vital, and we cannot afford to cede any language -and I include other symbols, here- to the right wingers.
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 05:43 AM
Response to Original message
11. Robert Reich quote
The DLC stands for nothing, nada, zero, except it's anti-union. No grass roots. No troops. No one out in America cares about the DLC. The DLC says it's centrist, but centrism is wherever the polls say most Americans are. And most Americans drift wherever there's a lot of hullabaloo. Centrism is unprincipled. Centrism doesn't lead. It follows. Centrism is Dick Morris. Centrism is nowhere.

- from The Democratic Party is Dead, Sunday, March 11, 2001, Washington Post
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Woodstock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. I agree
Bush got less votes than his opponent, yet he's governing hard right.

Why do we have to govern in the center if we win?

The answer is, we don't. But we have to at least appear to be moderates. If Bush had campaigned with the extreme right position he assumed after taking office, he'd never have even come close to getting enough votes to cheat his way into office. He campaigned as a moderate.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #12
21. Because you want to win again
And not drive away the moderate or centrist vote. If you win and run hard left, you will fall on your face even harder.
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Woodstock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #21
43. But Bush didn't do this, and has a decent chance of winning
He's done just what you say, only in the opposite direction. He "won" and governed hard right, and the polls have him at even odds on winning.

Are we seeing the moderate or centrist vote driven away?

I'm not sure. I want to think so.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #11
41. Centrism gets you elected President
Oh, I'm sorry. I interrupted a perfectly good political fantasy. Carry on, please.
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 05:03 AM
Response to Reply #41
47. the limits of ideology
Traveling west also gets you to the ocean, but not after a certain point.

Carry on.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-03 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #47
52. Right
So not traveling to the west (assuming that the ocean is to your west) gets to the ocean surer or faster or better - if I understand your "logic."
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-03 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. right indeed
Actually, you are going out of your way not to understand my point. That much is obvious. Fortunately, there are other readers here, and they will take my point without throwing in my face how I can't force them to understand the obvious.

Thanks for the condescending crack about my "logic" (quotation marks yours). That, too, won't be very successful in winning friends and influencing people.
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
22. I'll take a STAB at it
Since I am often a CRITIC of centrism I will first state what is RIGHT about centrism:

Policy whould NOT be radically altered and should MOVE at a SNAIL'S pace. Even corrections which are DESPERATELY needed to today's excesses should be corrected slowly as a population nearing 400 million is large enough that any change for good or bad is a shock to the system and creates more instability than the benefit is worth.

Striving for SUBSTANTIAL justice to the broadest group of people is always admirable. An example would not be the NET effect of Welfare Reform (which did NOT accomplish substantial justice by not ensuring a living wage) but the NTENT of Welfare Reform which was that those who were able were required to seek employment in earnest.

Real centrism, however, requires honor and a legislative memory. Honor such as the honor required to revisit a bill once it is passed and perform clean-up legislation to deal with the unintended consequences and a legislative memory to recall that that was the DEAL you made.


Too often legislators agree to legislation in the spirit of BIPARTISANSHIP only to be burned by a bunch of ideological DEALBREAKERS when the time comes to clean up, revisit or fine tune the effects of a policy.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH CENTRISM as practiced currently in our political system is that it is NOT CENTRISM at all...nor is it conservatism

Our current practice of centrism caters to a group of voters NOT AT ALL interested in policy but moved by emotional pleas to the issue that most manipulates them.

In the center of the vote spectrum in America (given all the voters that DON'T VOTE which alters the landscape of the center substantially) is the voter that does NOT for the most part pay attention to politics and policy but only votes every four years as though that is what defines their civic duty.

In the center is a voter that only considers ME at the cost of all infrastructure without regard for negative effects to other spectrums of the socioeconomic strata.

In the center currently is a voter who only recognizes the center and thinks that because they somehow economically arrived at the center anyone can.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. Very well stated, as usual NSMA!
Centrism has come to not be defined by a pragmatic approach to problem solving without allowing yourself to being bogged down in ideology (the GOOD form of centrism), but instead has become a finger-in-the-wind strategy concentrated on pursuing a small group of fickle, selfishness-driven voters who are largely ignorant on the issues (the BAD form of centrism).
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Shanty Oilish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #22
30. But what about centrism in a pres election year...
...when a substantial part of the electorate is $%#&ing delusional? (I'm thinking of that 70% who connect Saddam with 9/11, for example.) There is admittedly much room for mischief in such an attitude---but if they are still deluded in 2004, is not some "pandering" justifiable? I want Bush out like a damned spot. Some voters will be not at all interested in policy EVER, do we just abandon them like a non-winnable state?
Mind you, I feel that liberalism ought to be advocated, not run from, but we are in desperate times and must not hold firm to a course that has us running from a win.
It's a dilemma. :(
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. One word: VISION
It's about connecting all the things that people left-of-center (from true moderates to fringe leftists) have fought for over the years into an overarching vision.

Note, VISION is not the same as POLICY. Most people get turned off by policy. That's one of the biggest problems we've had over the past 30 years, IMHO -- that we get caught up in attending to the wishes of a bunch of different interest groups, while failing to articulate the basic vision that connects all of them together.

That is one thing I'll give Clark credit for -- the first thing on his website since his announcement was a 100-year vision for the US. That's the kind of grand thinking we need to have if we want to win.
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. This is where Dean's approach and the infrastucture he created
Edited on Mon Sep-22-03 11:52 AM by nothingshocksmeanymo
comes in handy.

First of all to answer your question rather than go off on a tangent. The answer is that THAT centrism is defined by whomever can get the other party to look MORE EXTREME.

Now to my point. FOr too long the party has opted for high stakes advertising campaigns versus actual grass roots organizing and infrastructure at that level. The RIGHT did not have to worry about GRASS ROOTS because they have funnelled so much money to charities covering as political organizations at the federal, state and community level.

Democrats need to appeal at the level of community. Canvassing, internet and community events made affordable are the way to accomplish that. One might not PAY 1000 dollars to see Bill Clinton but one might pay $20.

on edit: One last point is that one needs to use caution when looking at those figures of what and WHO Americans believe are connected to 9/11...I don't recall if the question was placed to LIKELY VOTERS or even REGISTERED voters.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #22
42. But they vote.
Say what you like about them, but they vote. And we want them to vote for us. Otherwise, we'll lose, no matter how fervently we believe that Bush sucks.
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Blue_Chill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:09 AM
Response to Original message
23. Too me centrists and moderates have always been the most realistic
Left Wing nuts drive us towards a socialist mistake, right wing nuts drive us to the destruction of a middle class.

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realFedUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
24. Someone needs to define the center
and not just as the white lard inside an oreo cookie...
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Clete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
28. I disagree that Lieberman is a centrist.
He is definitely to the right of the dial in spite of his political registration. Lieberman is more in the mold of the old moderate Republican, a person my Republican parents would have had no problem voting for.

The problem with the right wing today is that they have been ursurped by a cabal of liars and thieves whose very political philosophy sees the treasury, funded by the taxpayer, as a big candy store for themselves. It's an extreme version of the exclusiveness of the right, that a minority group is entitled to wealth and power. The majority is here to provide the labor for these goals.

In this sense Dean is very much to the left as he believes in the Democratic principle of inclusion. All Americans should be given health care and education so that they can share in the prosperity of the nation. I have never considered fiscal responsibility to be a centrist idea, but one of common sense that both parties should embrace.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
34. It represents the interests of Big Business, not of the Workers
The DLC board is all corporate types.

Repubs already represent the interests of Big Business, all they want of the Workers is Cheap Labour.

Dems used to represent the interests of the Workers.
Now it seems they don't need to have their interests represented any more? Or maybe they think Big Business needs help having their interests represented?

It's not like Repubs are losing this thing; Dems moving towards the Right is one of Repubs biggest victories.

"If you can't beat 'm, have 'm join you."
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
38. Centraism is reactive -- It is the right-wing's center
Edited on Mon Sep-22-03 01:24 PM by Armstead
Centrism is not a moderate position, at least not as it's being defined by the DLC Republican types.

The current sad brand of Democrat Centrism is the sad and destructive end-product of the Right Wing winning EVERYTHING.

The token opposition has become the Corporate Centrists who totally surender and allow the Right Wing and Corporate Oligarchy to set the terms of the debate. Everytime I hear one of these "New" democrats spout their empty hot air, my only thought is that they are really just Old Republicans.

The Centrists have allowed basic, garden-variety liberalism to be shunned as "too radical" and too "far to the left." Basic liberals like Paul Wellstone are branded as "fringe" loners, rather than the mainstream. Progressive politics are shoved off into the corner, like some embarassing relative.

If this was just about political labels, it'd be one thing. But this process of selling us out has also stifled all reform and protection of the public. Solutions are banished as "too left" and unrealistic.

THAT's what (in my opinion, of course) is what's wrong with this so-called Centrism. It is not an effective strategy -- It is a surefire way to further support the Right Wing Coprporate Takeover.


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MariMayans Donating Member (250 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
44. because there is no such thing
Edited on Mon Sep-22-03 06:05 PM by MariMayans
almost everyone thinks they are a centrist.

The thing is "centrist" these days has become a media term for economic theory that would make Adam Smith roll in his grave to be considered "capitalism" balanced by tolerance for abortion and treating homosexuals like human beings.

Cato-style "capitalism" is endorsed by both parties and is one of the more radical economic systems ever developed but if you don't want to stone gays and lesbians or go back to coathangers you are a "centrist".


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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. You described it beautifully
The Democrat Centrist position is basically "We'll screw you with our economic policies, but we're nicer about it, and let you keep some of your personal freedom while you lose your livliehood."
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. Ya'll got a point
and why not kick this one back up anyway! :D
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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 06:14 AM
Response to Original message
48. Centrism is a goal, not a starting point.
Its the result of two opposing sides debating an issue, conceding certain points, standing firm on some, and compromising on all the rest. Note that this process requires that both sides act honorably and honestly. The GOP does neither.

When true liberals are substituted in the mix with centrists, the process works the same way but the result is unbalanced to the right - since conservatives present a strong, united front.

Any Democrat who describes himself as a centrist has given away the field to the GOP.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-24-03 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #48
55. Thankyou...
I'll support a real liberal who talks in moderate language over the actual centrist who coopts Nader's rhetoric.
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Liberator_Rev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 07:37 AM
Response to Original message
50. Everything depends on how you define the opposite poles:
The way we "Liberals Like Christ" define the Liberal vs. Conservative poles, you are either FOR oppression and exploitation of others or AGAINST it, so where is the "center".
http://www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/Liberals


See what Christ might say about the "Christian Coalition" & "Religious Right" imposters.

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