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My thoughts on Centrism & Moderation

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Superman Returns Donating Member (804 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 07:58 PM
Original message
My thoughts on Centrism & Moderation
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 07:59 PM by Superman Returns
I wrote this a week ago on my blog and may seem a little late to dicuss, but I just wanted to share my views on "centrists" in the context of Mike Allen's article. I feel it is important because many DLC folk are posting on DU talking about the virtues of centrism and moderate Democrats. However, I feel centrism, moderation, and pragmaticism are not interchangable words and I explored the difference in today's political arena.

From Mike Allen of Time Magazine,

"From Washington State to Missouri to Pennsylvania, Democratic candidates found themselves on the defensive Wednesday as the Republican Party worked ferociously at every level to try to use the primary defeat of Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut to portray the opposition as the party of weakness and isolation on national security and liberal leanings on domestic policy. Doleful Democrats bemoaned the irony: At a time when Republicans should be back on their heels because of chaos abroad and President Bush's unpopularity, the Democrats' rejection of a sensible, moralistic centrist has handed the GOP a weapon that could have vast ramifications for both the midterm elections of '06 and the big dance of '08.",8599,1224692,...

Mike Allen's analysis seems like it came from Ann Coulter's diary or Sean Hannity's foaming mouth. Bottom line is that the VOTERS of Connecticut made a decision; not pundits, not talking heads, but average Democrats constituents.Any attempt to undermine Lamonts victory insults the democratic process itself. Most importantly, their choice wasn't based on liberal ideology but common sense and pragmatics. Democratic voters want a Senator who is going to stand up against the status quo where: oil companies are writing energy legislation, lobbyists and special interests rule the day, and any criticism of the Iraq war is branded as being anti-security. (Tell the latter to 60% of Americans). When Democratic politicians lend their names to this political stagnation, they cease to be bipartisan for the common interest but guardians of an out of touch governing style. However, the media trumpets this notion of a centrist Democrat as a rational, moderate, person; someone above the fray of politics willing to compromise for the better good. Yet this type of centrism which Joe Lieberman proclaims to believe in, has actually become just as stubborn and ideological as liberalism or conservatism. This centrist ideology means simply preserving the status-quo through appeasement where compromise is the ends to justify the means rather than reverse. However, this approach longer works when the political center is essentially broken, having been corrupted, and in this case, having been pushed to the extreme right. This center is no longer beneficial or even pragmatic. It is not the place for mavericks to rest their views, but a place that no longer serves the American people. Joe Lieberman's loss fires a shot to the heart of D.C. where staying the course at home and abroad is no longer acceptable. This conflict within the Democratic Pary has essentially become a battle between change and the status-quo. A Democrat may be conservative and moderate on issues, but the uniting element between all party members is the acceptance that the Bush agenda wrong for the country and therefore, must be opposed. The deadliest sin Joe Liberman committed was not being moderate since in fact on many issues he is liberal. Joe committed something far more dangerous to our party; seceding the grounds of debate to Republicans, embracing and playing to their talking points, and adopting their language. In an atmosphere where Iraq is equated with Bin Laden, "strong on defense" means blind allegiance to a war gone wrong, and fear mongering rules the day, Joe Lieberman became its center.
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spindrifter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 08:03 PM
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1. I can't buy centrism.
It simply means that you are willing to give up on your own principles. Negotiating a compromise is, of course, sometimes necessary, but sometimes you just have to take a stand. I haven't seen the Conservatives doing much centrist thinking. They are going for the throat with extreme positions and supporting them by dredging up all of these groups that carry the banner for them. We have lost a lot of ground by moving to centrist positions.
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Superman Returns Donating Member (804 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. well,
the point I was trying to make is that today's centrists are apart of a "center" that is broken. It is also unfair to characterize the hostility against them as an ideological one, being liberalism v.s moderation, but of a rising pragamaticism that is unhappy with the status-quo and direction of the country. I think there are plenty of moderate Democrats with a pragmatic ideology out there who want their elected polticians to oppose the Bush agenda. Therefore, Joe Lieberman may be a centrist in Washington but his actions are not adressing the concerns of many moderates and non-ideological voters.
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