13 Sep 2018

Image of burning money, symbolizing our nation's fiscal insanity
Fiscally sane commentators are abuzz with the stark data coming out of the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, showing our nation's dire deficit situation after 11 months of this fiscal year have passed. As has been the case for a long time, the primary problem boils down to one simple fact... Partisan Ideologues Refuse to Accept Basic Fiscal Math Every time either major party has had control of the White House and Congress, they've pushed through legislation that made the debt and deficit worse, while rejecting plans (like the Simpson-Bowles Debt Commission recommendations, or Rivlin-Domenici from the Bipartisan Policy Center) that would start lowering the debt to manageable levels that don't pose a serious threat to our economic future, and stop stealing so much from our children, their children and future generations. That's true for both major parties, but the party, and administration, currently in power is - as it has with s...

08 Apr 2018

Owl looking askew - for post on Modern Whig Party and national centrist party stategy
I don't talk about this much because, well - I don't see the point in beating a horse that is not only dead, but has been dead for nearly 170 years, as the Whig Party has been. But one of the Modern Whig Party's most active proponents asked, and it tied in with in a guest post by Mike Wallach a couple weeks back, that I promised I'd respond to, so here we are. -SK Not Critiquing the Right-Leaning to Centrist Modern Whig Party I'll preface this by pointing out that I'm not critiquing the Modern Whigs here, or the center-right in general, but rather just responding to a question and another blog post. Do I have strategic constructive criticism for the Modern Whig Party organization? Sure, and maybe I'll get into that some other time, but this conversation is about a big picture idea - namely: Where a centrist party wants to pitch it's political tent on the American political spectrum, and why. I initially had the question in question (that's ...

21 Feb 2018

I don't read the Journal, save for a rare link that comes across my feed - like this one. I've heard that it's gotten worse over the last few years, so maybe this isn't as far from their norm as it seems like it should be, but when someone sends you an article, ostensibly about centrists, from a major newspaper - authored by someone who works at Brookings no less... I just didn't expect to find something so overflowing with completely false information about what centrists think, who we are and blaming moderates for things we aren't even involved with. I had to respond.   The Democratic Ideal & False Centrist Stereotypes The first few sentences seemed to be headed in a good direction. He began by speaking about how respect for the outcome of elections is on the decline (I agree), but then first goes off the rails here: "...disrespect for democratic outcomes has become particularly acute on the center-left." That just plain isn't true. ...

16 Dec 2017

John Neely Kennedy
First in our new series aiming to highlight and commend partisan figures who rise above partisan pressure to do the right thing, our inaugural Transpartisan Trophy goes to Louisiana Republican Senator John Neely Kennedy, for fairly and directly highlighting the inadequate qualifications of a Trump court nominee. Kennedy's Transpartisan Trial for Peterson A great way to kick off this new series, there's a lot to like about this case. Not only so we have a Republican US Senator rising above partisan pressure to fairly lightlight the wea poor choice for a nominee to a high court, but his actions are also being dishonestly hyped by most of the stories I could find in the media (across the spectrum). The reality here is that Louisiana Republican John Neely Kennedy merely fulfilled his constitutionally stipulated responsibility. If you didn't know what the Constitution says the US Senate's job here is, and just read most coverage of this in the med...

11 Dec 2017

Roy Moore's Broken Oath
Amending our Constitution is very difficult (as it should be), but 17 Amendments have been ratified since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. Some of them are rather integral to our democracy, and valued across the political spectrum, but apparently Roy Moore thinks getting rid of all 17 would "eliminate many problems". Moore's Troubling Interview with Blight Wing Conspiracy Theorist A few years back, Roy Moore went on a controversial radio program and said some rather disturbing things. This radio host believes not only in a range of conspiracy theories that place him, along with Moore, squarely in what I call the 'blight wing' (the very worst elements of the extreme right), but he even thinks a Constitutional Amendment should be passed that would erase all of the Amendments past the first ten / Bill of Rights. Sorry ladies - no vote for you, and what could possibly be wrong about getting rid of the ban on slavery...? Roy Moore, who had...

06 Dec 2017

susan collins with capital dome
A couple days ago, centrists were disappointed to hear that center-right Republican Susan Collins ended up voting for the atrocious tax bill Republicans have been pushing for weeks. The reason she gave for voting that way has been shown to be an empty promise, so will she change her vote? Susan Collins' Disappointing, but Not Surprising, Tax Vote For weeks before the vote in question, Susan Collins had been publicly on the fence. One can never really know what a politician is secretly thinking, but - perhaps feeling pressure from her party after voting against them so much recently - it seemed as though she was looking for reasons to vote for this bill. Disappointing as her vote was, especially given conflicting stances she's taken in the past about the national debt and deficit spending, this is going to happen sometimes with moderates who lean one way or the other (and illustrates why we need more than a few centrists for the fulcrum strate...

02 Dec 2017

centrist republican Susan Collins
The idea that a few independent centrists in the US Senate could block the worst hyper-partisan legislation is a great medium-term goal, and should work sometimes. Ultimately though, we need more than just a few votes - especially if we want it to do more than just stonewall the worst legislation or be a 'caucus of no'. The Centrist Fulcrum Strategy - Our Medium Term Goal I'd heard of the concept now called the 'fulcrum strategy' before, but Charles Wheelan's book 'The Centrist Manifesto', subsequent writing and media appearances, as well as The Centrist Project (dark money group that supports independents running for office) organization he launched have definitely done more to convince people of its merits than everyone else put together (and then some). There is nothing faulty about the concept itself, and the core concept it sound. A few centrist votes in the US Senate could block either side from a majority, block them from pushing throu...

22 Nov 2017

banner for term limits post
The argument for term limits is one of those rare cases that you can accurately apply the label of 'transpartisan'. For as long as I can remember, since I began engaging in political activity in the late '90s, polls have shown a super-majority of US citizens - myself very much included - support this idea, but apparently scientific studies in recent years now lend objective, measurable credence to the old truism that 'power corrupts'.  Research Shows Keeping Power for Long Dulls Empathetic Neural Processing A wonderful long-read article on the subject, by Jerry Useem at The Atlantic, outlines several lines of research that all point to the conclusion that there is a strong correlation between the collection of power (be is political, social, economic, etc) and a range of negative behaviors. These negative behaviors aren't merely bad habits, but - according to the evidence collected - stem from measurable neural impairment. That's right - powe...

16 Oct 2017

quote of centrist Republican Susan Collins on why she decided to stay in the Senate
The last decade has been an unmitigated disaster for centrists and moderates on both sides. For every Angus King, Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, there has been a dozen Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz'. As the two major parties abandoned us and created a vacuum, the political center in the U.S. has been in disarray. With a fraction of a percent of the funding the two major parties have at their disposal, having to start from close to scratch, without an organizational infrastructure or army of trained staff like we used to have when we were still welcome under major party tents - even though conditions are better than ever for a centrist movement to be sparked, we're still seeing very little electoral progress. While there are miles of electoral hurdles the two major parties have put up to make it harder for independents (centrist or otherwise) to participate equally in our increasingly undemocratic democratic republic, by far the biggest thing holdi...

16 Sep 2017

two-faced Trump is no independent
None of us can do much more than speculate over what President Trump's motivations were for siding with Democrats over the short term debt ceiling deal, but we can say that doing so doesn't magically make him an independent (much less a centrist), no matter how many absurd articles claim otherwise. Trump is a Nontraditional Republican - Not Centrist or Independent Donald Trump is as much of an independent centrist as water is dry. Not only is he a member of a party, which precludes someone from being an independent - by definition, but he's the leader of that party. Him not being the leader or a member of one of the two primary factions - establishment mainstream conservatives or Tea Party right wingers - doesn't mean he's not a Republican. Like it or not, he's a Republican. He defeated a slate of people who are what those pretending that Trump is a centrist and/or independent in a Republican primary. Millions of Republicans flocked to his ra...