27 Jul 2011

annoyed woman throwing paper at a man
Something struck me while reading a post on over at Teagan Goddard's Political Wire. After talking about how negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders had broken down, Goddard commented that it wasn't so much surprising that the talks broke down, but more that so many thought a significant compromise deal "was even possible". How sad is it that the American people's supposed representatives that we've sent to represent us in Congress are so out of touch with reality that they can't even come together to make any sort of meaningful compromise when faced with big, complicated issues? They seem increasing, and mistakenly, convinced that they should either get almost everything they want or just do everything they can to stop anything from happening. It's as if the two major parties are teenagers, in a tussle with each other over whose turn it is to do some chore. These kids have become so unruly that the American people (pare...

29 May 2011

coffee party not for centrists and moderates
(originally published at a now-closed moderate blog, where I wrote for a time before launching the precursor to this site) For some centrists and moderates, the development of the new 'Coffee Party USA' organization seemed like a godsend in response to the more extreme elements in the Tea Party movement. At first, I thought that this could be the grassroots movement I’d been waiting for – one that actually included centrist independents and moderates along with non-extreme liberals in a big tent, and actively worked across ideological divides to look for common ground, rather than partisan gain.In short, I was wrong. In short, after spending hundreds of hours on the group, I was wrong. I helped start, and ultimately ran, the Nebraska (and local Omaha) chapter of the Coffee Party, and given my skill set also helped upgrade sections of the national website. I was later recruited to work on a few ad hoc subcommittees that were trying to build ...

18 May 2011

A good interview on video from the John Batchelor’s radio show with centrist independent pundit John Avlon and Major Garret (who works at the National Journal now apparently) talking about Jon Huntsman’s chances in the 2012 presidential election, as well as a few issues related to the national political scene.

11 May 2011

centrist pundit John Avlon being interviewed by Solomon Kleinsmith in 2012
Solomon interviewing centrist pundit John Avlon at the 2012 conventions. There aren't too many strident centrists in the world of political punditry. Some mislabel those who strive toward journalistic integrity as being centrist, but that's just being nonpartisan. To be clear, I'm not criticizing being nonpartisan - we need genuine journalism much more than we need centrist punditry, but when I see things like this it heartens me: In April, CNN.com was up over last year with 1.45 billion global page views and 100.2 million global video views due in large part to CNN’s coverage of the Royal Wedding (see full numbers below) and CNN.com’s Opinion section. CNN.com Opinion had its best month ever with 18.9 million global page views, 61% higher than last year.  The top five writers in the Opinion section for April were CNN contributor LZ Granderson, CNN senior political analysts Gloria Borger, best-selling author Bob Greene, senior political colum...

21 Apr 2011

This post was written by me, but submitted to Ken's column at The Examiner, since he is hosting a debate between myself and William Kelleher over the pros and cons of "Top Two" primary election rules. I'm not sure I could be more against these rules, for reasons I go into below. This is a pretty important issue right now, since some activists appear to be looking to push for this in other states in coming years. CLICK HERE to see the post I'm responding to.  - Solomon Kleinsmith   Let's Get This Electoral Party Started William broke down comments I’d made into pieces, answering some, and asking questions about others. Good idea. I broke my response up into a few parts as well. He started by asking how I thought the Top Two Choke Point led to less choice. This is an easy one, which he strangely answered himself, before pretending that top two does anything to open up the process at the primary level.   Voter Choice Appa...

20 Apr 2011

It`s funny how in a moment`s notice things can change. Sometimes I think that Washington and our politicians are like teenagers. One minute they like this person, then this person is talking about this person, so they can`t like this person. Their likes and dislikes shift like the wind. I am talking about these crazy antics in the Republican side of Washington and their struggle to find their candidates for the run for President. So, this is the earliest I have called this, but here I go! It`s the official start of the silly season! We tried to hold it off as long as we could. But this season is like Xmas season to retailers. By the way, I anticipate Xmas will be bumped back to Oct. When retailers get wind that early political money is floating around they are going to want to throw the Xmas shopping season in before politician start begging Americans for their money. And before all the billions are dumped into TV and billboard ads. So, the bi...

01 Apr 2011

I have to start by making a clear distinction. I'm not sure what the details of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's idea to charge smokers and some overweight people more for their Medicaid is, and I'm not arguing for (or against) it. This post is about the idea in general. What exactly is wrong with, for example, finding out how much more the average smoker costs to cover - and perhaps not only for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but also for private health insurance - and then adding that cost to their monthly bill? The same goes for those who are obese through their choices, or any other behavioral choices that people make that has a proven connection to health outcomes that increase costs. If they have some kind of disability, hormonal imbalance or something like that, this wouldn't/ shouldn't count for them. But for everyone else, if they just choose to live that way, and make those unhealthy decisions, I not only don't see how it...

28 Mar 2011

Centrist independent pundit John Avlon has a nice piece on over at The Daily Beast, talking about president Obama's recent speech. The whole thing is good (as usual), but I particularly agree with him here: In the end, the difference between the freedom agendas of Bush and Obama might be boiled down to unilateralism versus multilateralism. Obama clearly stated “the United States will not be able to dictate the pace or scope of change... but we can make a difference.” In this worldview, the U.S. can nudge history in our desired direction—freedom and democracy—but not directly impose it. It must ultimately be earned and owned by the local countrymen. Obama’s is a worldview deeply influenced by the lessons of Iraq, essentially little “c” conservative in its reluctance to squander American blood or treasure while risking an anti-American backlash. But one vision is consistent, and it might also serve as the speech’s most enduring line: “Wherever ...

19 Mar 2011

My main and essentially only interest in politics is arguing for a new political party to replace one or both of the Democratic and Republican parties. In my opinion, something better is possible but it is unlikely to come from either party. The nature of the two political parties is human nature: Who has real power and influence in the Democratic and Republican parties? Outsiders and newcomers? Life-long insiders, hard core partisan ideologues and major campaign contributors? Neutral and objective analysts? People like you? Common sense argues the real influence is with the money and life-long, partisan insiders. The money probably carries the most weight just ahead of (or tied with) the politician's penchant to put re-election above the public interest. Why shouldn't outsiders or newcomers with no money but a good idea get a fair hearing? There are at least three good reasons: First, ordinary outsiders don't have money. Like it or not, Ame...

08 Mar 2011

Everyone knows we're driving full speed towards a fiscal cliff - the question is when we'll barrel over it, not if (assuming we don't significantly change course). I'm going to go out on a limb and say that even the politicians who don't agree know so too. I don't like making comments like that, because I don't want to pretend like I can read people's' minds and know what they are "really thinking" (like so many people do), but in this case the numbers are so clear I really don't see how all but the most ideologically extreme and hyper-partisan blind partisan could not see where we're headed. But while there is disagreement among the public chatter among politicians, there is no disagreement among the nonpartisan agencies in our government, who have been telling our "leaders" for decades that action needed to be taken to avoid eventual fiscal disaster. The latest example of this is the recently published report from the Government Accountabili...