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...

13 May 2011

As frustration builds with many (should I say, most?) voters, the call for a third party gets stronger.  With hypocrisy, corruption, and empty headed thinking abounding with both Republican and Democratic parties, the idea of a third party absent these qualities seems alluring. Is this real or simply a mirage? The odds against a third party winning a US national election are staggering.  Individual State requirements work to restrain any national candidacy.  Given today’s campaign financing expenditures, where would the money come from to support a third party. Some simplistically suggest the individual voter will abandon the major parties and flock to the third party with votes and money.   And, if your name is Bloomberg, why worry. Pundits say that President Obama will spend over $1 billion on his reelection. A third party candidate will be lost at sea. So is that it for third party power? I do not think so.    A third party candida...

27 Feb 2011

Solomon Kleinsmith links to an article by Major Garrett about the decline of centrists in Washington.  It’s actually the summation of a longer article in the National Journal about how the two political parties in Congress have grown more and more apart. Not that long ago, Washington used to be a place full of individual, and individualistic, lawmakers who were both capable and willing to defy party labels and the party orthodoxy to make things happen. That was also a world, paradoxically, where party infrastructure mattered more; a place and time when local, state, and national party machinery exerted at least some influence over candidate selection, fundraising, endorsements, and field operations. The irony is that in that era of greater party influence, lawmakers acted less predictably and with less partisan zeal. National Journal‘s vote ratings in 1982 found, to cite just one example, 60 senators who could credibly be described as operating ...

03 Feb 2011

I'm finding an unusual number of good op-eds in local papers today... This one comes from Bill King, at The Houston Chronicle. He's responding to a piece in the New York Times by Krugman, that claims we can't have a more respectable discourse because the country is too diametrically split. For anyone who actually knows their polling, this is a plainly inaccurate thing to say. King does a good job deconstructing this myth, and goes right for the jugular by talking about what is supposedly the most contentious of all... abortion: Krugman analogizes the current debate over the social safety net to the debate over abortion, an issue that he concludes the country has made no progress in resolving. But in fact, the issue has been largely resolved. For a number of years now, the polls indicate that a solid majority of Americans think that abortion is morally wrong, but are unwilling to use the police power of the state to enforce their view except i...

26 Jan 2011

I went into some more depth into why Obama can't accurately be called a centrist in my latest post at WNYC's Its a Free Country. Here's how I close it up: To call Obama a centrist, with all of the above evidence otherwise, requires a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be a centrist, or a deliberate attempt to paint him as something he isn’t for some other purpose. This spin might work for those who are angry at him for not being liberal enough, or for those who do not have time to delve past the political spin that dominates our discourse, among other reasons, but it's not fooling me. We'll never really know if those who are biting on this just misunderstand what it means to be a centrist, or are deliberately painting him as such for some reason, but click through to the post and you'll see how plain it is to see that he's no centrist. Read on at It's a Free Country »...

11 Jan 2011

As I'm preparing to host the first No Labels local chapter meeting here in Omaha this evening, I came across this great short post at the Tucson Citizen talking about how the timing for No Labels to come along and attempt to dial down the rhetoric couldn't be better. A sample: How timely for this organization to just be coming out of the shoot.  The fueling of partisan polarities by pugnacious pundits who are plugging books or promoting their positional pomposity would do well to be portioned away from poisonous political piss and focus on E Pluribus Unum. If the Congress can take a break from their agenda, so can the Main Stream Media and 24/7 Cable news that feeds at the trough of  triviality and  travail. Maybe  the nations Poet Laureate can team up with the nations Psychiatrist and speak to us about the concept of maturity. Well said. (apologies for the lack of a link to the original article - it has been taken down)...

08 Jul 2010

a lighthouse in front of the Sleeping Giant at Thunder Bay
I was just thinking to myself just now that this is a great week to start a blog that will be tracking the 'rise of the center' (I should name something after that... wait...) of American politics, with all that has been coming out about centrist independents and moderates, but as I wrote those words just now, it occurred to me that this isn't an abnormal week at all. Over the last few months, I've been digging around for high quality centrist and independent bloggers, columnists and organizations, signing up for their email lists, RSS feeds and any other communications they have. What I've found, but is really only now just starting to sink in, is that it isn't so much that there isn't a constant stream of positive news coming out of what I call the 'centrist groundswell', but its that its so spread out that most centrists and moderates don't notice. That's not merely because we don't have a remotely fair number of centrist voices in the media,...