Will The Real Centrists Please Stand Up

Kevin Drum adopts a straw man:

CENTRISM....Yes, centrism can be a tic. Yes, it's often favored by DC pundits who automatically assume that bipartisanship is an inherent good regardless of its outcome. Yes, it can sometimes be a substitute for real thought. That said, I hope the liberal blogosphere doesn't get into the habit of automatically trashing centrist positions simply out of pique against some of centrism's more annoying practitioners. After all, trying to govern solely via populist intuition won't work any better than relying on a bunch of blue ribbon commissions.

Centrism is not a tic - it is a myth. A myth with political benefits. I am a centrist I proclaim and have for years.

I tell you who is not a centrist - John McCain, Joe Lieberman, David Broder, Joe Klien, et al. These are Republicans and Republican apologists.

I wish Kevin would not buy into these things. He is a sharp guy with a centrist reputation and can help us on this. I bet I agree with Kevin on issues as much as I agree with any other blogger. I really believe that. The differences between us are stylistic not substantive. And also I am much more critical of self-styled Centrists than he is.

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    I am so sick and tired of this... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Bill Arnett on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 01:55:21 PM EST
    ..."centrist" crap where we're all supposed to join hands with rethugs that would cut them off at our wrist to steal our wristwatches, sing Kumbaya, and run towards the center.

    I say again:  WE WON BECAUSE OF WHERE WE STAND NOW, not where someone else wants us to go.

    WE WON and the rethugs, in a screaming panic attack seek to regain the upper hand by forcing us to CHANGE, which is naught but self-serving horse puckey.

    WE ARE WHERE WE STOOD AND WON THE ELECTION and calls to change are not going to benefit us.

    The shoe is on the other hand now (heh) and the rethugs better recognize that THEY need to change or be relegated to obscurity.

    What (none / 0) (#8)
    by aw on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 03:43:30 PM EST
    a clear way you have of putting things, Bill.

    Why, thank you, ma'am! (none / 0) (#14)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 03:15:02 PM EST
    I only wish it was true (none / 0) (#10)
    by Peaches on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 04:49:20 PM EST
    We won,

    Because our republic finally worked. It did not work becuase Americans were afraid for our Bill of Rights. Americans finally came to their senses about the War and the fact that we are losing it. If we were winning the war the election would have told a different story and the preemptive invasion of Iraq would have been just fine by most Americans

    Where are the calls for a recall of the military tribunal act?

    Michael Ventura makes some great points here.


    recall of the military tribunal act? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 05:10:52 PM EST
    Thursday, November 02, 2006
    Military Commissions Act argued unconstitutional
    [JURIST] Lawyers representing detainees held in the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] Wednesday petitioned [brief, PDF; second brief, PDF] the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to declare a portion of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [PDF text; JURIST news archive] unconstitutional. A key provision in the act, which was signed into law [JURIST report] by US President George Bush last month, strips US courts of jurisdiction to consider writs of habeas corpus filed by detainees who are detained as enemy combatants [JURIST news archive].

    Anyone know when we might expect a decision from the Court of Appeals, or if one has been made?


    Those tough dems (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 05:39:21 PM EST
    Leahy, the incoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee, voted against the Military Commissions Act and denounced its habeas provisions in especially harsh terms. But there are no signs that the new Democratic majority will take on habeas corpus anytime soon. Few Democratic politicians seem enthusiastic about proposing legislation that will principally benefit accused Al Qaeda terrorists, and, in the unlikely event that Democrats passed such a bill, it would face a certain veto from President Bush. The Supreme Court - not Congress - is likely to be the only hope for a change in the law."This is definitely not going to be the first thing out of the box for us," one Democratic Senate staffer said. "We make fun of Specter, but we're basically leaving it up to the Courts, too."

    tristero at hullabaloo From a
    New Yorker article that is well worth a read.


    What about us? (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by aw on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:23:40 PM EST
    Few Democratic politicians seem enthusiastic about proposing legislation that will principally benefit accused Al Qaeda terrorists

    This was like the law that killed the constitution.   Aside from benefiting accused terrorists by having fair proceedings, what about us?  I thought anybody could be locked up or disappeared, citizen or no.  If anything needs an intense national debate, this does.  


    Sounds kind of muddy and mushy to me (4.00 / 1) (#1)
    by aw on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 11:21:11 PM EST
    After all, trying to govern solely via populist intuition won't work any better than relying on a bunch of blue ribbon commissions.

    When has the US ever been governed solely by populist intuition?  For that matter, what is populist intuition?  Does it mean "what the people are thinking?"  If that's the case, can we do any worse at this point?

    As for centrism, I don't think we can agree what that means, either. It's just another stupid buzzword.

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (4.00 / 1) (#3)
    by cpinva on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:11:12 AM EST
    ok, i consider myself a social liberal: the govt, for the most part, has no business injecting itself into your personal business, absent a compelling public policy need. regulating the safety and quality of drugs; regulating the financial markets for transparency; providing a decent basic education for all children, etc.

    i am a fiscal conservative: you shouldn't spend more than you take in, absent a compelling national emergency. if a program has no legitimate public policy basis, get rid of it. no pork barrel spending, etc.

    where does that put me?

    where does that put me? (4.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 12:55:44 PM EST
    At the opposite end of the spectrum from bush/cheney/gop and their supporters. Which is why they try to paint those views as far left moonbat thinking, to try to justify themselves.

    Where it really puts you is in the reality and reason and common sense based world.


    A reasonablist (4.00 / 1) (#6)
    by aw on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 01:13:09 PM EST
    I don't remember ever having heard anyone I know describing themselves as centrist.  I'm hoping the term will be retired in January.

    Where does that put you? (none / 0) (#4)
    by aw on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:25:22 AM EST
    I think you are the best judge of that.  Would you consider yourself a "centrist"?  You tell us.

    well aw, i always thought i was (4.00 / 1) (#9)
    by cpinva on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 04:42:33 PM EST
    a realist.

    i really believe in the constitution, bill of rights and all.

    i really believe in fiscal conservatism, on a personal, professional (i'm a cpa, it's an occupational hazard! :)) and public level.

    i really believe that the govt's job is to do what's best for the country as a whole, not just for a few influentional people, even should that prove unpopular.

    i really believe our elected representatives have a responsibility to the entire citizenry, not just those in their home states.

    jefferson believed that an educated, informed public was the best defense of democracy.

    i really believe mr. jefferson was correct.

    as i read through this, i really believe i'm naive. :)


    numeric literacy (none / 0) (#2)
    by chemoelectric on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 11:40:28 PM EST
    I have reason to suspect that Kevin Drum has a problem with numeric literacy, which could affect ability to visualize political polarity. In the early days of the Iraq occupation, one week (or whatever the time unit was) the death toll was less than the previous week's, and Drum took this to mean things were getting better. How could anyone jump to such a conclusion? When I looked at the same data on a graph which was well known on the net, the pattern was clearly a constant rate of dead American fighters, to within smale-scale fluctuations, a pattern that lasted for quite a while.