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April 18, 2014

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A centrist’s look at a wide divide

Another view?

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Being a centrist, I can look at the extreme right and left and find flaws in both groups.

If I were on the far right, I would complain that the left is always blaming George Bush — even now — for things that have occurred since he left office. I would tell the world that the numbers don’t lie; we can look at deficits and connect them to the present administration.

If I were on the far left, I would complain that I am tired of hearing that President Barack Obama was elected only because those who voted for him were the same people who support getting stuff from the government without working for it. I would tell the world that a better reason that Mitt Romney lost the election was that there were not sufficient people who liked him enough to vote for him.

The truth is that neither the far right nor the far left wants to hear from a centrist. Both groups need to hold on to their petty arguments, no matter how weak they are, because they know that the electorate that leans their way will listen to them, and they couldn’t care less about the rest of the people.

But, being a centrist, I am very disappointed with the way America has become divided, not just in Washington, but in neighborhoods, in cities, and in states. Yes, we live in a flawed nation, but we must ask what our own efforts have been to bring people together or keep them divided. Do we really like living in a divided nation?

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  1. Much of what was said in this comment is true, but until more Americans are suffering more economically, too many of us will remain glued to the 'present' Republicans or Democrats.

    If the sequester were to go through but both sides worked to minimize the worst of its effects, it would show that 1) Congress realizes that spending must be reduced and 2) that Congress realizes that compromise is required to work toward the greater good.

    Unfortunately, I believe the sequester will go through and the results won't be mitigated. This is another example of too many in Congress that don't belong there ... in both parties. The sooner Americans realize this and exact punishment at the ballot box, the better off we will be.

    Get new people in Congress and call for term limits, public financing of campaigns and lobbying reform.

    Michael

  2. I'm often viewed as 'middle of the road' or a 'fense sitter', etc. Here's some food for thought:

    Definition of radical: favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions

    My views include voting out present members of Congress from both parties; insisting that Congress impose term limits on itself; insisting that Congress enact public financing of campaigns and lobbying reform laws; insisting that Congress reform internal Congressional rules that allow small numbers of members to wield great power and allow members to remain anonymous at times; changing debate rules so that 3rd parties cannot so easily be kept out, etc.

    Ask yourselves how many people support that and call for it as I do? Not many.

    I am middle of the road in that I lay the blame evenly between our two parties, but my solutions are more radical than middle of the road.

    Michael

  3. The extremists of both parties are the loudest and they always have been. We'd all be better off if we paid more attention to the content and less to the volume.

  4. Good letter. I would add one more point that always troubles me. When extremists on both sides exhibit hypocrisy in their thoughts and actions. I can listen and learn from all sides and sources UNLESS and UNTIL they are hypocrites. Then everything said and done up to and after, loses all ideological and philosophical credibility.

    CarmineD

  5. Funny how all of the commentors see themselves as "middle-of-the-road." Balderdash - for the most part. "Middle-of-the-road" for most of them means "My way or we'll force you to surrender with liberty stealing laws." I am not "middle-of-the-road" with the exception that I hold all slimeball politicans to a higher standard then, say, used car salesmen or lawyers. I am not "middle-of-the-road" when our liberties are being squeezed by leftists bent on turning the United States into a Third-World country or into a parasities paradise! Leftists are more destructive to our way of life than most anything else I can imagine (Osama Obama tops the list) and we ignore their agenda at our own peril! Don't be cowed by their intimidation tactics. Our greatest enemies come from within, so stay alert and don't give an inch or they will take a mile!

  6. Mr. DiFazio's concern regarding "ideological and philosophical credibility" is an insightful summary of modern conservatism. Many people on the right seem fixated on pop-culture political theory (the Ayn Randian reference above to "parasites" is the perfect example) rather than EVIDENCE.

    Tax cuts do not pay for themselves. Tax benefits for the wealthy do not "trickle down." Concentrating wealth in the hands of a few does not "create" jobs. There's overwhelming EVIDENCE on all of these issues, yet roughly half of the country still clings to these fictions based solely on ideology.

    Those in the center have a duty to dispell these myths, rather than simply creating false equivalencies and blaming both sides for our current state of affairs.

  7. Right now, both parties, Democrats and Republicans are playing to the base of each party. It is the base that will continue to re-elect representatives to the House and Senate. State support, state elections. Much of what we hear and see in Washington comes from individuals and groups having no fear of being replaced. Gridlock and obstruction is freely practiced without accountability. Both sides are guilty.

    However, there is a miscalculation on the Republican side. Being, much of what the Republicans have done is to stop President Obama. Republicans efforts the last 4 years was to replace President Obama on November 6, 2012 with Mitt Romney. That didn't go well. Still, House and Senate Republicans are opposing the President with the same tactics used in their unsuccessful efforts to replace him. President Obama is not running for Office, or running for President in 2016. Bottom line, the Republican are painting and framing their party into corner come 2014 and 2016.

    The President is not running for office in 2014, or 2016.
    So, who or what will be the bad guy, or poster child for the Republicans to run against?

    The face of obstruction and gridlock in America is the Republican Party. This is the picture the majority of America voters will perceive come election day in 2014 and 2016.

    The hole the Republicans dug for the President, now is their home. As we can see, they are digging deeper.

  8. For those of you still glued to one party or the other, I'll simply point out the following.

    Despite what President Obama claims, little to nothing will be done about the tax code that allows businesses like Microsoft, Google, News Corp, Boeing, Pfizer, Oracle, Philip Morris, IBM, Time Warner, Morgan Stanley and many others to avoid paying income taxes amounting to many billions of dollars.

    The reason has little to do with 'party' and everything to do with 'process'. All these companies have armies of lobbyists and the clout to assist or damage political parties and individual members of Congress.

    The laws that allow this tax avoidance were passed by Congresses and signed by Presidents .... OF BOTH PARTIES and it continues to this very day. THIS IS THE "PROCESS" that is in place.

    While our representatives IN BOTH PARTIES argue over tax increases or budget cuts, this tax revenue continues to be 'lost'.

    If President Obama or anyone in Congress were really serious about this tax travesty and others, they would (specifically - note I said 'specifically' - not this general talk of plugging loopholes) point it out and call for the needed changes. If reporters can talk about this issue in 'specifics', so can our elected leaders.

    They don't talk specifics and act because these 'giants' don't want them to and will punish anyone that does. THAT'S THE REALITY PEOPLE!

    Support getting the present people out of office, term limits, public financing of campaigns and we can force a change in the 'process'. It's the only way our country stands a chance!

    Michael

  9. "It is the base that will continue to re-elect representatives to the House and Senate." - Longtimevegan

    I disagree with this in that I feel it is the moderates and independents who are responsible.

    In rough terms, both of the current major parties can claim only 35% of the population as their "base", respectively. It is the independents and moderates who continue to accept only the choices presented by the major parties that put them in power time after time.

    Our country became polarized politically at the time of the Civil War. Before then, it was not uncommon for third parties to gain a significant amount of votes and become major players. That has not been the case since then.

    The great, devastating divide we see today has its roots in that. I think there are two "trigger" events that expanded the divide to what we see today.
    The first was when the so-called Dixiecrats were defeated by large blocks of both Democrats and Republicans over the Civil Rights Act, leading to the Southern Democrats becoming Republicans.

    The second was when Reagan openly invited the "Moral Majority" to claim the Republican Party as their own.

    The put both race and religion in play as primary determining factors for political alignment. As long as this continues to be the case centrists, moderates and independents are going to have a rough time coming together.

  10. "Mr. DiFazio's concern regarding "ideological and philosophical credibility" is an insightful summary of modern conservatism." Emthree

    I'm an independent. I vote the candidate not the party. Over my entire political voting career I am rated as left of center on the major current political issues of the times. How about you?

    CarmineD

  11. There's nothing wrong with being a middle-of-the- roader, providing you're not road kill. But if you are in the middle stand for something! Other wise you'll fall for anything.

  12. This nation has always been as divided as can be. The letter writer has obviously forgotten about the Civil War. The South didn't want to give up their cheap labor so they made arguments to the effect that black people weren't human beings and shouldn't have the rights that human beings have.

    Remember women's suffrage. Imagine those darn women wanting the right to vote. Everyone knows that women can make those kinds of important decisions.

    This country has had to deal with everything from race riots to labor riots and very unpopular wars. You name it! Every generation thinks their generation is different and that their problems are unique, when in reality it's just the same old crap!

    I had to deal with massive rioting as a policeman. I'll take disagreements over budgetary matters any day of the week.

    The fact that were arguing over sequestration when the vast majority of Americans don't even have a clue as to what it means, leads me to believe were living in the most peaceful at least divided times in US history.

  13. Fiscal scolds are really radical liberatarians that want to drowned the government in the bath tub. A certain party that emerged in central europe in the 1930's was considered at the time to be centrist.

  14. There is absolutely no reason why a candidate for office should not promote issues such as civil rights for gays and at the same time call for a government that is more of a referee as opposed to being an active player in some areas.

    The two are not mutually exclusive.

    But it is almost impossible for such a candidate to exist in either of the major parties as they formulate their ideals today. This is the source of the frustration that so many people like Mr. Anderson, Michael and Bradley must feel at the ballot box.

    I say find candidates outside of the major parties who do cross over the established lines and support them to the fullest extent possible. There is no need or reason to merely follow the herd and not exercise the political freedom we have.

    Disclaimer: most people know by now that I hold official positions at both the State and National levels with the Modern Whig Party so this comment might be construed as self-serving. That said, it was exactly the lack of "cross-over" candidates that led me to look in other directions than merely left and right.

  15. Mr. Anderson,

    Most of the problems we face today are the cumulative result of too many "centrists" and a multitude of wishy-washy-go-along-to-get-along-don't-rock-the-boat policies.

    Can anyone EVEN imagine the founders of this country wearing Centrist as some sort of badge of honor?

    Stay between the lines there, Anderson. You will stay safe there - uhm, er, uhm, until you aren't!

    Purgatory

  16. According to Scalia voting is an entitlement; he ought to resign and climb under a rock.These deficit scolds really ought to change the name of their party to the predator capitalist party.

  17. Purgatory,

    Assuming you meant "framers" instead of "founders" then yes, they can be seen as being "centrist" in a few ways, most noticeably in setting up our two chambers in Congress with both fixed and proportional representation, the Electoral College and the (infamous) Three Fifths compromise.

    I tend to favor being pragmatic as opposed to centrist since it is not always desirable to compromise between two positions, but to recognize one as being superior and going with it, regardless of where it originates.

  18. boftx,

    Yes, I did mean "framers" of our Constitution. Also, I am "opposed to centrist since it is not always desirable to compromise between two positions..."

    Moreover, they may have been "centrist" at the Constitutional Convention, but none would have ever made to Philadelphia in 1787 if they lived Anderson's definition of "centrist."

    I prefer the philosophical over the semantic. I will leave semantics to the rest of all y 'all.

    Purgatory

  19. Too often the assumption is made that political, economic and cultural philosophy follows a one dimensional line. Right to left or vice versa with a spongy middle. Of course it's far more complex than that as evidenced by comments on the Sun's many threads. Up here in rural Washington we have die-hard conservatives who are enthusiastic fans of public power and federal irrigation, normally considered socialistic schemes. One of the practical benefits of the American system of politics and governance is that we can stake out specific positions on issues which may conflict with the stated philosophy we claim to favor. I call myself a progressive libertarian....big government for a few big ticket things but otherwise leave me and everyone else alone. I wouldn't describe myself as anywhere near the center but I'll always compromise with folks willing to compromise.

  20. Being centrist is like being half pregnant, either you believe in something or you don't. Nowdays most contrists are actually conservatives. Take a look at Brill's article in Time this week Pat Hayes he talks about one of your "big ticket" items which prey on the rest of us.

  21. The radical and religious right have pulled so far right that moderate Republicans are now liberal by comparison. The left didn't have to move at all. Anyone speaking common sense about where the party is and has headed are referred to as RINO. When are people going to realize the country is now center left and adjust to a new attitude? I, in my wildest dreams or nightmares would ever think I would agree with Karl Rove, but he's absolutely right. The Republican Party will suffer because of clowns who run losing campaigns or the clowns who were recently elected. It'll be a long time before they get into the White House and there is a strong possiblity they will lose The House of Reps as well.

  22. boftx,

    Moderates and Independent voters make the difference in National Elections. State and Local elections are dominated by a candidate's party base. It the base of the party that will elect or re-elect democrats or republicans in state elections.

    You are correct, that moderates and independent are responsible. Because they do not participant in State and Local elections like they do in National Elections.

    Now, there will be a shift come 2014 with several Republicans in the south who think they are safe because of the new voting procedures and gerrymandering. This will not save a few.

    Expect the House of Representatives to change hands in 2014. It will be by a slim margin, but it will change hands. The difference will be female candidates. That is how the democrats will regain control of the House. The numbers are there, the information points in this direct.

  23. The Words of a Reasonable Man.

    "I am not a centrist. I am the founding member of the Truthseeker Party. No one is invited to join."

    "All are invited to replicate my party of one."

    "I take every issue, see who is closest to the truth, and side with them." (JeffFromLasVegas)

    I wanted to add,
    "The Truth spoken by anyone will be heard."
    (Longtimevegan)

  24. Center Obama already. More nonsense sound bites on de minimus spending cuts. The ABSURDITY of "good for economy" to pull money out of our checks (taxes) to increase/maintain government spending on things that are NOT making it as far as priorities and needs. Taking our money to support drugers, illegals, and chronic-takers is NOT helping and is HURTING OUR ECONOMY. STOP SPENDING. Allow us to spend what we EARN.

  25. The takers are the rich people who've rigged the economy and defunded the government- Bert !