The Triumph of Centrism

I’m weary of any victory of such an artifact as “Centrism”. It’s not to say that there is “nothing in the middle of the road but road kill”, but it is to say that too often a false metaphor has been foistered upon us altogether.

The media loves the “Center”. But, to a great extent, they define what this point is. The public always loves to consider themselves right there … in the center… not too far left, not to far right, but oh-so-independant. Generally, they don’t really pay attention, and talking heads come out at you and chime out a “Center Ground” benefitting the powerful for the masses to stand in.

Oh, Compromise is good. You work to get the most acceptable part of the two competing sides, while limiting to the extent that you can what you consider the worst part of the other side. Settle on half a loaf with too many poppy-seeds instead of no loaf. Call this Moderation. Centrism, on the other hand, is a cynical game of constant calibration… which falls you to the point where the powers that be want you to be at.

Imagine a debate about how to handle an impovershed neighborhood. One side suggests a series of tax initiatives and business incentives to attempt to spur economic growth within this poverty-strickened part of town. The other side suggests a systematic execution of the neighborhood and creation of Concentration Camps. This is an extreme example, but find for me a Center here.

What amuses me most about the “Great Compromise” made by McCain — Warner — Nelson — Lieberman, et al is the laudotory praise of the Press. I won’t judge the Democrats’ calibrations, though they were in a politically weak position. I’d like to hope that this throws Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson past the finish line in his deep red state (perhaps more important a distinction, Diebold state) race. But keeping in mind what this compromise was…

To avert a vote to declare a completely fictious premise that Judicial Filibusters are Unconstitutional. Sometimes, in trying to see the forest for the tree, you lose sight of the tree. The Republican position was an absurdity. The deal… to avert this Constitutional Crisis that the Republican Party and Bill Frist were ready to create… more or less places the deference of when the Democrats may filibuster future judges on the seven Republican dealmakers. They get to decide the definition of “extraordinary circumstance“, and good grasp on falling back in line with Bill Frist on the “Nuclear Option” if such a time merits. Such is the Center. Such is the game of the Centrist Democrats, and for that matter the Democratic Leadership itself in this deal.

Do with that what you must.

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