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Posted by on Oct 29, 2006 in At TMV | 15 comments

Is A Centrist Movement Imminent?

From Paul Silver at Austin Centrist:

The ranks of independent voters is swelling while those of Ds and Rs is declining.

While the idea of a Third Party doesn’t seem to gain much traction, a Centrist Movement aimed at promoting Centrists of either party seems to be a path of far less resistance.

The definition of “Centrist” is becoming more clear: Trans-ideological, pragmatic, semi-secular,

An increasing number of prominent personalities are talking like Centrists: Barack Obama, Colin Powell, John Danforth, John Kerrey, Joe Lieberman, Mark Warner, Rudy Guiliani, Michael Bloomberg, Lincoln Chaffee, Michael Dewine, Arnold Schwarenegger, occasionally John McCain, Hillary Clinton, The NE Senators…

There are Centrist Groups that are ripe for trans-ideological collaboration: The DLC, Republican Mainstreet Partnership, It’s My Party Too, Dems for Joe…

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • Andrew

    Centrism is a tedious and disasterous distraction that has led to the takeover of government by the extreme right wing. Few people are more responsible for the mainstreaming of right wing views than centrists like Lieberman. They provide a guise of bipartisanship to the ridiculously partisan.

    Morever, right wingers + centrists does not equal moderate government and anyone who thinks so is a fool. Centrism as an ends in and of itself is also without any value.

  • SurgeJack

    Centrism is the term given to incorporating the corruption and unprincipled power brokers of the political spectrum into one roof. To imply that centrism has anything to do with actual moderacy, or that moderacy in politics is any hint of genius is to ignore the fact that the only thing centrism has ever done effectively is play as big an obstacle to progress as it does a lending hand to oblivious disaster.

  • grognard

    Andrew, “Dancing with the Stars� is on. If the organizations outlined in the story were able to take that big step and work across party lines that might be the start of an influential moderate movement. Maybe it is not so much that we need a third party, what might work as well is to work at getting moderates nominated by both parties and give them a support base similar to the support systems of the left and right.

  • grognard

    SurgeJack, your analysis of the moderate movement is brilliant and informative, no need to say anything else, you hit the nail on the head. Now you can go back to watching “Dancing with the Stars“, mission accomplished here.

  • Pyst

    “The DLC, Republican Mainstreet Partnership, It’s My Party Too, Dems for Joe.”

    DLC…hell no, bunch of corporate NAFTA loving scum.
    RMP…don’t know much about them so I’ll hold off saying anything.
    Joe Liberman’s zombies….hehe…hehehehe…no I already don’t like Bushite Republicans.

    Enough centerists voted for Bush the first time, and I normally expect centerist’s to be pickier than the ones that chose an obvious underachiver that time. But in ’04 centerist gave the job back to an obvious trainwreck, and that really disappointed me because it was clear as day how much of an underachiver he was by then.

    But I still choose the centerist’s over the extremist’s, and will forever do so. Hopefully the ones that voted for Bush have slapped themselves by now.

  • vwcat

    I don’t agree with the other people. I see the centrists as a new one. Not like before. These are the people who are re-energizing the democrats and helping them to rediscover thier roots. Bring us back to the party of FDR and Kennedy and rid it of the silliness. The new centrists will help bring a more cohesive and strong image and redefine us as a party of practicality and realism.
    More grounded.
    You see the problems the gop is having moving to the far right. It causes splintering, triviality, partisanship and attracts the people who don’t appreciate the workings of government or the country or it’s people. It brings about this ends justify means mentality.
    I see the far fringes as destructive. I’ve seen what happened to the dems the last couple decades and I want a strong and respected party like they were before that. I want it to be a party with realism and pragmatism.
    It’s also destructive to go as far left as the gop is right. We have seen these past years the results of it as our country is slowly being destroyed by ideology.

  • Lynx

    Sometimes I wonder if the self labeling of “independents” is growing a tad artificially. I’ll explain:

    It used to be that you could call yourself a Democrat or a Republican and still be a regular voter, albiet with a clear preference. You were allowed to disagree with your party on certain things. Now the feeling is that if you say you’re a D or an R then you suddenly have the responsibility of agreeing with or explaining any crazy shit that comes out of your party. Many people may feel that they have to be rabid partisans in order to really be a Democrat or a Republican. That could make many people self identify as independent, not because they really would vote for any party as long as it’s ideas are good. I would guess that plenty of republicans-turned-independent will still only vote republican or at the most not vote. Same for Dems. My feeling is that allthough more people identify as Independents that doesn’t mean that they’ve changed at all, just that they got rid of a label that is associated with too much dirt.

    It may be a cynical way of seeing things, but ’04 made me lose a lot of belief in people’s ability or willingness to inform themselves before they vote.

  • grognard

    Yes being referred to as “NAFTA loving scumâ€? does endear me to the left of Democratic party, in much the same way that being referred to as a “moronâ€? by Coulter has endeared me to the right of the Republican party. Looks like I need to “informâ€? myself with some Michael Moore movies. Nah, I‘m depressed, it‘s time to watch “Dancing with the Stars“.

  • SnarkyShark

    So called centerist helped re-elect Bush in 2004 out of cowardice. They had a conipcition fit about Joe being ousted by the Democrats, when now it becomes patently obvious that Joe was more of a minion of Rove than anything.

    With that going for them, why would the mythological centerist deserve anymore credibility than anyone else?

    Especially when that credibility mantle is self proclaimed?

    Centerism didnt keep us from stomping the gas pedal in our speed-run down Overthecliff Ave. In fact a lot of so called centerist seemd to be screaming “faster,faster!”

    So you’ll excuse me if I don’t join you in holding your breath for that white knight of centerism that is going to save us all.

    I would like a pony though!

  • SnarkyShark

    When I say Joe, I mean Leiberman.

  • Pyst

    Ok grog, how has NAFTA worked out? You do remember the DLC memebers were the ones that created a trade agreement unfair to the country they live in right? And the only people to vote agaisnt it were Democrats of non-DLC leanings. That agreement is why China is the monster it is for us economically now, but where are the DLCers on amending NAFTA to make it fair to us?

  • grognard

    The center will always be pounded for not voting the “right� way. Problem one is that the center is not monolithic, there are no raging moderate pundits for the true believers to listen to, this is not a voting block that can be ‘delivered� to one side or the other. Problem two is that we have only two parties to choose from, both with considerable baggage, many times the choice is the lesser of two evils. The Democrats have shown they are learning more about us than the Republicans, they have offered more moderate candidates this election and if they act reasonable when in office that will set up the party for a major victory in 08. Bush did not win by overwhelming numbers, the electoral vote was what he won in key states that have more electoral votes per person than other states. If the Democrats win big this election someone on the right will be making the comments that we were deluded, most likely by the ‘drive by librul media� , I guess it goes with the territory.

  • grognard

    Pyst, NAFTA, has had very little effect, see figure 5. Of course you will be able to find anecdotal evidence of people loosing their jobs in the US, and you can do the same thing for people in Mexico. The problem with jobs and wage stagnation is the competition with illegals crossing the border, not goods coming up from Mexico. NAFTA was to create free trade with Latin America, to make a more prosperous region, and that was supposed to mean less people trying to cross the boarder. That did not happen due to a vast increase in trade with China, WAL MART and other companies set up trade organizations with the Chinese rather than Latin America. China had a better educated workforce and demonstrated a better ability to adopt more sophisticated manufacturing, and also had lower wages. Remember that China trade was just taking off as NAFTA was being signed, and far more jobs have been lost to China than Mexico. Also note that China is not a part of NAFTA, Canada, Mexico and the US are the only parties.

  • Lynx

    grognard couldn’t the argument be made that NAFTA impulsed trade with China and therefore DID hurt American jobs, indirectly? It’s an honest question, I understand very little about NAFTA, but it seems that the way you put it, NAFTA gave China a big lift, which hurt us.

    Oh and BTW I’ve been in Mexico and the impresion THERE is that NAFTA hurt the poor people in the country quite a bit, and favoured the US. The feeling was especially strong in Chiapas, the poorest state with the highest native population and strongest in San Cristobal de las Casas. It may sound familiar, it’s where “El subcomandante Marcos” of the Zapatistas made his stronghold.

  • grognard

    Lynx, The China trade was a separate issue, I think it would have boomed regardless of NAFTA. Unfortunately for Mexico US business went to China, and that was not in our interest at all. We want a booming Mexican economy for the simple reason that there would be no desire to cross the border. In fact we want Mexico to have the problem of illegal immigration. I do feel for the people of Mexico, and understand why they want to work here, that is why I feel strongly that we should encourage US companies to shift from China to Mexico for manufacturing, but I don‘t see the political will to do so when we can’t even get China to properly value it’s currency to put it more in line with the real value. If currency valuation was in line with reality Mexican trade might be more enticing, but you have to convince the Chinese of that and they are rolling in money right now.

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