Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Moderate Centrists Meet Midway on Middle Ground of Mediocrity

Talk of "centrist" and "moderate" raise my hackles.

Perhaps it's just living in Utah, where "moderate" is another word for "Democrat laying low," or perhaps it is because there is really no such thing as centrist political ideology. Better said by Greenwald:

The very idea that Giuliani is a "moderate" or a "centrist" is completely absurd. Regarding the issues over which the next President will have the greatest influence -- foreign policy and presidential powers -- Giuliani is as far to what is now considered the "Right" as it gets. His views on foreign policy are far more radical and bellicose even than Dick Cheney's, and his view of presidential powers makes George Bush look like Thomas Jefferson.

This whole "moderate" myth is grounded exclusively in Giuliani's non-doctrinaire views of social issues. But that's pure fallacy. Political ideology doesn't function like mathematics, where two numbers situated on opposite extreme poles can be averaged together to produce a nice, comfortable number in the middle.
You either have the support of a majority, or you are in the minority. Centrist ideology has nothing to do with political reality, effective policy, or winning elections. It is simply a concept created and maintained by pundits and the media to tell us progressive Democrats are the "fringe" while unpopular right-wing bat-shit-crazy Republicans represent American values.


  1. I actually believe you're mistaken: there is definitely are centrists, which we can define by the label of being NOT GOP/DEM, and NOT Liberal/Conservative. These voters can be clustered, and hold their noses and vote against one party or the other, depending on their hierarchy of what they consider the most imporant issues. Taxes and gay marriage are two wedge issues that swing voters to the right: the left has swing issues in decent working conditions, global warming and the environment, and corporate responsibility. For proof of this, see the Pew studied titled "American Typology," published in 2005.


  2. I think you have misunderstood the intention of the post.

    I do not deny the existence of "centrists," only that they are important to winning elections.

    In fact, few people fall into a centric category when they actually step up to the ballot box. Centrism is more a media gag than a political subset.