Sunday, February 26, 2012
Let's Meet In The Middle!
Shorter Ross Douthat: In honor of President Eisenhower, we need to settle for a president who is less ideological and more, oh, what is that term I am looking for..... I know! Middle of the road. Perhaps--centrist.
Posted by Susan of Texas at 1:18 PM
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And as with Tom Friedman, Douthat considers Reasonable Centrism to pretty much align with his beliefs.
It's like a treasure hunt, finding out the bitter little pill Douthat's trying to hide amidst the God and Party talk.
This surprises me. As far as I have been able to determine, the word "centrist" in the US context means "In domestic policy, I want Milton Friedman's economic policies but I'm willing to tolerate gay people and abortion if that's what it takes so I don't have to pay taxes. In foreign policy, I think we should bomb the crap out of anybody who looks at us cross-eyed, but it's probably best to leave alone countries that keep their heads down and do what we say".
That is far too rational a set of policy proposals to come from somebody like Douthat. ZRM must have it right.
Yes, Douthat believes his way is the reasonable, centrist way.
If only President Drone Strike were the right color and registered in the right party, these hideous gasbags would be chanting "Four More Years! Four More Years!"
Of course, fish and thunder are NOTORIOUS communist Muslin-lovin America haters.
Ike was an expert on the skanktitty of marriage, and he sure didn't let Mamie get no abortions.
I'm always suspicious of anything that's described as centrist. The discussion has shifted so far rightward the past few years, who the hell knows where the center is now.
Ross, yuh mean a President like Ronald Reagan??
Oh for fuck's sake. "Centrist".
The absolute only reason that word is in the discourse is because it gives rhetorical cover for people who don't want to have to explain their political views.
How does that word usually get employed? "I'm not a Democrat or a Republican, I'm a Centrist." "I'm usually in favor of Centrist policies." Shut The Fuck Up. "Centrism" is not a political philosophy, it's not a coherent vision of public policy. It changes very quickly over very short periods of time, and there's nothing anchoring it to principles outside of political necessity, which can be a part of political philosophy and public policy but can't possibly be the whole thing.
The absolute only way Centrism is coherent is as a procedural bias toward splitting the middle between Democratic and Republican policy proposals as they are in the process of getting made. Dems want X, Repubs want Y, Centrists say they want .5X+.5Y.
But that still doesn't make a lick of goddamn sense in practice, because it results in bizarre patchworks of policy that contradict each other. Policies that contradict each other across administrations, within administrations, and over time as the parties maneuver around each other. Eg, a Centrist would have said she'd be in favor of something between the individual mandate and the public option for national health care in 2008. In 2010 she would say she's in favor of some hybrid of an individual mandate and vouchers.
So if Centrism doesn't make any sense, at all, in any context, why does it get used so goddamn much? Because of what Susan documented about Ross: it's a way of disguising your actual political views, so you can claim you're outside the ideology of either party and defending the vast swath of America that isn't satisfied with either of them.
It's just so obvious and so stupid. I can't believe it gets used so often, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't used often.
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