Mo’ Ronery

AJ Strata has a very good post up on the issues I’m debating w/commenter Chris below.

What does this all mean? Well the American people are leading the surge away from the hyper-partisans and the muck-raking, purity wars. Not only were the parties raging against each other – they had turned on the moderate middle and attacked with visceral hate towards anyone who could ’sell out’ and reach compromise. And of course the support for both sides of the aisle tanked as each end of the spectrum tried to see who could denigrate the midstream voters the most.

He goes on:

It began with Joe Lieberman in CT when that state – very democrat – rejected the hyper-partisan Dem Ned Lamont for the moderate (e.g., “traitor”) and independent Senator Lieberman. It continued on as George Allen and Rick Santorum and host of other strong conservatives were replaced by more moderate democrats who straddled the center line of politics. And it continues on today with McCain leading the GOP contest, causing all sorts of emotional breakdowns on the right, and Obama on the verge of ending the divisive and destructive (to the dems) Clinton era.

Interestingly, AJ’s a conservative, but thinks the left (Obama) will do better in tacking to the middle. And I’ll point out that he regrets it. He also nails the role of the blogs:

The blogosphere and AM talk radio brought together the large community of political junkies who are, by their nature, probably closer to hyper-partisans than average Americans. Talk Radio and political blogosphere sometimes forget they are not a majority but a micro-minority that was starting to gain the ear of America. My feeling is many Americans, who are not hyper-partisans, have started to turn away from these media because they are repulsed, embarrassed or simply tired of being insulted.

Here’s where I get to drag out my favorite Schaar quote:

“Finally, if political education is to effective it must grow from a spirit of humility on the part of the teachers, and they must overcome the tendencies toward self-righteousness and self-pity which set the tone of youth and student politics in the 1960’s. The teachers must acknowledge common origins and common burdens with the taught, stressing connection and membership, rather than distance and superiority. Only from these roots can trust and hopeful common action grow.”

Read the whole thing, as they say.

5 thoughts on “Mo’ Ronery”

  1. If I thought Barack Obama represented a tack toward the middle and mainstream America, I might agree with him.

    But as best as I can tell Obama is running on a platform of universal healthcare, expanded social security coverage, withdrawl from Iraq, rolling back welfare reform, increased corporate taxation, and implementing carbon trading – as well as all the usual liberal Democrat paraphenalia. I see no sign that he’s a comprimise candidate or a man with eclectic values. To that we add a hip corporate religiousity which involves gay-rights, pro-choice, and something called Afrocentrism, and a background which involves absolutely no experience running large organizations or foreign policy experience. Combine that with public pronouncements that we should begin active military involvement in Pakistan, leads me to believe we are dealing with a charismatic but utterly niave individual of the stripe of say Jimmy Carter.

    It would be easier for me to believe that Clinton represented middle and mainstream America. At least then, I’d think her more liberal pronouncements were merely calculated to obtain her ambition and secure her the nomination. I recall how quickly her husband rewrote himself and changed tack when he saw the wind shifting, and while I still believe he was a terrible President that sailed the ship of state from calm seas straight into a hurricane partially of his own making, at least this is evidence that he’s not particularly partisan. But, I have the unsettling feeling that Obama honestly and earnestly believes this stuff. I’m not entirely sure which is worse, being a crook or being an niave ideologue.

    I honestly don’t know who I’m going to vote for. None of the contenders ever strongly appealed to me, and of those remaining I like them even less. Hillary aside, they each have certain qualities that are appealing. We need McCain’s honor and Obama’s statemenship, and the latter has been particularly missed these past 8 years. But for finding a good leader, I don’t know where to turn.

  2. I’m not sure that the words “Obama” and “statesmanship” ought to appear anywhere in the same sentence much less right next to each other. Prior to our going into Iraq, he was giving speeches telling his audience it was a plot cooked up by Karl Rove to distract people from thing like poverty and the uninsured. If he was just saying that to pander to his audience, then he’s simply a dispicable person. If he was saying it because he actually believes it, then he’s one Michael Moore film away from being a 9/11 “Truther.”

  3. Thorley Winston: You have a good point. Alas, like so many other things in our politics, ‘statesmanship’ is largely used to mean the charismatic capacity of leadership, to oratical power, to sway public opinion, to garner political will and I used the term in this common and offhanded way.

    But you are quite right to say that I shouldn’t confuse charisma with intelligence and judgment, and that the words true meaning has more to do with the latter than the former. I certainly shouldn’t confuse in any way the ability to lead with the qualification to do so, and in fact I probably have my terms reversed by the formal definition. I should have said that Obama provides leadership, but not statesmanship – though I’m not sure anyone would have understood that better.

    Obama hasn’t been around long enough to qualify for the term ‘stateman’ and as you say there are plenty reasons to doubt his fitness for high office.

    Alas, that’s true of the whole bunch. In fact, most of them lack _both_ the ability and the qualifications to lead.

  4. My problem with politicians calling for “bipartisanship” or “moving past squabbles” is the real message is “shut up and drink my Kool-aid”. The only compromising they’re interested in is getting the other side to agree with them and vote for them, possibly with a bit of face-saving trivia (and a whole lot of pork, of course) thrown in to make it look like they “compromised”.

    As for “moderates”, the problem is that they are often quite receptive to “post ideological, problem-solving” pitches. The problem is that using the government to generically “solve problems” is itself a strongly ideological position.

    Libertarian-oriented notions of small government appear to be “more” ideological because they’re so foreign to what we’ve come to expect from the government since the New Deal.

  5. I never thought I’d long for the competency and expertise of the Carter administration or the integrity of the Nixon crowd but when examining the performances of Obama, Hildabeast, and McCain I long for the good old days.

    Now perhaps the promise of bread, peace, and land is a bit old but can’t Obama be a bit more specific? He has nothing on Elmer Gantry. And I wonder when people will start asking themselves why Obama and the Hildabeast have raised over a 100 million in return for the promise of a bi-partisan administration. If you believe that you probably also believe most of McCain’s statements.

    Elmer Gantry associated with a better class of con men and felons than any of these three. But we’re supposed to believe these are the best America can produce?

    The people who devised the no interest loans had a better grip on reality than these wonders.

    I love partisanship. If your ideas don’t sell their must be something wrong with them, which probably accounts for the Hildabeast healthcare program, MCCain-Feingold, and anything Obama wants (refer to the song My Favorite things).

    But I guess it boils down to the general IQ of the American people that they can find these denizens of some carny sideshow as acceptable presidential candidates. I wouldn’t trust any of them to babysit my pet dog.

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