Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Uniters, not dividers

As some of you know, and as I've mentioned here before, I'm also one of the bloggers at Centerfield, a leading centrist blog and the official blog of the Centrist Coalition -- in addition to some original work, I cross-post some of my posts from The Reaction at Centerfield. I encourage you to check out what all the excellent bloggers at Centerfield have to say on a wide range of issues, with several compelling new pieces posted every day. There's so much partisanship, hostility, and bitterness out here in the blogosphere, but Centerfield is truly a resource for political sobriety amid the drunken extremism of our time.

(Yes, if I do say so myself, given that I'm part of it! I'm generally on the left side of Centerfield's centrism, much more of a liberal and a Democrat than many of my fellow bloggers, but I remain committed to supporting centrism even as I write to advance the cause of liberalism as America's guiding political philosophy and to promote the fortunes of the Democratic Party. Which is why The Reaction is a "liberal-to-moderate blog" -- too moderate for some liberals, too liberal for some moderates, and too leftist, relatively speaking, for some conservatives (though I have my conservative tendencies, if you pay attention), but hopefully balanced enough to respect the best that is thought and said across the political spectrum.)

The Centrist Coalition recently released a "Statement on the Supreme Court Vacancy" (see here). Please check it out:

A consultative and cooperative nomination process, followed by full, fair and open Judiciary Committee hearings for the nominee will, we believe, result in the timely confirmation of a Supreme Court justice that all Americans can be proud of. It will require much fortitude from the president and leading senators not to fall into the trap laid for them by the extreme interest groups, who would like nothing more than to see the debate devolve into name-calling and gridlock.

It doesn't have to go that way. The Centrist Coalition offers a choice between the two extremes, a voice for the vast majority of Americans who recognize that those who seek to divide us only succeed if we let them. So far, the signs from President Bush and leading senators are encouraging: we must speak as one to support continued dialogue and collaboration, and to renounce divisive and unnecessary rhetoric. Together, we can prove that a Supreme Court nomination doesn't have to mean political war.

Keep your fingers crossed (but don't hold your breath). I've already written extensively on the "battle" over O'Connor's (and perhaps soon Rehnquist's) replacement on the Supreme Court (just scroll down and/or go to the recent archives). In a recent post, I suggested that Gonzales and Luttig would be acceptable nominees to replace O'Connor and Rehnquist. That's my "moderate" take, even though I would prefer more liberal nominees and a more liberal Supreme Court.

I agree with the Centrist Coalition that "the vast majority of Americans" prefer to be united, not divided. And, thus far, civility (or at least the rhetoric of civility) seems to have taken hold. I just wonder how long it will last.

After all, however much we may wish for the sober middle to prevail, the two sides know what the fight is really about, and they're not about to back down. I'll push for moderation, but I'm also prepared to take up that fight, especially in defence of liberalism.

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