Friday, November 09, 2007

Oblivious centrism

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Atrios gets it right:

Let's be clear that "centrism" is, for the most part, a cosmetic pose for the benefit of Beltways journalists who know that The Most Important Thing Is To Be A Centrist.

In terms of what those centrists actually support in terms of policy, I'd say there are roughly 3 kinds of things. Occasionally they live up to their name and push through genuine compromises between left and right. More often than that they push fake "split the baby" compromises which achieve nothing genuine but have the appearance of doing "something."

And, most often, "centrism" is used as a cover for what amounts to bipartisan endorsement of corruption in the name of furthering the Might and Majesty of the establishment powers.

It is also a rigid ideology that demands compromise between "left" and "right," however defined, no matter what, regardless of the merits of either side. And the split down the middle tends, from experience, to favour the right, which has manged in recent years to persuade the media, and many Americans, that the "center" is well to the right of where it really is.

And this Crossfire view of politics only serves to legitimize the extremist positions of the right, as well as their proponents, to bring them into the debate, to take them seriously, and, ultimately, to include them equally in whatever "compromise" is worked out.

This is how the right wins, with oblivious and self-important centrists enabling its hold on power.

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