Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Let's Saw The Baby 50% Of The Way Into Half

EJ Dionne's column today is wonderful. By wonderful, I mean he agrees with me. One philosophical point that is important to understand is that "centrism" or moderation is not always a virtue.
We have become political hypochondriacs. We seem eager to declare that "the system" has come down with some dread disease, to proclaim that an ideological "center" blessed by the heavens no longer exists, and woe unto us. An imperfect immigration bill is pulled from the Senate floor, and you'd think the Capitol dome had caved in.

It's all nonsense, but it is not harmless nonsense. The tendency to blame the system is a convenient way of leaving no one accountable. Those who offer this argument can sound sage without having to grapple with the specifics of any piece of legislation. There is the unspoken assumption that wisdom always lies in the political middle, no matter how unsavory the recipe served up by a given group of self-proclaimed centrists might be.

Dionne in a "moderate" fashion is calling out David Broder and the editorial board at his own paper. On topics such as the war and immigration, their "moderation" is a recipe for disaster.

The paper editorialized about how outraged the american people would be because this they want immigration reform. The american people though, didn't elect people who supported this bill. Sometimes you can't meet in the middle. Other times, people just refuse. This bill was 350 pages long, and I like most, likely including the Post editorialist, didn't read the whole damned thing. It was a compromise though, so it had to be good.

The Post and some of it's favorite columnists support the war, but moderate their support by opposing some torture, and suspension of habeas corpus, the fourth amendment, and the Geneva conventions. The effectiveness of this position lies somewhere between squat and nada.

McCain and Lieberman's position that we should escalate a regrettable war, but retain most of the bill of rights instead of perhaps just keeping the second is not a virtue, but a vice.

Compromising with an incompetent out of control administration may make some hearts swoon, but you would have to be half off your rocker (a good centrist position) to buy that.