Monday, August 13, 2007

Centrists Vs Moderates

A diarist over at Daily Kos writes about the difference between centrists and moderates. My definition is similar. A "centrist" is somebody who desperately tries to position himself between the two parties no matter what one party might say on an issue. A moderate, on the other hand, believes in slow measured changes in policy.

When the Bush administration tries to obliterate constitutional protections to fight terrorism and continue the war in Iraq, a DLC style centrist will go along with him 90% of the way and claim to be in the middle of the two parties. This sort of "centrism" has no relationship to where the public is at the moment.

A moderate will want to pull out of Iraq, but "responsibly". They may want to give the President more tools to fight terror, but with limitations and serious oversight. A DLC centrist will say Bush can gut 4 of the ten articles in the bill of rights but they draw the line at quartering troops! See, they are staking a position in the middle.

There can be a problem with moderation being just wishy washy, centrism can be much worse. If you asked people the day before 9/11 if urinating on the constitution, spying, torturing, ignoring habaes corpus was ok, they would have thought you were nuts.

The GOP stands for that right now. So the "centrists" stand half or more of the way with them. This is the catch of DLC style centrism. No matter how crazy the Republicans get, the DLC is there to "compromise" insane positions.

There is no moderation involved at all.