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How not to hold ideologues accountable

by: Eric B.

Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:58:39 AM EST

Chad Selweski, professional centrist, takes everyone to task over the coming austerity bomb, and by doing so holds no one accountable.

These are heady days for political centrists and moderates as the impending fiscal cliff has jolted the nation — and many lawmakers on Capitol Hill — into a panic-stricken full embrace of the middle ground.

The language of the sensible centrists suddenly seems to be everywhere: bipartisan, non-partisan, compromise, pragmatic, meet in the middle, common sense solutions, stop the gridlock, end the hyper-partisanship, a balanced approach, give and take.

While centrists, moderates and especially independents were derided in recent years as political vanilla, fence-sitters, RINOs, corporatist Democrats, and unprincipled and uninformed, their definition of governing as a problem-solving exercise has now taken hold from coast to coast.

For all you fringies (my word) on the left and right, welcome to the real world. Welcome to the mainstream where problems are solved minus rigid ideology, and there are no cans to kick down the road.

It goes on like that.

So, let's be clear on this. Our best understanding of American politics tells us that the mainstream of the Republican Party has moved to the extreme Right, whereas the Democratic Party has shifted slightly to the center. So, the center has shifted out of necessity to the Right. If that's the case, then a centrist who thinks that the solution is to always come together in the middle has no core set of beliefs, because those beliefs are by very definition always at the whim of where the political parties stand, ideologically speaking. You cannot, for instance, say you believe in strong public education because the center is somewhere between a party that believes in strong public education and a party that believes in weakening public education to create a private education marketplace. So, there is that.

More to the point, he's written an entire column taking to task "fringies" without once mentioning that one party is actually more guilty of shoving us towards a fiscal cliff than the other. That would be the party that not only rejected the other party's arrangement of solutions out of hand, but rejected a compromise solution propsed by their own leadership. That would be House Speaker John Boehner's Plan B, which wasn't really a plan, but which was rejected by the Republican caucus.

And, by the way, why are we moving towards this "fiscal cliff?" Because to get the votes to raise the debt ceiling, something necessary to maintain the nation's good standing in the eyes of creditors, the president had to submit to what essentially amounted to economic blackmail and allow temporary and economically worthless tax cuts for the wealthy to maintain. In other words, Selweski is calling for the president to once again give in to economic blackmail by demands that we avoid austerity and tax hikes on the middle class, which could push us back into recession, by allowing to persist economically worthless, unfinanced tax cuts for the wealthy.

One last thing to mention here, which is that compromise is great, if it produces a result that actually fixes something. Those tax cuts didn't generate more revenue and have proven to do very little in stimulating the economy. Trickle down economics don't work. Why compromise to include it, since the tax cuts predicated on it were never financed with changes in spending. Why compromise and allow to persist something that's not working as promised?

Eric B. :: How not to hold ideologues accountable
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I am totally satisfied
I totally agree with you that compromise is ok in the sense if we get some good output of it.
fixie wheelset

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