The 'Radical Center' Returns, Villager Style

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(h/t Heather of Video Cafe for the video)

Thomas Friedman never fails to disappoint with his "Third Way" bulls*it. In his mind what America needs now is a 'radical center" to change the course of politics. You see, Obama hasn't bent over backwards enough to a phony crisis called the debt ceiling even when he offered up trillions of dollars of spending cuts to the GOP with a 3-1 ratio and after being rebuked---sweetened the pot by throwing in our social safety nets, even when the debt ceiling has always been a pro forma vote.

As of Sunday night, Republicans have refused to agree to anything because they won't even add revenues by closing idiotic tax loopholes for millionaires. Norquist rules the GOP roost. Friedman's own NY Times colleague, David Brooks, called the Tea Party an insane caucus asylum because of the deal they've passed up. Most Villagers love this kind of talk too. Meet The Press' roundtable cavalcade of stars made quite a deal about the partisan divide and longings for the good old days where centrism ruled, majority leaders got what they wanted and where insane people weren't holding the America political system hostage.

MTP Transcript:

MS. MITCHELL: And in fact, there is some criticism that is, that is probably warranted, that the White House was pretty much silent on that. Simpson and Bowles came together, there was the Rivlin group. There have been several documents, including the Gang of Six, although Democratic leaders in the Senate certainly viewed the Gang of Six coming out with another document this week as unhelpful because it changed the trajectory of the conversation.

MAYOR BOOKER: But give Obama some credit, though. He's being attacked, not just by the Republicans, he's being attacked by his own wing by standing up and saying, "You know what, there's got to be a pragmatic principled center."

MS. MITCHELL: Well, now he is.

MAYOR BOOKER: Right.

MS. MITCHELL: I'm just saying that there was a moment there back when, initially, that commission would've had enforcement if Republicans hadn't bolted. So the president was left with the problem of creating a commission which had no enforcement mechanism, had no staffing, basically, and eventually did come out with a product which at least was a taking off point. The president did not jump in at that point, is the criticism. That said, the president and John Boehner are now clearly are looking to independent swing voters, the healthy middle and disgusted middle of the country, and were looking to try to bring their groups along. But they didn't have the power to try to get liberal/progressive Pelosi Democrats, however you want to phrase them, in the House to accept...

MR. GREGORY: Let...

MS. MITCHELL: ...the really tough entitlement cuts up front and more importantly, probably, John Boehner couldn't get the House caucus.

MR. GREGORY: Doris, let me ask you, I mean, the conversation also extends to if there's--if the left and the right are taking over, is there room in the center. You raised this when we were talking over the weekend. Tom Friedman in his column in The New York Times today has this as a headline, "Make way for the radical center. A third way is now on the way." Is it real? Does that really reflect where Americans are?

MS. GOODWIN: I think it does reflect it. I think Americans have a basic sense of fairness. They even did some study of our DNA that says, as primates, we care about fairness, which is one reason why I think the country now is saying that Obama is speaking more to where the majority is by demanding both a combination of cuts and revenue increasement. But what you need then are people in the middle too often seen passive, they're defensive. You need passionate centrists. Somebody said to me, you need raging centrists. If somebody could come out and have the passion that Teddy Roosevelt had, he was absolutely in the center of the country. To the left of his Republican Party, to the right of the Republicans, he called for a square deal. Harry Truman called for a fair deal. That's what you need, people who are proud of being where that country is. The country's in the center, the country wants them, but too often the people with the passion are on the left and the right and the middle guys are trying to explain why we're in the middle.

Don't you love the way David Gregory frames the discussion? When will Villagers wake up and realize we don't live in the world of Teddy Roosevelt any longer? Democratic Blue Dogs got kicked out of office because of the Tea Party Conservatives in the midterms and moderate Republicans got kicked out of their party because of the same people. The GOP has radicalized so much so that Ann Coulter barely gets on Fox News anymore. We have Limbaugh and his clones along with Fox News on 24/7 everywhere in America, and as Jay Rosen wrote so brilliantly, what Murdoch and his posse all want is influence. And they got it, baby. So much so that the talkers on all the other networks all sound like they work for Fox now.

The punditocracy of this roundtable failed to address the truth of the matter. It's hard for them to not paint everybody as radicals in this time we live in except for themselves (very rich pundits and politicians) and the mythical centrists. Oh, and by the way, Andrea Mitchell: Obama's overt praise or support for Simpson-Bowles wouldn't have mattered one bit because raising taxes was never going to happen with Televangelists in da House.

Atrios:

You'll have to find it yourself, but little Tommy Friedman has penned another tribute to "the radical center," those group of people who are neither radical nor of the center and who are the most overrepresented people in Washington. Still what they need isn't simply power, but love, the undying and undeniable love of voters which escapes them every couple of years. Tommy knows that the plush offices of a hedge fund money backed reincarnation of Unity '08, called Americans Elect, will finally stir the voters to endorse, with grass roots input of course*, Everything Tommy Friedman Truly Believes. And, well, after that we might as well just stop with the whole voting thing. The people will have spoken, and the Plutocrat Party will begin their thousand year reign.

Friedman believes that voting on Internet polls will give us the true party of the people. No, really. And why does he hate Lady Gaga so much?

Digby reminds us of the Bloomberg-Wankstock of 2008

Oh Goody. These are people who evidently think the political center is between Barack Obama and the Republicans. Think about that for a moment.

Dave Weigel shares this bit of background on who Friedman and the Centrists see boldly challenging the status quo:

At the Aspen Ideas Festival, I'd heard him muse, to an audience of the sort of people who wouldn't laugh at "Americans Elect," that Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles should consumate their partnership as a presidential ticket.

Fortunately these wealthy gadflies come up with something like this in almost every election and it inevitably goes nowhere. Here's a little trip down memory lane:

January 07, 2008


By The Time They Got To Wankstock...read on

Here's most of the transcript. I did omit Rep. Kinzinger because I wasn't in the mood to read his words again after seeing him.

MR. GREGORY: Senator Hagel, your former colleague, Alan Simpson, who was part of the deficit commission, was asked by Time, Time magazine whether he'd run again. You're out of this game, as is he. This is what he said. "Would you run for office now?" was the question. His response, "oh, hell, no. Now it's just sharp elbows, and instead of having a caucus where you sit down and say, `What are you going to do for your country?' you sit figuring out how to screw the other side.'" Would you, would you join this party again?

SEN. HAGEL: I think Al has very eloquently stated the case as he is wont to do. He's right. This is scripted politics. This is a scripted political dimension, forum, caucuses give the members talking points. And you don't stray far from the left or the right of your party. You are actually penalized when you, when you actually question your party or question your administration. I once said, and it got a lot of attention in a hearing regarding Iraq in the Foreign Relations Committee, if you did not want to make the tough choices and make the hard decisions and the tough votes, then go sell shoes. Well, I heard from all the shoe people, but I actually used to sell shoes. So it worked out all right. But that's the whole point. And until--you know, we can talk for hours and hours about this, but until you get back to the one common denominator, you come to Washington to make a better world. Advertise | AdChoices

MR. GREGORY: Right.

SEN. HAGEL: To govern, to compromise, make it happen.

MR. GREGORY: But...

SEN. HAGEL: Not a political statement.

MR. GREGORY: What...

SEN. HAGEL: That's the problem.

MR. GREGORY: All right, but Mayor Booker, let me ask you this. For a lot of younger people, you know, who are looking at the political system and are disappointed, what is the way out of this? Because voters, members of the public, have a real stake in actually changing this by creating more space for their elected officials to do the right thing.

MAYOR BOOKER: Right.

MR. GREGORY: So what is that path out?

MAYOR BOOKER: Well, a few things. First of all, one of our presidents once said, "There's nothing that's wrong with America that can't be cured by what's right with America." Right now our nation is suffering from self-inflicted wounds. We are wounding ourselves by creating crises that do not have to exist. And so what we need and what I hunger for from Washington, and this is why President Obama right now is exciting me, his leaders, they're not just going to follow the polls, not going to just appeal to the sanctity and safety of their base, but willing to venture out and stand strong on principle even if it means sacrificing political capital. That's what Washington needs, that's what America needs. And for young people who are considering getting into the game, they need to understand, number one, we get the government we deserve. We are a democracy.

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