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« The impossible dream: reasoning with a Tea Partier | Main | 'Bye-bye [insert name here]' »

July 28, 2011


You Don't Say

I get your point about moderation, one man's meat is another man's poison and all that. But I don't think centrism = pragmatism. If anything, pragmatism sort of equals moderation. But centrism is a political calculation, not a practical one, that in the best of times might get you the votes you need and in the worst gets you nothing when you get lost in the vacuum between or two extremes or, worse, gives credence to an extreme idea by being just to the left or right of it.

Peter G

But You don't Say that is exactly what Mr Carpenter is arguing: centrism does not equal pragmatism.

You Don't Say

Wouldn't be the first time I misunderstood Mr. Carpenter. ;-)

Then, I guess my point is that Mr. Dionne did not equate the two, although I may have misunderstood him as well. ;-)

Peter G

I think you're right there in that Dionne did not explicitly equate them but I also agree with Carpenter that the equivalence is implicit to Dionne's perception of what centrism is and nothing could be further from the truth right now. I think one could argue that political deadlock results when what is desirable to a majority of the public drifts out of sync with what is pragmatically achievable in a legislature. Carver said something last night that struck me. He said something to the effect that the only thing worse than a politician concerned about re-election was one that wasn't. I submit that the tea partiers are completely out of sync with what you would call a center and they don't care what the public thinks.

You Don't Say

I agree that the TPs feel no obligation to anyone or anything except some inflexible ideal. And they are not particularly bright, knowledgeable or skilled so intransigence is not just an ideal but their only option. In my experience, on a state level, they are not even unified among themselves. They have a single agenda, usually a very personal one, such as the electrician who wants construction defect reform (this, again, is on a state level) who has ridden the wave of TP sentiment to get elected. He is anti-taxes and big government both because he is and because it got him elected, but his *real* agenda is to get the lawyers out of his business.

You Don't Say

And, Peter, to your exact point: they don't care about getting re-elected. The electrician I cited above wants to get back to laying wire, not sitting in committee meetings listening to others discuss Medicare.

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