The Conscience of a Moderate

Jim: Mighty passionate about one bill, JP! And staking your next two years of politics consumption on it! I will believe it when I see it. That’s what’s wrong with you extremists; ultimatums are connected to everything; it’s all over-dramatized. Moderates are willing to get a little more distance from the issues; study them a little, and let debate and expertise do what they do best.

Obama is a moderate, a moniker not likely to change, but it may well be he can lean more left than he has. You are likely to reject someone without your stripes; we moderates are usually better listeners. there truly could be some worthwhile ideas from the other guys; a minority in the polls doesn’t mean those guys are stupid or wrong. Wisdom involves consideration, deliberation, moderation, and sometime, a little distance.

The government is not hopelessly dysfunctional and useless. They pass a bill now and then!

And I want to remind you, we do not live in a democracy, we live in a republic. We elect people who are supposed to make wise decisions. There is a layer that is supposed to be smarts between knee-jerk public opinion and the permanence of law.

That all said, I do hope there is real reform of the filibuster and a return to a genuinely functioning senate. I am with you on Res. 4. I think some reform of Social Security is okay, too, though not much reform. My connotation of reform probably bears little resemblance to any Republican bill. But means testing? I’m down with that.

So elevate the stakes, JP. You could never keep this threat, though. You’re a political junkie and we both know it. The Republicans just gave in an agreed to pay the bills for a while. Obama listened to the NRA, Diane Feinstein, and Gabbie Gifford. (Oh, and by the way, I want to add to my list of reasonable moderates on the right.) You can give in and widen your sphere of consideration. I won’t hold you to things said in moments of passion.

J P: I like how you reject everything I say and conclude and then finish by saying you agree with me on the filibuster. So which is it? Am I an extremist because I want a return to moderation to the senate, or is wanting a return to moderation in the senate a moderate thing? And note you make no attempt to counter any of my arguments about the senate or the filibuster; you’re happy simply with labeling me an extremist and leaving it at that.
And if you agree with me on the filibuster, does that make you an extremist? You seem to be all over the place in what you are trying to mean by "moderate."
And I believe I said the senate would not be worth paying attention to for two years, not that I’d pay no attention to politics. And I believe that is true. You are right, that being a political junkie, I probably wouldn’t be able really ignore the senate for two years, no matter how much they deserved to be ignored.
But I enjoyed your four paragraph rant against me followed by your agreeing with me on the filibuster. Do you think there is actually any chance Reid will show some balls and let prop 4 come to a vote. And yeah, it is that important. Your rant illustrates what I said in my post–you see moderation as splitting the difference between the two crazy sides in congress. I see it as moving more towards real debate that the public can follow and that leads towards a government that more closely represents the will of the people. Somehow you see that position as extremist. I don’t follow.

Jim: your speed in rejecting certain ideas and labeling others. And you are trying to box my moderation in by telling me I’m all over the place. That is part of what makes us guys moderates! We look around! It’s the opposite of purity. I ain’t no Tea Party member, but I ain’t no Radical Leftist either. I don’t split the difference to make my mind up, but I am willing to look in two directions before I do.

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About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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2 Responses to The Conscience of a Moderate

  1. JP says:

    And you’ve given no examples to show that I am unwilling to consider various ideas. You’ve just stated it. It’s as though you believe that calling yourself a moderate somehow makes what follows more reasoned or sane, regardless of the merits. I don’t really give a hoot about labels; I care about a rational, reasoned, fact-based case being made. You sometimes appear far more interested in labeling something extreme or moderate or radical or liberal or conservative than you are in examining it on its merits. For me that is a shortcut that renders it meaningless. You have called Obama a moderate. Obama has said that if he was a politician in the 1980s, he would be considered a moderate Republican. Today, virtually every politician on the right calls Obama a socialist, and the really far rights ones call him both a socialist and a fascist. The labels become meaningless. Let’s look at arguments on their merits. If you disagree with what I said on the filibuster, make the case. Dismissing me as somehow extreme because I outlined several reasons why filibuster reform will tell the tale for the next couple years really doesn’t advance the conversation, or make any sense that I can see.
    I mean, in its day, ending slavery was very extreme. Did that make it wrong because it wasn’t “moderate.”

  2. Jim says:

    And you’ve given no examples to show that I am unwilling to consider various ideas.
    I was not implying you were unwilling to consider various ideas, rather, that your ideas seem to always head in the same direction, to a predetermined end.

    You sometimes appear far more interested in labeling something extreme or moderate or radical or liberal or conservative than you are in examining it on its merits. For me that is a shortcut that renders it meaningless.
    A shortcut implies a path to a definite end.

    You have called Obama a moderate. Obama has said that if he was a politician in the 1980s, he would be considered a moderate Republican.
    So, in everyone but you agrees he’s a moderate?

    Today, virtually every politician on the right calls Obama a socialist,
    No only some of those politicians did that.

    …and the really far rights ones call him both a socialist and a fascist. The labels become meaningless. Let’s look at arguments on their merits.
    Though there probably were a few examples of someone committing this error, to me, this is too easy of a shot. And to use it as a reason that words don’t have meaning is a leap. Poor choice and poor logic.

    If you disagree with what I said on the filibuster, make the case.
    I do not disagree with you on your facts or your conclusion. I just can’t accept the passion and urgency. The extensive presence of adjectives and value-laden words was more than I needed. It’s extreme!

    I mean, in its day, ending slavery was very extreme.
    Actually, there were MANY antebellum moderates who wanted a slow and definite path to abolition. John Brown was an extremist. Lincoln was a moderate. What’s the difference? Extremists wonder why the others have not caught up with the “rational” view. Moderates deliberately consider various points of view, the political reality, and patience.

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