"A Centrist Party With Clout": Another Fake Mainstream Political Solution

by Simon Bruehl
File under: Fake Freedom22 May 2013 14:39 EDT

Morton Kondracke is a journalist that's made his entire career echoing the same dysfunctional status quo that passes for a 'mainstream' in Washington D.C. He has no shame about identifying with beltway insiders increasingly alienated from the American people. In fact, he and Fred Barnes even co-hosted a television show on Fox News called The Beltway Boys

This alone should tell you all you need to know about Mr. Kondracke and whose interests he represents. But in case that didn't make it clear enough, he also recently came out with a piece on CQ Roll Call that repeats the same tired incantations of the post-war Beltway generation that pass for political discourse in this country. Yes, there may be disasters like national bankruptcy looming in the future, but it's because our politicians are too partisan! We need more bipartisanship and compromise! In fact, we need a new centrist political party that doesn't believe anything, but just somehow gets things done, somehow irrespective of any beliefs. He begins:

Michael Bloomberg, Howard Schultz and Peter Ackerman — meet Charlie Wheelan.

The mayor of New York (and proprietor of  the Independence USA PAC),the CEO of Starbucks and the financier behind the failed 2012 Americans Elect effort to nominate a third-party presidential candidate on the Internet are all rich guys clearly unhappy with polarized, gridlocked U.S. politics.

Wheelan, a popular Dartmouth public policy teacher, shares their dismay and has an idea for making things better that needs funding.

The idea is a Centrist Party. Yes, a third party, but one that’s focused — in the first instance, anyway — just on winning enough Senate seats to hold a balance of power in that body and using it to push an agenda of “pragmatic problem-solving.”

Let's do a little thinking here. Are we supposed to believe that a bunch of 'rich guys' getting together to protect their interests from the inevitable political calamities waiting on our current course of unrestrained debt growth and militarism are a real solution? Aren't they part of the problem? Apparently not, but that's the real definition of being a 'centrist'- somebody with no allegiance, however superficial, to any set of beliefs, a blank puppet bought and paid for by the Mayor of New York, the CEO of Starbucks, and all their friends. And this is supposed to be progress past the charade of John Boehner vs. The Big O... but don't worry, let's listen to what the Dartmouth professor, who, mind you, has already run for office as a Democrat in Illinois, has to say:

He says there is a lot to like in the basic principles of both the Republican and Democratic parties: respect for free markets and skepticism of big government in the first case; a heart for the underdog and belief in public investment in the second.

“But Congress is not made up of politicians who represent the best of each party,” he writes. “The tragedy of American politics … is that these partisan Members have an agenda of their own that is a bastardization” of their basic principles.

Current Democrats are “too skeptical of business, too hostile toward wealth creation and overly abusive of America’s most productive citizens.” They have allowed unions and liberal interest groups to call the shots and think that a government program is the answer to every problem.

Republicans are split between traditional conservatives and “radical right wingers, as embodied by the Tea Party” which has “an almost pathological aversion to taxes and government” except when it wants to ban abortion and gay marriage.

The country’s serious problems aren’t being addressed because “our two political parties are increasingly dominated by their most vocal and extreme members” and the clash between them has moved the political system “from gridlock to paralysis.”

This professor's assessment of the situation is entirely fanciful, and exactly a part of the problem he claims to be intending to solve. If our parties are dominated by their most extreme members, why has literally nothing changed since the nineties? Why does the Democratic Party of Barack Obama embark on automated drone strikes and the Republican Party of George W. Bush run up massive deficits? 

The real problem is that the 'radicals' in both parties are shut out from the machine, when they are the only ones promoting policies that might garner broad support, however much they may be marginalized by the media. Remember Dennis Kucinich, that 'radical' that was serious about prosecuting the too big to fail banks and ending foreign militarism? Nobody on the right could agree with that, could they... oh, but there was also that Ron Paul, who talked about similar kinds of things. They were both kooks, right? Right? Maybe the 'fringe' that the media tells us are at constant loggerheads with one another are actually the ones with a base of principled support on which any progress can be made... and maybe 'centrism' is a deliberately anti-populist ruse played by the very oligarchs that have created the problem. Just maybe. Well, Kondracke more or less admits it:

Still, I think it’s worth a try. If a dedicated group of moderate independents established a beachhead in the Senate, they could sponsor constructive legislation, get press attention, bargain collectively and even attract support from moderate Republicans and Democrats fed up with the status quo.

Lawmakers such as former Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican, and former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, a centrist Democrat, wouldn’t have to quit the Senate in frustration. They could switch.

Bloomberg’s PAC gave out $10 million in 2012. He’s going to spend lavishly this year to promote gun safety. Schultz persuaded 100 other CEOs to stop making political contributions unless the nation’s fiscal house got put in order. And Ackerman wasted $22 million on Americans Elect.

There must be hundreds of other rich people fed up with things as they are. If  they got the Centrists off the ground, I’d guess millions of small donors would join up and kick in, too.

We moderate independents can’t just keep grousing. We have to plant a flag someplace, sometime. This may be it.

So let's get the rich guys involved first, then they can fleece the average sucker while maintaining their interests. This is what passes for innovation in this braindead political culture. Never mind that most of America would consider Mayor Bloomberg, who does things like ban big sodas and claim that we can print money to pay our bills forever, to be an entirely out of touch radical. He doesn't identify with any party, so he must be clean, right? The image is all that matters, and we're not going to pick any rabble rousing Tea Party or Occupy types- we're clean and presentable. 

Really, this entire meme of decrying 'extremism' is just evidence of massive cognitive impairment at the highest levels of society. How politicians are supposed to function and make inherently controversial decisions in a vacuum of belief is never really explained. It's an attempt to evaluate ideas and persons not by what they believe, but the degree to which they are serious about it. The more committed one is, the more problematic. When the political culture makes combating it such a high priority, you know that they aren't even capable of thinking in terms of any kind of essentials any longer. They've come to believe that reality itself conforms to their insular world of discrediting caricatures within the media clique, though the policies of 'extremists' actually resound better with the American people, who didn't want the Iraq war, the bank bailouts, Obama's health care bill, and a myriad of other policies brought to you by your local friendly 'mainstream' politicians. Good luck to them in continuing to sell an image that frankly isn't even itself all that appealing.

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Sarah Hart says:26 May 2013 23:26 EDT
You make some good arguments here. The people may in fact want someone who cannot be bought by the rich guys. They want someone who will speak up about the wrongs they see in the world, someone who isn't afraid to speak his mind even when it is "politically incorrect." David Jon Sponheim for President is just the person Americans really need. Please check out www.AmericasThirdParty.com and join our political video chat every week night. I think you will be a great addition to the conversation.
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