Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Battle for the Pragmatic Center

Anyone following the lunacy now passing for governance in Washington will be relieved to see that when it is all said and done, the true victors will be the pragmatic political center. This center has and will always be the true "majority party" in Washington. In interview after interview, moderate and "true conservative" Republicans such as Peter King have expressed the opinion that the current government shutdown will only be resolved by devising a "CR" that is pragmatic, a solution that the majority determines is reasonable and practical.

As I've declared time and again, the center in American politics is neither Republican or Democratic, regardless of their expressed allegiance to one party or the other. Those declarations merely place them on the left or right side of the continuum, but still tethered to the center. These pragmatists DO NOT become more or less conservative or liberal based on the policies of either party. Rather, the parties will move from the left or the right towards the center. In this vein, it is the Party that starts its "journey" already near the center is more likely to emerge victorious. Currently, that would be the Democratic Party. The "policy making," agenda setting wing of the Republican Party is so far to the right that it simply cannot make sufficient concessions, even if it actually wanted to, that would have any appeal to the pragmatic center. For the Republican Party to survive this upheaval, it is absolutely necessary for members in the center to recapture the role of "policy makers," meaning that they have to reassert themselves in the public eye and be able to be the agenda setters of the Republican Party. This will allow them to engage in the type of "priming"- through the cable and network news- that is necessary to isolate the Tea Party and drive them towards irrelevance.

The salient issue in all of this is that for the conservative yet pragmatic Republicans to accomplish this job they must engage in an all out, overwhelming assault on the far right of their Party. This internecine battle will split the Party but will restore the long term health of Republicans at the national level. Personally, as a former Republican that fled the party in 2008, this battle would force the Tea Party to see that the only way to stay viable would be to create its own political party. Such a move would lead to my return, and no doubt the return of countless other moderate Republicans who have been waiting for the center to "grow some balls" and put the Tea Party in its place. Let's hope that this is that moment. PLEASE

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