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Mission

Welcome to the Radical Middle!

We moderates are no longer a featureless midpoint between the extremes of right and left. We’re a movement about to be born. If we succeed, we can stop the domination of America by extremist ideologues of both camps — without silencing their voices.

Both the right and the left tend to dismiss moderates as namby-pamby weaklings who can’t summon the courage to take a stand. We moderates must discard this tired stereotype once and for all: we know it takes reason, intellect and more than a little courage to formulate nonpartisan ideas that invariably draw fire from two camps.

We also know that roughly 40 percent of Americans consider themselves moderates. Our challenge is to generate a passion for moderate ideas — and to prove to the ideologues that moderate ideas aren’t simply a matter of taking the average between “progressive” and conservative opinions.

The right and left thrive on their knack for distorting the truth to serve their partisan agendas.  Unfortunately, this manipulative strategy works for them: they draw countless disciples to their ranks. But we moderates can do better… let me rephrase that: we need to do better. Desperately. Now.

We need to band together, exchange opinions, publicize our ideas and recruit talent — including some of the more moderate voices from the right and left. (If we build a movement, they will come.)

Eventually our moderate movement will gather the momentum we need to turn it into a political force. We could even be breaking ground for the creation of a sane, much-needed, long-overdue third party in American politics!

The excesses of the right and left have shown us that special-interest agendas no longer serve the wider interests of the people. The time is right for moderates to make their mark. Not the timid old moderate of popular stereotype, but the fiery NEW MODERATE who can no longer stand to see the truth distorted by self-serving extremist visions.

We’re opinionated, we’re impassioned, we’re ready and willing to break  taboos in our drive to make truth and sanity prevail. So take heart, all you embattled moderates: the middle is about to strike back. Let the rebellion start here

Rick Bayan, Founder & Editor.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2009 3:26 pm

    The vast majority of hoboes are moderates. We don’t want to offend anyone, so we won’t start a fight. We don’t want to struggle against any problem, so we move to another town. Hoboes like moderate people because they give us leftovers, some yard work for a few bucks, and won’t preach about how we should improve ourselves.
    My favorite moderate role model is Millard Filmore, he introduced plumbing to the white house.

  2. November 1, 2009 10:39 am

    hoboduke: Interesting perspective; sometimes I think I was meant to be a hobo all along. Do-nothing presidents aren’t necessarily the best ones for the hobo community, though. Hoboes probably don’t hold Hoover in high regard, though he unwittingly increased their numbers several times over.

    • Grant Goodnight permalink
      January 11, 2012 3:26 am

      It seems to me that all we elect are do-nothing presidents (talk the talk, but not walk the walk) I hope there is change coming and consider me a new moderate.

  3. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 13, 2009 2:02 pm

    What happens when a moderate has to take an extremist view of issue because it’s the correct solution to the problem. Example, there is no middle ground between absolutely no government health-care and a government run, single payer, universal healcare system. One of these is the actual, very best solution to a problem and the other is not, depending on which end of the political spectrum you reside. Nothing in the middle will suffice. What say ye moderate?

    • January 28, 2012 1:06 am

      The big problem is the AMA and the physicians get paid WAY too much in the US. The World Health Organization ranks the US 38th in health care among industralized nations and FRANCE is NO. 1—the best health care in the world. French physicians earn half of what American physicians do and their patients are TWICE as healthy. And French physicians pay nothing for their schooling. Those who rank at the top–in admittance tests….get tuition free medical education. Why don’t we try to copy them? Why? Because many–not all–american physicians are common “money grubbers”—the patient is not considered to be a human being, but a source of income. It’s sad, but as long as lobbies and big money run the US gov’t, we will continue to get sicker, fatter, and poorer. Wake up!! We’re paying our doctors a fortune—to overmedicate, over-test us and ultimately make us sick.—it’s good for their business.

  4. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 13, 2009 2:29 pm

    Since I came across your website a while ago, I have spent the time reading the moderate stands you have taken on your list of issues, and I don’t think you’re a moderate, I think you’re a center-left liberal, which is de4finitely not the same as a moderate, is it?

  5. November 13, 2009 2:31 pm

    Sure there’s a middle ground between no government healthcare and a single-payer public system; in fact, I could have sworn Obama himself endorsed it: you have the government offering low-cost public health insurance in competition with private insurers. The system covers everyone, yet you have the freedom to stay with your old insurer. Perfect moderate solution.

    But you’re right that sometimes we can’t simply take the midpoint, because there IS no midpoint. Example: Do we permit women to have abortions? Granted, there are more moderate positions than the abortion-on-demand stance of the pro-choicers and the no-abortion stance of the pro-lifers. (I suggested outlawing abortions after the first trimester, except in the case of rape, incest or impaired maternal health. But I’m still favoring legalized abortion.)

    Sometimes (be prepared to be shocked) a moderate position can actually be more RADICAL than the liberal or conservative positions. One example I like to use: Both liberals and conservatives favor using lobbyists to push their agendas in Congress. As a moderate, I’d like to eject lobbyists from the halls of power; in fact, I’d criminalize any flow of money from lobbyists to elected representatives. Pretty radical for a moderate, you have to admit… yet I’m simply upholding my moderate’s belief that society shouldn’t favor special interests over the general welfare of the people.

    So you can see that there’s more to being a moderate than standing in the middle. I hope I’ve convinced you, anyway. Thanks for the thought-provoking question.

  6. November 13, 2009 2:36 pm

    Overlapping posts! To answer your second question: I’m not a strict centrist on all issues. I lean a little toward the left on economic issues, primarily because the right-wing plutocratic interests have piled up far too much power (and riches) at our expense. Even conservative columnist Peggy Noonan would agree with me on that point. On social and cultural issues, though, I probably skew a little to the right. For example, I think the lefties have controlled academia far too long now, and I still have a lot of affection for traditional small-town Jimmy Stewart virtues. Maybe I’m a moderate populist.

  7. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 16, 2009 11:59 am

    There is no middle ground on healthcare. One side is right (correct) and anything else is wrong because it does not solve the problem. If you favor anything in between, like you do, you are just evading the issue. What I can’t figure out is why you are afraid to stand up for what is right. Moderation, which I agree with on many issues, but I like to refer to it as compromise, just doesn’t always work on all issues.

    By the way, the lefties don’t CONTROL academia. The lefties are pervasive in academia, because intelligent prople know leftist views on most, not all, issues are better for government where the people are sovereign.

    • November 16, 2009 2:04 pm

      How is it wrong to offer both public and private insurance options as a moderate solution to the healthcare issue? Please clue me in. I don’t see the problem in giving people a choice; it’s definitely more just than the right-wing solution of “every man for himself” as well as the left-wing solution of “single payer, whether you like it or not.” (I find that leftists tend not to be too keen on freedom of choice; their motto seems to be “get with the program or else.”)

      As for leftists in academia, don’t get me started. That’s a whole ‘nother topic. But let me summarize my attitude by saying that I can’t abide the concept of colleges as propaganda mills (especially those fill-in-the-blank studies programs). Just present the facts and let the students make up their own minds.

  8. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 17, 2009 12:32 pm

    Have you noticed that it is the goal of all private companies to always maximize the return on private investment? How can any private healthcare company ever be part of the healthcare solution when their number one priority is not the patient, it’s the profit. Private healthcare is not a viable option to solving the problem of all those people dying and getting sick each year because they can’t afford proper healthcare. The only solution is a single payer, universal, one-hundred percent covered, public system. There is no middle ground because no other option can maximize the accent on patient care. Healthcare in America is rated 19th of the top 37 industrial countries and profit is the reason why. I am not opposed to choice when choices are available which can all solve the problem.

    As far as academia is concerned, i’ll let your statements stand because they’re opinions. My opinion is that teaching what is correct is always the right thing to do, but some (the unenlightened) would call that indoctrination.

  9. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 18, 2009 9:50 am

    Our governments don’t do a very good job of defining the problems that their legislation is supposed to solve. If they did that, there would be much less room for moderation, eh? Of course if they did that there would be much less room for partisanship, which seems to be what they’re really looking for. It’s the old devide and conquer thing, so the people can stay confused and probably drunk and the politicians can keep their cushy jobs with shallow promises and no action.

  10. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 19, 2009 9:58 am

    HEY, are you ignoring me? Come out from wherever you’re hiding or else I’ll…………I guess I’ll take my opinions elsewhere. I thought we were having a good discussion, but maybe you don’t want to have to really discuss and justify your viewpoints to one as confused as I.

  11. November 19, 2009 10:33 am

    Well, we definitely reached an impasse on healthcare; I think we’ll have to “agree to disagree” on that one. (I still don’t see the problem with offering both public and private options — everyone is covered.)

    As for lefties in academe, ho-ho-ho — they use not only Marxist theory but a billowing smokescreen of impenetrable Deconstructionist gibberish (a semantic nightmare that gains power because it’s so vague that it can mean anything the reader wants it to mean) as a means of toppling European/male/bourgeois “hegemony.” The result: we’re all obligated to agree that a New Guinea tribal mask is as big an accomplishment as the Parthenon or Newton’s laws of physics.

    Everything in academia has become saturated with politics, and of course only leftists need apply. I want to tell these folks, “Excuse me, but there was nothing political about the works of Shakespeare or Rembrandt.” But they’d come up with something in rebuttal, I’m sure. Can’t win.

    In short, I think Wall Street needs to be wrenched toward the left, and academia needs to be yanked to the right; that way everything winds up in the middle where it belongs!

  12. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:13 am

    Yes everyone is covered, but as long as private healthcare depends on profit, everyone will not be covered fully or equally. Private health insurers are forced to cut coverage in favor of profits, whenever possible. The end result will be the same as what we’re seeing today, people will not get the coverage they need and people will die.

    I have never felt obligated to agree that a New Guinea tribal mask is as great an accomplishment as the Parthenon, or Newton’s laws of physics, but then I’m not a New Guinea tribal member.

    Instead of wrenching Wall Street to the left and yanking academia to the right, we can’t we just inject a little personal responsibility and a lot of social accountability into those in their respective drivers’ seats.

    The bottom line for all of our problems is that WE are the problem. Until we start workin together as collective problem solvers, whether left, right, or somewhere in the middle, there will continue to be a left, right, and middle to divide us.

    • November 20, 2009 3:50 pm

      Confused: I used to think the same way about private health insurance (actually, I still do), but it never occurred to me that a public plan could just as easily deny coverage for certain ailments or procedures. Those reports of “death panels” were wildly exaggerated by the right, but a public healthcare system could still refuse to cover you if the government doesn’t think it’s worth the cost. Look at the new federal recommendation that women shouldn’t start having regular mammograms until they’re 50; that means a public program wouldn’t cover the cost of mammograms for younger women. Public health insurance isn’t necessarily more generous than private insurance. I think having two systems in competition will keep both systems honest.

  13. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:16 am

    When and if our government representatives do get around to working together for the benefit of all, we will all realize that a left-of-center attitude will usually best serve our needs.

  14. November 20, 2009 3:51 pm

    Well, I think a center-center attitude will usually best serve our needs, but maybe that’s just me. ;)

  15. Confused and probably drunk permalink
    November 23, 2009 1:02 pm

    Do you know of any medically prescribed procedure that Medicare won’t cover? Or any procedure not available at a veteran’s hospital if the patient is a qualified vet? This mammogram thing is a big mistake and the government experts who came up with it will be forced to admit their error. Mammograms will always be covered for women over 40 if a physician prescribes it.

    I think a consistent moderate viewpoint gives one a good excuse for not studying the issues and to suppress the little guilt guy who, if ignored, will reside deeply hidden in one’s conscience. No offense….I’m probably way off base, but I just can’t imagine promoting compromise in something as important as healthcare when a clear cut solution, favored by a majority of Americans and proven to work well in many other countries, is available.

  16. July 6, 2010 2:56 pm

    Confused raises a good point in arguing that one needs to consider what position to take when someone, e.g., a moderate, believes that an extremist (or even just a different) view of the solution to an issue because it really seems to be the correct solution to the problem. From my point of view, it is more important to be a pragmatic realist that a moderate truly committed to finding a compromise between the two main opposing viewpoints. When I listen to the positions that many Democrats and Republicans take on many issues (domestic priorities, foreign policy, national security, etc) and their attendant “rationales”, I more often than not conclude that both sides are more wrong than right. Sometimes a compromise appears to be the right thing to propose but surprisingly often, it doesn’t.

    The main problem here is political and religious ideology operating in politics. Hard core ideologues treat their political ideology pretty much like religion. Political and religious ideology tends to blind ideologues to reality because reality often (usually?) undermines both liberal and conservative ideology just as much as (or more than) it supports either side. And, when you try to propose policy or solutions to political problems based on rigid belief in ideology , you tend to miss the mark and waste time, lives and money.

    An analogy: It is like a car mechanic hearing a car’s symptoms, concluding (absolutely knowing without first checking reality) that the problem is X and fixing X. That works just fine when X really was the problem, but it wastes time and resource when the real problem was Y and you missed it because you could not let yourself see it. In my opinion, that is the critical weakness of political and religious ideology when it affects how people view the world and then try to solve political problems based on their flawed, but fervently held, world view.

    The reason I now gravitate toward moderate political sites like this is that moderates seems to at least be able to acknowledge reality better than hard core liberals and conservatives. For moderates, there seems to be less ideological baggage that distorts their world view. After almost three years of posting, it is clear to me that my blog arguing for non-ideological political pragmatic realism has failed to get any traction. My kind of anti-partisan thinking seems to be too discomforting for people to become comfortable with.

    Could it be that it takes more strength of character and courage to be a pragmatic non-ideologue than a true hard core ideologue? I think so, but convincing most hard core ideologues of that is difficult or impossible. It is like trying to argue about religion or between religions – the true believers know they are right and that is that. Arguments about contravening facts and reality or differing Gods carry little or no weight. For most true believers, my God is the right and only God and my God is always right – end of discussion. Rigid ideology in politics is no different.

    If one can accept my version of reality, it is defensible to say that being a moderate probably takes more strength of character and courage than being a pure political or religious ideologue who demands political policy based on what is compatible with their ideology. For hard core ideologues the world is mostly black and white. For moderates, there seems to be more room for more shades of gray. For myself, the world is mostly gray, which makes it complicated and often disquieting.

    I argue that reliance on the comfort of black and white ideology at the expense of reality tends in the long run to make ideologues less effective and efficient than moderates. After all, when you are a hard core ideologue and you know your proposed policy or action is right, it is easy to take comfort on KNOWING that you are right and everyone with differing opinions is wrong. That is a much easier world to live in than one where you need to account for shades of gray (inconvenient truths).

    Theoretically pragmatic non-ideologues would be the most efficient at problem solving, but that appears to be a non-existent species in American politics. Retreat to the hard core ideology of the Libertarians, Greens, Socialists or Nazis makes things worse, not better. So, that leaves the moderates, which is just fine with me.

    • moderatingmyself permalink
      August 14, 2013 9:24 am

      Amen. That has been my journey also. Thanks for posting.

  17. October 24, 2010 8:05 pm

    Confused and probably drunk:

    “Since I came across your website a while ago, I have spent the time reading the moderate stands you have taken on your list of issues, and I don’t think you’re a moderate, I think you’re a center-left liberal, which is de4finitely not the same as a moderate, is it?”

    I simply must ask: What exactly are you looking for?

    “Leaning” toward one side or the other of the political spectrum does not preclude moderation, which isn’t so much consciously sought for its own sake as it is typically the inexorable result of carefully examining the issues with more than a casual eye and applying one’s own personal judgment. Of course there’s no such thing as perfect moderation. But the conscientious individual is far more likely to be a MODERATE liberal Democrat or conservative Republican (actually even more likely a conservative Democrat or liberal Republican–yes, they do exist). No matter how an individuals is registered to vote, if they are reasonable and independent enough to vote on the issues, then they meet the standards of a true moderate.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      January 26, 2012 3:00 pm

      Sickleygreyfoot is on target! A moderate view is not a fixed position. Rather, it depends on the current extremist views and the situation–the bigger picture–to see where a helpful, healthy moderate “range” would be to achieve results, certainly not just to be in some perceived “middle.”

      Ideologies and extremes are in contrast to Moderation. Simply speaking, an extremist clings to a belief or point no matter what is going on around them, no matter how the situation has changed, no matter how much the factors have multiplied or diminished. The rational Moderate even realizes that in some cases ideology is heroic and called for because the situation has become extreme. The rational Moderate also knows, however, that just about always, in life and in politics, too much and too little is dangerous and harmful, while a moderate amount is healthy and wise.

  18. October 1, 2011 9:40 am

    I would like to see a “moderate” new third party based on political surveys.

    http://thenewthirdparty.blogspot.com

  19. Ami permalink
    October 25, 2011 6:02 pm

    The only reason the right and the left dismiss us as cowards and weaklings is because they’re pissed we don’t entirely side with either of them! So the best thing to do is start name-calling.

  20. P. Watters permalink
    April 1, 2012 9:53 pm

    I like the picture – middle of the road – just where I’ve always been. There’s good and evil on both the left and right. Good ideas can be pulled from both sides and moderated!

    • April 3, 2012 9:21 am

      Yes, and moderates tend to use those ideas as objectively as possible… without the agenda-driven biases of the right or left. If only the rest of America would wake up.

  21. February 10, 2013 2:01 pm

    Hi… Just found the site, and pleased to have done so…thanks for providing the forum.

    It strikes me that a fundamental problem we face is quite simply that open minded, active listening appears to be a lost art at the moment, particularly in the political arena. The classical “liberal vs. conservative” conflict has been along the lines of the “guns vs. butter” perspective, with those leaning left favoring investment in social issues, and those more rightwardly inclined favoring investment in growing the military and it’s attending private support structure.

    What I find continually astonishing about this argument in the present day is that this is quite simply no longer an item which can be debated, as we simply have no money to spend on either butter OR guns.

    Once we’ve restored our financial house to order, we can resume this legitimate discussion, but I can’t get over the folks that today’s “conservatives” are quite comfortable lobbying for tax cuts and sustaining a massive “defense” budget despite the fact that it’s all on the credit card, and todays “liberals” similarly wish to sustain entitlement structures and introduce new social conventions like expanded access to healthcare, when our pockets are empty.

    It strikes me that perhaps those of us who believe ourselves to be nestled frequently in the center can help facilitate a dialogue which simply points to the notion that we’ll be happy to look for left-center-right initiatives on how to spend our discretionary dollars… but only when we reach that fateful day where we actually HAVE some.

    Everyone seems to hate the sequestration arrangement reached if Congress fails to find a more methodical way to balance our fiscal process, and I personally see it as perhaps the single greatest act of genius that I’ve ever encountered. I Heart Sequester!

  22. July 29, 2013 1:37 pm

    Politics is a rotten egg if broken it stinks.

  23. Anonymous permalink
    June 26, 2014 3:06 am

    Deu 17:11
    According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. THIS IS MY IDEA OF WHAT THE MODERATE PARTY SHOULD STAND FOR…

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