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Advice for the Thinking Moderate

September 30, 2009

Do moderates really need to think? Can’t we just examine the opinions of the extremists and take the average?

Afraid not. There’s more to being a moderate than dwelling in the middle. The midpoint has its charms, but we moderates could use a little more imagination, fire and gusto if we want to see our ideas prevail. That’s right — we need ideas, too. And the more original, the better.

Example: Both right-wing and left-wing groups depend heavily on lobbying, the unsavory practice of allowing special interests to fund the campaigns and pet projects of senators and congressmen in exchange for “favors.” The lobbyists fill a politician’s pockets, and they expect said politician to push their agendas in return. In other words, our elected representatives can be bought — and believe it or not, it’s all perfectly legal.

Where does a conscientious thinking moderate stand on lobbying? There’s no middle ground here, because the left and right seem to be in perfect agreement that lobbying is a politically (and financially) useful practice. We moderates can’t simply “take the average” on this issue and walk away. We need to stand up, stick our heads out of our cozy foxholes and denounce the practice of paid lobbying until somebody listens… until it becomes unacceptable and eventually illegal for private interests to play puppeteer with the representatives of the people.

What will it take for American moderates to grow into their destined role as outspoken champions of impartiality and fair play? Our republic and its ideals are being frittered away by a combination of partisanship, corruption and inertia. Thinking moderates everywhere need to renounce their traditional role as quiet and dispassionate onlookers. We’ve been too polite. We need to let ourselves get angry now and then, to awaken our inner Patrick Henrys (are you down there, Patrick?) and let fly a good resounding salvo in defense of our beliefs.

Come on, moderates, let’s find our voice!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2009 9:31 am

    Methinks a “moderate agenda” would have to center on campaigning for procedural reforms. Campaign finance, term limits, lobbying reform, and perhaps even reforms involving re-districting or proportional representation. I don’t necessarily endorse all of these ideas, but these are the kinds of procedural issues have the dual appeal of opening the doors up for moderates as well as having some populist potential.

    Have you found other moderate blogs out there? I’m wondering if it might not be a bad idea to start networking in the blogosphere with other moderates.

  2. October 2, 2009 10:55 am

    Al: Lobbying reform would be #1 on my list, and of course that ties in with campaign finance as well. I hadn’t thought about term limits, but I could see its value — especially in the House, where congressmen are perpetually in campaign mode. And funny you should ask me about networking with other moderate bloggers. Two days ago I e-mailed about 10 of them about our need to work together and create a moderate movement. To date, not a single reply. If I don’t hear from anyone by Monday, I intend to e-mail those same bloggers and say a few unkind words about the moderate blogosphere’s lack of passion, cooperativeness and cojones. These guys really need to wake up.

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