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Saturday, December 08, 2018

Anti anti Centrism

Charlie Pierce wrote a great post on the abuse of the word "centrist" as a term of abuse.

Then he criticized Bernie Sanders (whom I ask to sit out 2020 please). I am shocked to find myself almot to the left of someone who actually had a drink with Alexander Cockburn, but I think there is a lot to be said for demanding it all immeediately.

On "Centrist" you wrote [I comment]

Sanders here is being almost preternaturally optimistic [true] , to the point of being unacceptably [false*] glib [true] , about the difficulty of getting McConnell and the Republicans to do anything of the sort. [skip] that's a short route to chaos and a return to general minority status [very false **].

The fact is that there is a natural center in American politics [skip] It happens to be the solid place whence [false ***] can be launched real progress.

* it is irritatingly glib but that glibness is useful and not just to own the cons but also to appeal to the naive. I don't like Sanders's glibness. Nor did I like Reagan's, and I'm pretty sure that Kennedy would have gotten on my nerves in 1960 if I could have heard what he was saying (a uterus got in my way, plus I didn't know how to speak during most of his presidency). I am not the voter who matters. I always vote for Democrats (or Charles McMathias). The audience is those who sometimes vote, but only if beguiled by some preternatural optimism.

** Ask Sen McConnell how reliable sowing chaos is as a path to minority status. The Democrats are in opposition. The house passing popular measures (with 70% support) which are blocked by Republicans in the Senate is not their path to general minority status. The problem is something else ****

***"Whence" ? No Whither. Real progress is launched with slogans ("happy days are here again" was not a solid policy proposal) and dishonest promises (Obama didn't really think there could be health reform without a mandate (although the Republicans are proving that his 2008 bogus proposal actually works ... better than the old system anyway). Real progress lands in the solid center it is launched by those who have (or fake) preternatural optimism.

**** The real problem is that Democrats care about policy and are semi honest (case in point is H Clinton who lost to Trump, because she was perceived to be dishonest and, what's worse, is honest). The Democratic house would tie itself into knots trying to write a solid centrist Medicare for all Bill. "All" would be redefined to mean 90 % or 95%, and the party would tear itself apart fighting over which. The fools would actually pay for it with no aid from Rosy (the riviting) Scenario. There would be months of struggle with problem making "problem solvers".

Sending the Senate a bill declaring Medicare shall be available for all and this shall be financed by soaking the rich, would be deadly to Republicans. Trying to write a solid bill which could be implemented the second it was signed by Trump ?!? would be pure policy porn appealing only to nerds.

That's why Sanders is smart to talk about what others should do. Clinton would be scheduling meetings to discuss drafting a bill right now if Trump hadn't ended her effort to replace politics with solid policymaking.

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