I've been a Democrat my entire life, but have never been a devout Liberal. I agree with many things Liberals expouse, but to be fair I agree with many things Conservatives expouse too. For me, Ideaology for it's own sake is the greatest danger to rational thought, and the perfect correction to this danger is the intellectually honest recognition of truth and reality. I don't care if an idea comes from the left of the right, all I care is whether it's an good idea that effectively and comprehensive addresses and corrects a problem. I've been a computer programmer nearly all my adult life, and my experience as such guide this view - it doesn't matter what idealogy you apply to a (programming) problem, all that matters is whether you fix the problem or not. Often the same is true of real life problems as well. Solve the problem, ideology usually does little more than get in the way.
As a result, without being able to honestly claim to being either Liberal or Conservative, I claim the moniker of Radical Centrist, by which I mean that I think the best views and strategies for addressing America's problem lie somewhere between traditional Liberalism and Conservatism, while remaining radically different from both.
It's clear that Conservatives have a loud and well recognized voice in today's politics, as do Liberals via new outlets such as blogs and Air America, but what remains almost entirely unheard is the voice of the Centrist, those who I believe actually comprise a far greater percentage of the American populace than either the far left or the far right. Rather than being simply Republican and Liberals LITE as many would claim, I believe that Centrists can have a doctrine of their own, independent of either of the others while maintaning footing within each. Centrists are people who don't let their fealty to one particular party, in and of itself, determine their politics. They look at the facts, and make an independant determination based on the best of those fact and the most realitistic and rational factors.
Bill Clinton was a Radical Centrist. He called it the "Third Way" of politics, or being a New Democrat. More strident Liberals such as Michael Moore have called him "The best Republican President American ever had..." while hyper-conservatives considered him the son of the devil. He was neither. He was a problem solver, and right now America has a lot of problems to solve.
I admire Republican Senator John McCain for his courage on issues such as Campaign Finance Reform, but am disappointed that he has shown nothing but moral cowardice when it comes to addressing the many faults of George W. Bush in handling our National Security. Similarly, I think that many Democrats have in recent years and months shown themselves moral cowards of equal and even greater severity. Be all of this as it may, it's not the most pressing issue facing America. Right now the Republican party remains in the clutches of the most extreme right-wing fundemental facist elements of it's own party - and the Democrat remain in confusion, dispair and disarray. This has to change.
It's quite easy to sit back and endlessly catalogue the real and imagined faults of the Bush Administration. What's more difficult, and more vital - is determining a strategy for what to do about it. This is what I discussed, albiet briefly, with Laura on Live Radio today at 6:20 pm PST.
After the 2004 Election, Michael Moore talked of Democrats as being "Victims". Shell-shocked and stunned at the woe that had befallen them. This rhetoric is damaging and misguided. Democrats must realize that they are Survivors. They very nearly unseated an incumbent President on re-election in the midst of a War! This was no small feat, and far from slinking back in shame - they need to dry their tears and realize they almost sacked Olympus and burned Zeus at the stake. It's high time to ready the Seige Engine for the next assault, not wimper over your spilt milk.
The enemy has bested us so far, but the war is far from over and in order to surpass them we must meet the challenge they present head on. They are resourceful, resilitiant, imaginative and completely, utterly ruthless. They'll stop at literally nothing. It's easy to blame the outcome of the 2004 Election on the stupidity and gullability of the America public - ("those idiots voted against their own best interest") - but far more helpful to realize there is no doubt the far right have become master politicians who should not be underestimated on any front. It's time to step up and get our game on, from the grass roots to the tip-top of the DNC.
What I told Laura is this: Democrats (and for that matter disaffected moderate Republicans) need a new strategy for positive change. Enough bitching. If you want a chance back at the reigns of power you have to develop and deliver a clear and effective vision for what you would do with them once you had them in your hands. How would you address protecting life, the family or the environment, increasing the productivity and growth of American businesses, the prosperity of American workers, National Security, Law and Order and the promotion of strong values of morality?
All of this is what I plan to address in my own way in coming the coming days, hopefully I won't be alone - because it's vital that this discussion take place and an unified and clear vision of Democratic/Liberal/Centrist values be established before it's too late.
Update - Positive Posts:
Ending the Birth TaxFrank Vyan Walton
Blue Curtain Ads: True Campaign Reform
Episode I - Missed Education
Episode II - Abortion Distortion