INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Middle Muddle

As I make my way back into the blogosphere, bit by bit, I'm starting to get back to some of my old reading habits. That would definitely include Doc Searls, my fellow occupant of the middle of the political road (I can already see Paynter's eyes rolling).

Doc points to Britt Blaser's shot across the bow of left--vs.--right--politics--as--usual. Very intriguing--as is the case with most of Doc's pointers.

Much as I admire Blaser's sentiments, some of his conclusions are, unfortunately, quaint, to put it politely.

The problem with the middle, of course, is that we have no organization and no spleen--no duke-it-out-in-the-streets mentality. As Blaser points out, we "value our common sense and decency more than we value our rage."

But, Blaser maintains, "
We're finally motivated to do the intervention we've been avoiding."

His prescripition for the intervention? "
It's time to impose overwhelming reasonableness."

Well, wouldn't that be nice? And wouldn't it be peachy if we could go back to those civilized centrist contests between Adlai and Ike? And and Republicans and the Democrats sitting down together in the Capitol back rooms for some bourbon and branch water after a day's work on the floors of Congress?

I'm in a muddle. I don't know what the answer is. Blaser is absolutely correct when he asserts, "
If we want to do revenge politics, we'd just have to hire the consultants again and start the same old karmic spiral. The political consultants would like nothing better. We have to take the other path."

Some visionary is going to have to show up who can chart "the other path" that weaves its way somehow between 50's soda-pop nostalgia and present-day vitriol and vindictiveness.

I'm not very optimistic. Cokie Roberts, who knows a thing or two about the Democratic Party, has observed that Joe Lieberman's likely defeat next week portends big trouble for the party. It will precipitate a frantic scramble to the left, she predicts, and a suicidal push toward the repeat of the 1972 disaster.

For those of you who weren't around, the period of 1968-72 has some parallels to today. The fury against Humphrey, the Lieberman of his day, and against the Vietnam war, led to a leftist takeover of the Democrats that cost the party its status as the majority party--a situation which has grown steadily worse, despite the brief hiatus of Bill Clinton.

Don't get me wrong. If I were a Connecticut voter, I would gleefully cast my vote against Boot Lickin' Joe. It's the over-reaction to the result that I fear, plus the big vacuum in the middle. And puleeeze--Hillary ain't the one to fill it.


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