Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

UPDATED: Houses of the holier-than-thou

UPDATED: Houses of the holier-than-thou

Smerconish is joining a political movement called "No Labels":

"No Labels isn't saying you have to compromise on everything. People have strongly held beliefs, and they should hold to their beliefs. But we are saying that if we want to make progress for our country, if we want to solve the big problems facing us, we're going to have to find common ground," cofounder Jonathan Cowan told me.

"Look at the Constitution itself and the Constitutional Convention. . . . There's a lot of common ground. There [are] a lot of compromises. . . . That's the lifeblood of a democracy."

To be successful, No Labels will need to reshape not only elected officials' behavior, but also the conduct of those who provide their talking points.

Tomorrow, we'll give them a label. Tonight, savor another Eagles' victory.

UPDATE: OK, so the thing is, I don't have a problem with people declaring themselves centrists and fighting for middle-of-the-road policies with all their heart and soul, but what truly drives me crazy is their holier-than-thou notion that centrism is, by definition, better than people with ideologies (which is just a high fallutin' word for people's ideas) on the so-called right or so-called left. In fact, the whole right-left spectrum is just something we crazy humans made up to simplify complicated notions of limited government or social justice or personal freedom. Declaring what you think is the middle of two ideas doesn't make you more virtuous, and often it makes you maddenly inconsistent or incoherent. See "Obama, Barack."

There are two politicians out there right now who are garnering an enormous amount of respect right now -- no easy task. One of them happens to be conservative, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and one of them happens to be liberal, and that is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. That's not because they're trying to find some mythological middle ground, but because both are political figures who say what they think, and let the chips fall where they may. Meanwhile, centrists who convince themselves they're better than anyone else may indulge their elitist and even authoritarian tendencies -- look at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the guru of the "No Labels" movement, and the way he's cramming some unqualified rich person down the proverbial throats of that city's schoolchildren and parents.

I guess I saying I'd rather have politicians with a label -- honest -- than the bland stew that the likes of Smerconish, Bloomberg and friends are cooking.

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