Thursday, January 21, 2010


Quote of the Day: On the political center of American politics

Democrats are beginning to understand that this is the center of American politics and not the far right.  —Former Representative Dick Armey, Majority Leader of the House Republicans, and one of the drafters of the "Contract for America," reacting to the election of Republican Scott Brown to fill the Senate seat for Massachusetts left vacant by Ted Kennedy

I should also add that Armey's political organization "FreedomWorks" acts in tandem with the Tea Party Patriots and was one of the organizers of the disruptions at the townhall meetings on healthcare.

Dick Armey made good use of his time with NY Times reporter Carl Hulse by seizing the opportunity to define the "center" of American politics, which we are to understand is whatever the far right happens to say it is. Reporter Hulse abetted this definition when he wrote in the same story—

... there is a deep divide between liberals, who are increasingly arguing that President Obama has been too timid and too quick to fold on matters of principle, and moderates, who think the White House and Congressional Democrats need to move to the political center.

If the past Presidential election results mean anything it is certainly that candidate Obama was at the political center—bent on ending the war in Iraq, providing jobs by rebuilding infrastructure, regulating the banks and reforming the healthcare system while taking on the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.  If President Obama and his colleagues in the Congress had set themselves to these tasks with all due haste, a far right Republican would have as much chance of winning an election as Jesse Jackson had of becoming President. If you've been following the news or engaged in conversation at your local pub, you will know this has not been the case.

The failure of both Obama and the Democratic Congress to seize the moment is leading to ever more dire consequences.  The "centrist" Scott Brown was best characterized by Keith Olbermann just before the election—

In short, in Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees. In any other time in our history, this man would have been laughed off the stage as an unqualified and a disaster in the making by the most conservative of conservatives. Instead, the commonwealth of Massachusetts is close to sending this bad joke to the Senate of the United States.

Since the public, whose true representatives are always cited derisively in the media as "populists," have only two choices in this Land of the Free, they will inevitably turn to the second choice when their first choice doesn't work out.  What else, pray, are they to do? Revolt?

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