Conversation with a centrist
Praise Whomever and don't pass the ammunition! I have been rescued from my so far fruitless search for a centrist. The man wasn't dragged, decrying the abuse by a feminist, to the stocks and made to 'fess up, John Ashcroft style. He volunteered. Rick Heller of SmartGenes says he considers himself a "centrist," the middle C of the American political continuum. He offers this test as one way to determine if one fits the definition:
If you're talking about real centrists, as opposed to the center of the liberal spectrum, you have to ask if the person has voted for major candidates of both parties. Anyone who votes down the line Democratic or GOP is not a centrist.
I have voted for independents and Democrats. A Republican? Not so far. (But then, I have never used a drug stronger than grass, either.) How about you? Voting, not drugs. What the heck. Come clean about both if you want to.
For additional thoughts about centrality, see Rick's entry regarding who he supported and why.
In fact, I think I'm a bit of a bellwether. I tend to vote for the winning candidates--not because I jump on the bandwagon, but because my feelings are consistent with the estimated 20% of the voting population that is not habitually committed to either side. This middle group moves with the issues of the day and often decides the election.
The major issue Rick believes currently separates him from liberals is his support for the war in Iraq. However, he reminds us there are degrees of support for the invasion.
Mac Diva is looking for centrists. It may seem like I'm to the right, but it's mostly because I've been for the war. And in supporting the war, I have been with the center of public opinion. But my instinct for the center says this: Unless we find weapons of mass destruction, which have been surprisingly absent so far, this war will be remembered as a mistake.
Rick goes on to explain his requirements for the U.S. invading another country. Based on what he says, he may have to break ranks with the conservative cohort about war down the road. Their plans are becoming more and more obviously about establishing a Pax Americana.
Empire building is part of the Bush inheritance. "New World Order" is the foreign policy initiative most identified with the current president's father, George H.W. Bush. That concept of projected American power has been refined by the son and expanded into "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America." Both are part of a continuous thread (broken temporarily during the Clinton years) extending back to the end of the Cold War. Their common message: America, the globe's only remaining superpower, is in charge; it will shape the world to suit its values and interests, and police that world as it sees fit.
If I read Rick right, he won't walk that way.