Friday, April 22, 2011

Where is the political middle?

Robert Reich makes clear that in the current US budget debate the middle is not between the Obama and the Ryan plans. Progressives know this is a fallacy but it seems the  other liberals, including Obama, think that negotiation and compromise means finding a middle ground between the two positions, and that this middle represents the independently-minded middle Americans. It does not and it is a grave mistake to engage this type of nonsense.

Reich quotes stats that "78 percent of Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare as a way to reduce the debt, and 72 percent support raising taxes on the rich -- including 68 percent of Independents and 54 percent of Republicans." But when you look at the Ryan plan it is the exact opposite of these numbers, since it wants to cut Medicare and basically privatize it with voucher payments going to insurance companies while at the same time reducing the tax rate on the rich. If the polls were 50-50 on these 2 issues a compromise in the middle might make sense but the polls do not reflect this.

Another point is that the Democratic side starts with more reasonable, modest proposals and the conservative side, now run by the Tea Party, starts with an extreme right-wing agenda. The center between these 2 positions is already way right of center from the start, thus once again allowing the conservatives to frame the issue and win, even with compromise. Compromise with fanatic ideologues is NOT what the majority of the "American people" want, so listen up liberals and ask for what you really want up front. Take a stand, be bold, follow your principles and quit with the whining and compromising with fanatics hell bent on continuing this trend of enriching the wealthy on the backs of the rest of us. If you develop this spine, so sorely lacking for far too long, you just might win our support.

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