The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walking to the Fridge

When I began writing this blog in November of 2005, I named it OnCenter for a reason. I’ve always believed that there are more Centrists (“independents” if you prefer) in the body politic of this nation that either left-wing Democrats or right-wing Republicans. The problem over the intervening five years is that national politics has become so polarized that the extreme fringes of both national parties dictate the rules of engagement. Hence, when the Left is out of power (2000 – 2006) they become obstructionists whose only true position is to ensure that the majority party and its president fails. When the Right is out of power (2006 to the present) they take the same obstructionist stance. Bipartisanship? You gotta be kidding.

In reality, I think the astonishing results of the Massachusetts election are a repudiation of partisan politics and the corrupt power structure in Washington that is no better under Democrats than it was under Republicans. It’s also a repudiation of the arrogance that has been exhibited by the Democratic super majority over the past year.

It is, in essence, the revenge of the Centrists. I suspect that our “leaders” in Washington may have woken the largest of all voting blocks, those of us in the Center, and we’ll demand adult supervision over the callous children who currently dictate the national political agenda.

I predict that President Obama as well as the Democratic leadership will say all of the right things over the coming months. They’ll tell us they understand our anger, that they'll focus "like a laser" on jobs, that they’ll reign in the budget, that they were never in favor of big government, that … well, actually, that they’ll do a quick 180 and all will be right with the world. The Republicans will promise that if we return them to power, they’ll provide the adult supervision, despite that fact that they were unable to do so during the Bush years.

Richard Fernandez (as always) diagnoses the problem aptly:
The problem each party faces is that fitting into a new set of policy clothes requires a draconian change of lifestyle of which they may not be capable of. A fat man can fit into any set of clothes he wants. The only obstacle to effective dieting is infirmity of will. But as many readers — alas — know, the will is a pretty infirm thing: it is a shorter distance to the refrigerator than it is to the jogging track in the park. So while it is likely that Washington has been given a shock, it’s more than likely that they will cast around for a diet plan consistent with their appetites. Most people have nothing against diets except it means eating less. Politicians may give up pork; and give up perks, but it’s safe bet they will do so only with a heartrending reluctance; each night they pray on their hands and knees to give up these things if that is the price of staying in power, but “not yet, Lord, not yet.”

So when you hear Barack Obama talk the talk, take a step back and wait for him, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to walk the walk. My guess is that the only place any of them will walk is back to the fridge for yet another big government snack.