Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Link II: If You Are in the Center of the Road, You Are Likely to Get Run Over

When I worked in the United States Senate, I developed what I've found to be an unusual dislike for self-proclaimed "moderates". I observed that the senators with an ideology, whether "conservative" or "liberal" were most likely to be acting to further that ideology. In other words, their constituents got what was advertised in the election. For example, at one point in a fit of historical amazement, New Yorkers elected Jim Buckley (William F. Buckley's brother) as a senator. He voted exactly as he had campaigned, and was one of the most principled senators I had the privilege to observe. Sen. Buckley was defeated after one term as New Yorkers returned to their more liberal traditions. I suspect Jim Buckley wouldn't have it any other way. Senator Birch Bayh was a similar example on the opposite side of the political spectrum. In my estimation, it was the "moderates," the "centrists," the "liberal Republicans" and "Conservative Democrats" that you had to watch with suspicion. I realize that this is a broad generalization (obviously it was not the case that no liberal Republican or conservative Democrat had principles) , but because this picture is contrary to what many people suspect, I wanted to put it out here for discussion.

Sometimes I have viewed columnist David Brooks as an embodiment of everything I distrusted in this fashion. His columns seem to have the "if only we could get all the smart, reasonable people together" mentality that I thought brought disaster upon disaster to the US in the 1970s. So imagine how stunned I was to see his column today in which he takes to task exactly this "establishment" class for the scandal that was Fannie Mae.

(Thanks to Hot Air for the tip to the link.)

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