US – Economy – The Political Spectrum – Paul Ryan and the Budget – Centrist Flim-Flam? But Most Independents Hate The Republicans Right Now – 10 April 2012

“But the ‘centrists’ who weigh in on policy debates are playing a different game. Their self-image, and to a large extent their professional selling point, depends on posing as high-minded types standing between the partisan extremes, bringing together reasonable people from both parties — even if these reasonable people don’t actually exist. And this leaves them unable either to admit how moderate Mr. Obama is or to acknowledge the more or less universal extremism of his opponents on the right.”

I agree completely with this comment of Paul Krugman’s. We have a lot of those kinds of “centrists” these days. The ironic thing is that most independent voters in the US right now are not, by this definition, “centrists”. Most independent voters are turned off by Republican extremism, and comparatively more attracted to President Obama’s genuine spirit of bipartisanism. I’ve said repeatedly that the reason I’m still with Obama is that I thought he was selling this image of the Democrats the whole time – Obama plays the role of “the only reasonable person in the room” while the Republicans cry and demand their toys. Indpendent voters see that, and vote accordingly.

But the thing is, has Paul Krugman really gotten this about the President? He appears to get it in this article, but most of his other articles have been criticisms of the President for not fruitlessly trying to push through a bigger stimulus, despite the lack of votes, and not fruitlessly trying to push through single-payer health care, despite the lack of votes, and for not doing any one of a number of things on the Utopia-Limited-liberal-Left-wish-list…despite the lack of votes.

The thing is, had Krugman been the President instead of Obama, those same independent voters would be turned off, and the “high-minded” centrist narrative would probably have won the day. The choice would seem to be between the impossible and the horrible, instead of between the achievable and the horrible.

Incidentally, speaking of “high-minded”…how does the finger-wagging of a know-it-all economics professor sound? (Granted, he does know economics. He does know what _should_ be done. But how to _ensure_ it is done? Typically I think he would do better to defer to people who know more about that. Like the current occupant of the White House, for example.)

[Before all of you write me to tell me I’m no stranger to sounding like a “high-minded know-it-all” myself…well, I probably do sound that way. Anyone who has an opinion and defends it probably sounds that way at times. But if Krugman is willing to dismiss the centre like this, he should be made aware that a lot of independent voters have different views than he ascribes to them, and relate to the President in just the opposite way than he describes. He may not be willing to see these independent voters for what they are because he has a self-congratulatory view of his own liberalism being “better” than centrism. Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t…and maybe he should check.]

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