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The presidential race turned around when Mitt Romney turned into a moderate in the first debate.
Who knows if he is really the moderate of October or the “severe conservative” of the primaries? My guess is that he’s an unprincipled son of privilege who, like George Bush, is trying to live up to an idolized and distant father.
But the reaction to his shift – and the now-tight race – shows what American voters are yearning for.
So here’s the best definition I’ve seen of a moderate, from David Brooks of The New York Times:
“First, let me describe what moderation is not. It is not just finding the midpoint between two opposing poles and opportunistically planting yourself there. Only people who know nothing about moderation think it means that.
“Moderates start with a political vision, but they get it from history books, not philosophy books. That is, a moderate isn’t ultimately committed to an abstract idea. Instead, she has a deep reverence for the way people live in her country and the animating principle behind that way of life. In America, moderates revere the fact that we are a nation of immigrants dedicated to the American dream — committed to the idea that each person should be able to work hard and rise.
“This animating principle doesn’t mean that all Americans think alike. It means that we have a tradition of conflict. Over the centuries, we have engaged in a series of long arguments around how to promote the American dream — arguments that pit equality against achievement, centralization against decentralization, order and community against liberty and individualism.
“The moderate doesn’t try to solve those arguments. There are no ultimate solutions. The moderate tries to preserve the tradition of conflict, keeping the opposing sides balanced. She understands that most public issues involve trade-offs. In most great arguments, there are two partially true points of view, which sit in tension. The moderate tries to maintain a rough proportion between them, to keep her country along its historic trajectory.
“Americans have prospered over the centuries because we’ve kept a rough balance between things like individual opportunity and social cohesion, local rights and federal power. At any moment, new historical circumstances, like industrialization or globalization, might upset the balance. But the political system gradually finds a new equilibrium.
“The moderate creates her policy agenda by looking to her specific circumstances and seeing which things are being driven out of proportion at the current moment. This idea — that you base your agenda on your specific situation — may seem obvious, but immoderate people often know what their solutions are before they define the problems.”


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One comment on “Moderate Mitt

  1. dap916 says:

    Ah, heck, Gary…you could have said all of that just as good as David Brooks.

    I just saw a political ad the Obama team has put out that says, in part, how if he’s reelected, he’ll bring down our national debt. You know…kinda like being a moderate. Now, this is coming from a guy that has increased our national debt exponentially over the last 3+ years…but, “just give me another chance”, so says Obama, and he’ll bring it down. Uh, huh. Right. Sure. Youbetcha. In that same ad, he’s also saying he’s gonna do all of “this and that”…no mention how that’s going to be paid for, of course…but does say he’s gonna ask for just a little bit more from the wealthy. Just a little bit more? That’s going to solve our debt problem and get all those wonderful things done he’s saying he’s gonna do? hahahaha

    Methinks most Americans see that and just shake their heads. Forward…you know, forward to our current huge unemployment numbers, forward to more huge increases in our national debt, forward with more embassy attacks and killings without lifting a finger to intervene, forward with more and more entitlements. We can’t afford “Forward”, my friend. And, if you want to somehow paint Romney as some kind of disengenuous politician, then you need to understand that he’s absolutely NO MATCH for Obama & Co.

    But, hey, we all know you have to defend this guy and you have to say what you say…after all, that’s where you make your living.

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