Monday, April 18, 2005

The Incredible Shrinking Moderate

Every so often I get a post such as this from some "concerned Democrat" that goes like this: stop beating your head against a wall with the Republicans and join the Democrats which are more acepting of moderates. The fallacy is that Democrats are not as extreme as Republicans and that moderates will find a home in the Party of the Donkey as opposed to the Party of the Elephant.

But of course, the Dems are becoming as radical as the Republican party, though maybe not drinking such large amounts of Kool-Aid as Republicans. There are a few articles in the news that highlight this growing poliarization among the political class and how it is destroying any chance for compromise.

Ronald Brownstien notes that moderates in both parties, Blue State Republicans and Red State Democrats are finding it hard to be bridge builders when both parties think that's it in their best interests to be as partisan as one can be. He talks about moderate Republican Senator Linc Chafee, who is considered by some in his own party to be "RINO" or Republican in Name Only because he has deviated from party orthodoxy on issues such as tax cuts, the Iraq war and drilling in the Alaskan Artic. He also throws in Democrat Ben Nelson from Nebraska who along with other moderate Dems are being held in line on the Social Secutiry issue and not allowed to make a compromise.

The Washington Post reports that a handful of GOP state legislators are recieving primary challenges this year. Their chief? Voting for a tax hike. One of the primary challengers explains that there are other reasons he is running:

If Scott "had voted right on the moral issues, I wouldn't be in this race," [Mark]Jarvis said. He cited Scott's opposition to a bill that required parental notification for minors to receive the morning-after pill as an example of his "moderate" social stands.

"Taxes are important," Jarvis said, "but I didn't get in just for the taxes."

It used to be that both parties had a great amount of diversity within them. The factions didn't always get along, but they respected one another. These days, the parties tend to represent religion at its worst. The darker side of faith tends to see those who are faithful, the remnant, and those who are on the side of evil. There is good and bad and no in between.

Politics on both the left and right in America has become more and more based "faith" than on reason. To be loyal is to follow the dictates of party orthodoxy. If you stray, woe to you.

For those of us who don't see politics as faith, but as a way to get things done, we are being cast off into the sidelines. I have no idea what we can do get combat this increasing fanaticism that is infecting both parties.


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