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7/18/2005

Center? Right...

Apparently there's a new "centrist" blog called "Donklephant" - you know, like a combination of a donkey and an elephant. Blech.

It seems they're catching shit from lefties, who tend not to take too kindly to self-described "centrists." (Think Joe Lieberman, who I'm sure the guys at Donklephant just looove.) TBogg calls them "Yoosta Bee Democrats" (a reference to this very funny Tom Tomorrow cartoon), and Roy Edroso says "it is generally accepted on the site that liberals should be allowed to live. I'll try back in a few months when it goes totally right-wing."

Donkephant blogger Michael J. Totten responds to those who accuse him and his comrades (oops, sorry) of being closet right-wingers:
Look, kids, the center by definition isn’t right-wing. That’s why it’s the center. How many times do we have to go over this? Do I need to draw you a picture?

Left_Center_Right.JPG

You’ll notice that the center isn’t left, either. There are, generally speaking, at least two kinds of people who argue with the left. Both right-wingers and centrists do it. Not only is that allowed, it’s part of the whole point of being in the middle instead of on the left.

You can’t even stick one little pinky toe outside the left-wing perimeter without being denounced as a right-wing death beast by some people. That exclusive bitchy little high school clique really does subscribe to the whole “you’re either with us or you're against us” mentality. How unnuanced and simplisme.
Two points here:

1. Just saying that you occupy the center doesn't make it so. Even if you genuinely think you're a centrist, that doesn't make it so either. Everybody thinks they're a centrist; hell, I'm sure Tom Coburn thinks of himself as a moderate-type of guy.

2. Even if the folks at Donklephant do occupy a position smack in the middle of the Republican and Democratic parties, that still doesn't make them objectively "centrist," for the fact is that both of these parties lean strongly to the right. America is a bird with two right wings; I think it would be reasonable to consider anyone to the right of, say, Howard Dean or maybe John Kerry to be a bona fide right-winger. I mean, we'd call bullshit on Newt Gingrich if he went around calling himself a liberal, even though he might have been considered one in Nazi Germany (well, maybe he'd be a "centrist"). So when those on the left slag you off as just another bunch of right-wingers, keep in mind that they're probably adjusting for the fact that the spectrum of mainstream political discourse in the US tilts heavily to the right.

Is that nuanced enough for you?

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