Friday, July 03, 2009

the imaginary middle

I have grown tired of those who claim to represent the ideological center but in actuality only represent their need to be the center of attention and action. Yesterday, I had lunch with one of my Conservative Republican friends who agrees with me on this point, as well as who the phony centrists are.

So, to name names and get particular, by phony centrists, we mean Sens. John McCain, Kent Conrad, Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, and SCOTUS Justice Kennedy. These people continuously create imaginary divisions and problems so that they can be the solvers of said problem and the beltway media can fawn over them about how statesmanlike, bipartisan, centrist, important and powerful they are.

There are countless examples, but here are a few. Thanks to a prior vote earlier this year, Democrats can pass health care reform within the budget process, which means they only need 50 votes and their can't be a filibuster. Moreover, the budget framework already passed (which created 50 votes only possibility) set aside $634 billion as a "down payment" on health care reform. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored the Senate Health Education Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee bill to cost $611 billion. Using my amazing math skills, this means that if this bill is passed as is, there is $24 billion of wiggle room when you merge the Senate Finance Committee bill into the HELP bill and only 50 votes are needed to pass the HELP bill. Yet Sen. conrad wants there to be some sort of fake compromise to axe the public option, claiming the health care reform legislation is in a "60 vote environment." Sens. Snowe, Specter, and the other Maine Senator who just does whatever Snowe does changed the Stimulus Bill to cap it at some arbitrary number so that they could be "fiscally responsible."

Justice Kennedy's need to be in the middle often results in unreadable and incomprehensible opinions that cause confusion for lower courts and attorneys. Other times, the opinions just make no sense and are internally inconsistent.

The problem is not just bad policy is the result of their pomposity but the fact that these folks are only representing themselves and there is not a silent majority of folks in the middle that agree with them. They oppose or alter widely popular things just so they can have their fingerprints on them and get written up in the big papers. Enough already.

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