News of Note For Wednesday. What is a Centrist? Emanuel Redux.

Interesting blurbs instead of long winded comments today…

Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Heading Left

The New York Times is running a piece this morning detailing how Republican governors up for re-election are running to the left, or at least the center, in their efforts to keep their jobs. According to the article, “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is bragging about an initiative to lower greenhouse gases with the onus on big companies, a $1 increase in the state’s minimum wage and a program to open up access to prescription drugs.

In Massachusetts, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who is seeking to fill the seat that will be vacated by Gov. Mitt Romney, has openly split with Mr. Romney on abortion rights and stem cell research; her views are shared by the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois, Judy Baar Topinka, who also supports civil unions for same-sex couples.

In Maryland, the Republican incumbent, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., is pushing for increasing state aid for programs for the disabled and imposing tighter restrictions on coal-fired plants; the Republican governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, opposes the death penalty. In Connecticut, Gov. M. Jodi Rell also parts ways with the Republican Party on civil unions and financing for stem cell research.”

McAuliffe To Join Clinton Presidential Campaign?

According to The Hill, the answer to the above question is “yes.” “Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe has told business associates and Democratic donors that he will chair Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign next year, according to several Democratic sources.

Together, Clinton, the favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and McAuliffe, the top money man in Democratic politics, have a good chance of raising $100 million before the first official contest, the Iowa caucuses in January 2008.

McAuliffe told The Hill yesterday that Clinton has not made a decision on running for president and will not do so until after Nov. 7. McAuliffe also denied telling friends that he will serve as chairman, although sources contradict him.”

Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Proposes Anti-Poverty Measures

Looking more and more like a man who wants to attract a wide array of voters for a Presidential run he says isn’t going to happen, Michael Bloomberg (former Democrat, current Republican, future Independent?) is bucking conventional wisdom on poverty and proposing revolutionary measures that will pay the poor to make the right everyday decisions – showing up for school, free medical appointments or work; studying for exams; using free prenatal nurse services, etc.

Concerns are how it will be payed for and how to eventually wean them off it. My suggestion: Take a page from Bill Clinton’s welfare reform package and only pay for a set amount of time. Of course, I’m sure Bloomberg has already considered this being that he recently met with the DLC’s Al From to discuss political strategy.

Former Republican Senator Jack Danforth, an ordained priest, Seeks To Deliver The GOP From The Clutches Of The Religious Right

Amen! The author of two op-eds in The New York Times last year decrying the “takeover” of the Republican Party by the Christian right, Danforth has now written a book called “Faith and Politics.” Described as both a memoir and a presentation of the issues posed by today’s religio-political agenda by the Christian Science Monitor, the book offers what he views as a desirable alternative. Describing bipartisan achievements by centrists in the Senate, it asserts that the center is where action beneficial to the nation occurs.

Danforth’s motivation stems from the Terri Schiavo case, in which he believes Republicans abandoned their principles against federal intervention in individual lives and state matters. He also takes issue with the current GOP’s stance on stem cell research.

**** Political Quizzes****

Occasionally I take quizzes online to see where I currently fall on the political spectrum. Of course, no quiz is truly accurate because often the questions are worded in a way people might not understand, but it’s fun just the same.

One quiz I hit is called “The World’s Smallest Political Quiz” at the Libertarian site The Advocates.

Here is my current score:


No surprise there, huh? Here is the breakdown on various positions of the total number of those who have taken the quiz: Centrist 33.18%, Right (Conservative) 8.69%, Libertarian 32.72%, Left (Liberal) 17.50%, Statist (Big Government) 7.92%.

Here is how “centrist” is described by the quiz: CENTRISTS espouse a “middle ground” regarding government control of the economy and personal behavior. Depending on the issue, they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes support individual freedom of choice. Centrists pride themselves on keeping an open mind, tend to oppose “political extremes,” and emphasize what they describe as “practical” solutions to problems.

All this, of couse, made me wonder how others describe “centrists.”

I believe has an excellent description:

Centrists are ideologically flexible. Centrists recognize the complexity of public policy choices and look to many kinds of solutions. Which solution depends on the circumstances, the problem, and the public interest. Ideologues repeat their slogans with little regard to the specific policy problem at hand. Conservatives shout “private good, public bad.” Liberals shout “public good, private bad.” By contrast, the centrist movement can show politicians how to use both the private and public sectors (often in combination) to creatively solve problems that we would otherwise just shout about.

Finally, in reference to yesterday’s post on Rahm Emanuel and the left being fearful he will get credit for the Democrats reclaiming the House of Representative, one “progressive” admits the idea petrifies her because it would mean Howard Dean wouldn’t get credit. Wow.


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