A Plea for Moderation

By now, we’ve all heard of or seen the GOP Pledge for America. We’ve also see the response to it, both partisan and non-partisan. The general opinion seems to be that it is a partisan pledge, and not a real attempt to solve the problems facing this country.

I mention this not to debate the Pledge for America (and I’ll repeat that: I do not want to debate the Pledge for America), but to discuss the hyperpartisan environment that exists in politics today. Rather, I’m writing this post to highlight an article in the LA Times about moderates who are organizing behind candidates willing to put the hyperpartisanship aside and work together to solve the problems of this country. This article highlights the effects of Mayor Bloomberg in New York, as well as the No Labels effort: putting labels aside to do what is best for America.

I think this is a good thing. For far too long we have been focused on black and white. The notion has been: If the other party is for it, I’m against it. This is wrong. This is something that has been stewing in my thoughts long before the “Pledge for America”, for I’ve been thinking that the Republicans are just as much to blame as the Democrats for the problems with the health bill and the bailout. For both parties, the emphasis has been blocking what the other does, as opposed to working to find a compromise that gets the legislation right the first time. This is all complicated, of course, by the fact that staffers and lobbyists write 80% of the legislation anyway, creating special cases for special interests.

Health care is a good example. For all the furor over the health care bill, and all the push from the Republican side to repeal it… guess what? A new AP Poll shows that a majority of Americans felt that the health care reform should have done more. The problem is not that the health care reform was done, but that the job wasn’t done right. We don’t need to repeal the bill—we need to fix it…. and fix it so it works right for the people, not the insurance companies or the special interests. In order to do this, legislators need to come together and put aside the political labels.

As the LA Times article notes, the voices on the fringe, amplified by the Internet and the pundits, have drowned out moderate reason and compromise and the ability to work together. You can certainly see this, just in the comments on the post, where again the fringe is attempting to shout it out.

I happen to be a moderate. I don’t believe in expansive government: I think government should have real (not imaginary) funding sources for its initiatives, and that there are areas the government should not be involved in. But I also believe government has a role and can be effective. In particular, I believe that government has a role in regulation, using its power to limit some of the excesses that human nature drives people to do. I found this LA Times article quite interesting, and think I’ll look a bit more into this No Labels group. Much as I like tea, it belongs in my French Press and my teacup, not on the political stage.