Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation ~ William Lyon Phelps (2/2/1865 to 8/21/1943) An American author, critic and scholar who taught the first American university course on the modern novel. In addition to a radio show, he wrote a daily syndicated newspaper column, lectured frequently, and published numerous popular books and articles.
This rant came about in response to a post from so-called Moderate Willis Hart attacking, yet again, what he calls the "extreme Left". This post from the so-called Moderate was deceptively titled The Indecency of Extremism. I say "deceptive" because, one might think that, given the title, this individual would cite examples of arguments from both the "far Left" and the "radical right" that he finds "indecent". This isn't the case. Instead he whines exclusively about visiting a Left-leaning message board and being attacked when he defended John McCain against charges that he was "a North Vietnamese collaborator" (Which, as far as I can tell, may or may not be true).
The blogger says he pointed out that, while he is no McCain supporter (this was during his bid for the presidency), he felt he needed to point out the inaccuracies of this (supposed) extreme Leftist's argument. When I read Mr. Hart's post I was, naturally, insulted. After I laid out some of my issues with what Willis wrote another moderate chimed in to agree with Willis. I had suggested I might write a post for my blog, and title it "The Idiocy of Moderation". In response the OTHER Moderate repeated Willis' baloney about the problem being, "extremists on BOTH sides of the aisle who absolutely refuse to budge [from] their ideologically entrenched positions".
This, I say, is complete nonsense. I will get to my reasons why, but first I'm going to relate what my issues with the Moderate blogger's post are. to being with (and as I already said), the title of the post implies that the Hartster is going to clue his readers into the reasons why "extremists" on both sides are "indecent" - but that turns out to be a lie since the entire post is a whine about how Liberals attack him whenever he visits their message boards (a frequent complaint of his). This is a tad ironic given the fact that he often accuses a certain left-leaning pundit of having "thin skin".
Secondly, this accusation that John McCain is guilty of collaborationism that Willis implies originated with the extreme Left isn't true. When McCain ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 the group Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain made "controversial allegations against Senator John McCain concerning his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam". A video (see below) put out by the group features allegations from ex-Senator Bob Smith (a REPUBLICAN from New Hampshire) and Rep Robert Dornan (a REPUBLICAN from California). The group is not a Left-wing version of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (who made slanderous allegations regarding John Kerry's service in Vietnam).
In wrapping up his post Hart asks, "don't these people realize that you can defend somebody simply because it's the right thing to do and NOT because of political considerations?". He concludes, "it really doesn't seem that they do". The "these people" and the "they" that Hart refers to are Progressives. These are the "extremists" that Hart is indicting for the (supposed) ill treatment he was subjected to. As one of "these people" who Hart regularly slanders I take exception. I do realize you can defend someone for the reasons Hart gives.
During the video Congressional staffer Tracy Ursy says, "Certainly you do what you need to do to stay alive. Nobody would fault anybody for that", and I agree with that statement. I would not go so far as to say McCain is guilty of collaborationism. But I think it's pretty clear that he did all he could to keep all the facts from coming out. And I think it is legitimate reason to criticize him for these actions (in keeping the facts hidden).
Now, in regards to the allegations implied by Hart on numerous occasions and echoed by this other Moderate that I referenced earlier; that is, that "extremists" on both sides are responsible for the current budget crisis - I categorically reject this notion. It's part and parcel to the BIG LIE perpetrated by the Republicans - which is that the American people should blame both sides equally for the 14.32 trillion dollar national debt. Democrats and Republicans do NOT share equal responsibility for the 14.32 trillion dollar national debt. That debt is MOSTLY Reagan's and W's. Obama is adding to it now, but (1) he's doing it to prevent a depression, and (2) the wars on the books now, unlike with bush who ran them off budget.
Also, while the other previously mentioned Moderate believes "we are where we are because of extremists on BOTH sides of the aisle who absolutely refuse to budge on their ideologically entrenched positions", the fact is he's dead wrong (and is playing right into the Republicans hands by propagating this misinformation). Progressives are not being allowed to participate in the negotiations. They are being totally SHUT OUT (as usual). The negotiating parties are the radically-right Republicans and the Moderate and Conservative Democrats. Nobody on either side has suggested that the middle ground lies somewhere between Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity and the Progressive People's budget.
The progressives ALWAYS budge. Did we get the public option? No. Was the ridiculous and totally unnecessary Stupak–Pitts Amendment excluded from the Affordable Care Act? Yes, but the president "compromised" by issuing an equally ridiculous and unnecessary executive order "preventing" government funds from being used for abortions (even though the Hyde Amendment already accomplishes this).
The conservative position regarding Social Security is that it should be abolished and replaced with a voucher system (shifting much more of the costs onto the backs of future seniors). The Democratic position appears to be that raising the retirement age and decreasing benefits should be examined. Neither is the Progressive position, I can assure you of that. And on it goes - the Progressives state their position and are ignored by both sides. How the hell can we be part of the problem when nobody gives a damn what we have to say? We can refuse to budge, but no one will care.
This is the idiocy of the Moderates - they really believe the solution to all our problems lie in the middle. What they fail to realize is that the middle has shifted significantly to the Right. The radicals on the Right are the only extremists we should be blaming, because only they are threatening to not raise the debt ceiling if they don't get their way. Even though they voted to raise it multiple times when bush was president. But with a Democratic president they hold the middle class tax cuts hostage until he caves, and they get exactly what they want.
What are the Democrats threatening to do? Wait until the last moment before they cave again? According to this other Moderate "we gotta start talking WITH each other not AT each other". Then he says "if we don't come to our senses soon, its all gonna go down the toilet". In response I have to ask - what's with the "we"? Everyone knows President Obama is willing to compromise (by giving the Republicans a large chunk of what they want). With the Democrats things that shouldn't be on the table are, and with Republicans nothing is on the table. Even tax loopholes for corporate jets are sacrosanct. Democrats aren't the ones who are refusing to negotiate in good faith.
The other Moderate says, "I am a Blue Dog Democrat and I gather from your past post you don't think much of me". Yes, you are correct. Moderates are part of the problem. If you truly "sympathize with a lot of progressive issues" then why not STAND WITH US? We need to send a message to the Republicans, which is that their threats aren't going to work this time. But no, standing with the Democrats and the American people would involve standing against the Republicans. Which is something you are apparently unwilling to do. Because you refuse to admit one side is to blame while the other is not.