A Few Centrist Links


…Shout out to my fellow centrists…

Noga (Contentious Centrist): PC Term for Terrorism: “Overseas Contingency Operation”

A short person is “vertically-challenged”, a liar is “truth-challenged”, a beautiful woman suffers from “lookism”, a bad person is “morally-challenged” … and a terrorist is now an overseas contingency operative…

The Middle (Jewlicious) discusses Israel After Gaza

Assymetric warfare is challenging for Israel in a way that it isn’t for large and powerful states such as the US or Russia. Part of the conflict, the part that exists in the ether of media publications and reports, is the perception of the Israelis as strong and rich Westerners while their foes, the Arabs, are perceived as weak, poor and unable to compete with Westerners. War scenes from Gaza and from Lebanon enhanced this perception and sealed it with some effective visuals about the damage caused to Arab civilians. Thus, you can’t win if you’re Israel. If you don’t attack, you keep getting attacked, but if you do attack and win, then you lose the public perception fight.

This is a big deal. Israel can’t survive on its own, and Israel has, for good or bad, tied its future to the US. However, this is not a balanced partnership because Israel can never supply the US with enough intelligence or any other form of support to equal what the US gives Israel. Which is why Israel has to behave in a manner acceptable to the Americans, and to some degree that is going to be determined by the views of the person on the street…the one who votes and who matters to politicians.

That is the heart of the latest battle in the war. We are now witnessing an assault on the mainstream American view of Israel with the goal of weakening Israel to a point where it will lose the support of American governments. To some people, the objective is nothing less than the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. To others, it is merely a desire to punish Israel so that it is forced to offer a different range of compromises to the Arabs. There are those, of course, who may believe that Israel is harmful to American interests, but it’s hard to reconcile that view with people who support Western democratic values. For example, if Chas Freeman prefers that US foreign policy be friendlier to Saudi Arabia and less friendly to Israel because American interests will be better served, then the question that has to be asked is whether he actually believes that a theocratic dictatorship is the model of an ally he thinks the US should support over a vibrant democracy.

Gil Troy (History News Network): Blogging from the Center as a Historian During a Contested Campaign:

These days, in the historical profession and beyond, it is not easy being a moderate. Despite widespread grumbling that President George W. Bush was too headstrong and polarizing, both John McCain and Barack Obama were scorned this summer whenever they played to the center. Reporters mocked McCain’s “Macarena,” sliding right then left, along with Obama’s “policy pirouettes.”

More disturbing, we saw how the gravitational physics of American politics pulled candidates to the right or to the left – there were few institutional, ideological, or media forces pulling them to the center. In mid-June, when John McCain insisted on reading the Supreme Court’s Guantánamo decision before condemning it, conservative bloggers blasted his “tepid” response. In the all-too-familiar media echo chamber that reinforces the conventional wisdom, the New York Times reported the NRO’s verdict on McCain, to reinforce the pre-Palin narrative of the restive Republican conservatives. Now, maybe I’m a little off, but isn’t it a good thing to have a candidate who reads a Supreme Court decision before bashing it (or praising it)?

Similarly, Obama’s musings that by visiting Iraq, he might refine his position angered so many supporters he backpedaled quickly. You will recall that on the eve of his visit to Iraq, the simple suggestion that he needed to consult with U.S. commanders and do a “thorough assessment of the situation,” triggered such a firestorm that he hastily called a second press conference on July 3 in Fargo, ND, saying, “We’re going to try this again. Apparently I wasn’t clear enough this morning on my position with respect to the war in Iraq. Let me be as clear as I can be. I intend to end this war.” Once again, maybe it’s me, but on the eve of a trip to a war zone, isn’t it admirable to have a potential president willing to adjust his positions based on realities he encounters on the ground?

Not Ben Franklin’s Alamanc (just discovered this blog) on the struggle between conservative Democrats and the party’s left-wing: Centrist Dems and the War Between the Roses

The looney left, angered over what they perceive is a back-stab by their moderate compatriots have, according to the Daily Kos, launched a pogrom to remove those they feel are “more responsive to corporate America than to their constituents.”

Sadly, the looney left is burning it’s candle at both ends. It fails to realize that it was a coalition of moderates, liberals and disgruntled Republicans who are the ones who got President Obama elected. Without either the moderates or the ex-facto Republicans, it is highly probable that we’d still be under the heels of a Republican administration. At the same time, their Stalinist purge will only anger those moderates and ex-Republicans who joined with them in last year’s November election and will eventually break their fragile alliance.

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