Obama Should Act Like He Won

Thomas Frank – The Wall Street Journal

Copyright The Wall Street Journal
[Ed.’s note: A brilliant little bit here on the delusion of Washington centrism.]
Centrism is something of a cult here in Washington, D.C., and a more specious superstition you never saw. Its adherents pretend to worship at the altar of the great American middle, but in fact they stick closely to a very particular view of events regardless of what the public says it wants.
And through it all, centrism bills itself as the most transgressive sort of exercise imaginable. Its partisans are “New Democrats,” “Radical Centrists,” clear-eyed believers in a “Third Way.” The red-hot tepids, we might call them — the jellybeans of steel.
The reason centrism finds an enthusiastic audience in Washington, I think, is because it appeals naturally to the Beltway journalistic mindset, with its professional prohibition against coming down solidly on one side or the other of any question. Splitting the difference is a way of life in this cynical town. To hear politicians insist that it is also the way of the statesman, I suspect, gives journalists a secret thrill.
Yet what the Beltway centrist characteristically longs for is not so much to transcend politics but to close off debate on the grounds that he — and the vast silent middle for which he stands — knows beyond question what is to be done.
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