Monday, January 25, 2016

A "Centrist Revolution"?

by JASmius

Uh, I think somebody needs to enlighten Charles Wheelan on the accurate definition of the word "centrist," because Michael Bloomberg definitely does not qualify for it:

If former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg decides to toss his hat into the presidential ring as an independent alternative he could bring about a centrist revolution, writes author Charles Wheelan at U.S News & World Report.

Bloomberg said he will make a decision by March, and it will be affected by whether businessman Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination or Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wins the Democrat nomination. The ex-mayor thinks both candidates are too extreme.

I'm sorry, folks, I'm getting that political vertigo feeling again, like if I don't sit down the only thing that will prevent me from falling over is the force of my downward projectile vomiting.

First, just exactly what is a "centrist revolution"?  What belief system or philosophy would drive it?  For what would its adherents and acolytes stand?  In what would it believe?  Does anybody know?  If George Washington was the leader and symbol of the American Revolution - which manifestly and most certainly DID have a coherent ideology and DID stand for something - then the man to lead the "centrist revolution" is Jerry Seinfeld, because he is the expert on "shows about nothing".

Second, Michael Bloomberg certainly doesn't stand for nothing.  He is a died-in-the-wool, totally sold out, true-believing nanny state leftist who is hellbent on dictating what we eat, how we eat, how much we eat, and how often we eat - he's as big a food nazi as Michelle Obama - and, of course, is equally hell-bent on gun confiscation.  Ask yourselves this: Is there any issue, any at all, for which Bloomie has ever been known to have expressed a position that can remotely be described as conservative?  I know of none.  And "he once switched from Democrat to Republican" doesn't count.

So what is the source of the myth of Bloomie's purported "centrism"?  Near as I can tell it's that he was a Democrat, then switched to Republican, and then made a big show of walking away from both parties.  Which means he's "third party" - which is to say, no party - by definition, but in no way demarcates any ideological mid-ground.  And even if it did, hasn't anybody ever wondered why there has never, not once in almost 240 years, been three major parties?  It's because a centrist party wouldn't stand for anything.  It's raison d'etere would be a nullity.  Absence of principle would be its core point.  It would borrow and dilute ideas from the Democrats and Republicans.  It would be the "lite" of both parties.  And lacking any identity of its own, it would quickly fizzle and whatever elements it had managed to attract would be reabsorbed into the two real parties.  And in the mean time, it would further divide, gridlock, and embitter our politics, under either of Wheelan's two scenarios for a triple threat match next November:

If Bloomberg runs, Wheelan argues, it would make it less likely that any candidate would win a majority of electoral votes as required by the Constitution. If that happens, the presidency would be decided by the House of Representatives.

Each State delegation would be given one vote. And since most State delegations are majority Republican, they might just elect the GOP nominee.

Or an actual Republican, if the nominee was Trump.  Whose description by Bloomers as "extreme" I find a non sequitur in every sense except loathsomeness and dishonesty.  But imagine a scenario in which the election is thrown into the House, and the Republican "establishment" exacted its ultimate revenge by electing....Jeb Bush as the forty-fifth president of the United States.  I, for one, would be actively rooting for it, just to see leftwingnuts, Trumplicans, AND Tea Partiers thrown into the same, simultaneous, utter, screaming rage, to say nothing of the multiple fistfights that would break out on the House floor like they do in the Taiwanese legislature and whether Jeb would ever show his face in public again for fear of assassination.  I can't think of a better and more fitting end to this cycle of psychopathic "populist" mass hysteria.

Alas, the first half of the other scenario is the more likely one - though neither is likely overall:

Perhaps moderate Republican delegations would unite with Democrats to elect Bloomberg – or Bloomberg might actually win enough electoral votes without the decision being thrown to the House.

First, I seriously doubt that there are any entirely "moderate Republican delegations".  There are individual RINOs, but they constitute ten percent or less of the total GOP majorities on either side of Capitol Hill, and don't control any State delegation.  But even if they did exist, while they might be willing to defect to Blooms to avert Trump - and the opposite looks to be happening at the moment - there's no reason whatsoever to believe that Democrat-controlled delegations would desert Bernie Sanders to make common cause with Republicans of any label for any purpose, much less determining the next president.

Wheelan's is, in other words, the usual, quadrennial "centrist" fantasy that always sees a mass market for moderation - whether they call it "the radical middle" or a "centrist revolution - that has never materialized and never will.  Which is why his final scenario - the one in which Bloomberg doesn't run - is by far the most likely one.

Or at least, it would be in a cycle even nominally less insane than this one.  Which means all bets have to be considered off.  The next thing I'm anticipating is red-furred, bipedal alien-elephant-donkey hybrids in purple tutus dancing the hornpipe and Ross Perot stigmata breaking out on Rush Limbaugh's back.  It's the only rational expectation, after all.

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