The silly, but amusing, Kathleen Parker offers up silly, but amusing, commentary at the Washington Post. The pith of Parker's thinking: If only the inchoate mass known as "centrists" could coalesce and exert their power, the nation would balance out. That nasty, ongoing war between right and left about the nation's future -- about liberty itself -- could be shunted to the sidelines. A girl like Kathleen doesn't like icky messes.
Writes Parker: "[I]f only there were someone to harness and channel what I would call their [centrists'] normalcy." No whiff of elitism in the word "harness," eh? Centrists are just plow horses waiting to be yoked and put to a work for normalcy's sake. Who is that "someone" who can lasso lumpen-centerists into a political force, by the way?
From Parker's quill:
The challenge for the moderate middle is to create an organizing principle -- all things in moderation? -- and produce a centrist, non-ideological, pragmatic leader, preferably one un-indebted to billionaires or radio babbleheads.
I thought the Republicans had been coming close to that, for the most part, since 1940? Most recently, the Republicans gave us Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole, and the Bushes. A radical rightist among that bunch?
W's wars following 9/11 might have wearied the centrists, but his domestic policies were mostly agreeably "Big Tent," per Karl Rove's expert guidance. Medicare prescriptions, pushes for immigration reform, and Harriet Woods. (Just how much of a cipher was Woods?) Congressional Republicans weren't averse to spending, just not on the scale of the Obama-Pelosi Democrats to come. Remember "compassionate conservatism," Kathleen, the supposed strategy of finding the middle and governing from it?
Of course, we must ask Parker, "What defines a centrist?"
Parker borrows from a recent Esquire-NBC News Study to come up with this snapshot:
By "normal," I mean that centrists like to keep as much of their hard-earned cash as possible, but want to help the helpless. [Hmm. Who doesn't?] They tend to prefer a laissez-faire attitude toward their neighbors, assuming no one's making child porn next door or beating up the spouse and kids. [That's nice to draw the line at child porn and spousal and child abuse. How about a meth lab?] Want to get married? Please. [...and to anyone or anything you like, goes the inference.] Need an abortion? Fine, but three months is plenty of time to figure it out. [Yes, because a nanosecond after midnight starting the second trimester, a fetus magically becomes a human being.] People who want to smoke pot in the privacy of their own home do not belong in jail. [...nor do people who smoke cigarettes in their homes, eh, but the laws seem headed in that direction. Pot's healthy, cigarettes aren't?]
And Parker says this about centrists:
Centrists would rather not discuss guns or God. Thirty-four percent reported owning a gun, compared with 62 percent that does not. A plurality -- 45 percent -- thinks background checks are fine. Only 29 percent of centrists say that religion and prayer are important to them. Even so, these folks are not heartless. Forty-four percent strongly supports increasing the minimum wage and only 8 percent strongly opposes doing so.
Let's see. Centrists would rather not discuss guns or God, but the left, in some form, would like very much to take both away. Only "29 percent say that religion and prayer are important to them." Most unfortunate, by my reckoning. But how about the rights of those Americans who do find religion and prayer important and are not shy about discussing so publicly?
Banish them, along with gun owners and cigarette smokers. The public square -- any square -- needs to be cleansed of uncomfortable talk about God. But let's crank up the zany talk about climate change and the Apocalypse in the offing if we don't heed the grim Al Gore's ranting.
A cup of joe and a Kathleen Parker read on a Sunday morning is quite "marvey."