We Need a Fighting Center
Once again, John Avlon has an excellent column on Centrists. Avlon urges Centrists not to rest on the filibuster laurel but to start standing up and fighting for the vital Center. He says:
If increasing numbers of militant moderates and middle-of-the-road warriors stand up and speak out in arenas from town halls, talk radio, blogs, and television to the halls of Congress, they can ultimately win this fight. The bipartisan centrist coalition of 14 senators who stopped the so-called nuclear option and simultaneously secured confirmation for formerly blocked judicial nominees like Priscilla Owen need to hear applause from the broad public that appreciates their independent stand against the party leadership. They will get no such vote of approval from their more partisan colleagues…
There is reason for centrist candidates and centrist citizens to feel confidence about their long-term prospects. Seventy-nine percent of American adults favor moderate candidates, while more than four out of five say we need more elected officials who are willing to vote independently rather than strictly along party lines, according to a new Harris Interactive Poll. But while it makes sense that centrist elected officials should hold the balance of power in a country that is closely divided politically, the ideological elites who feel deeply divided have taken control of the parties.
Going forward, centrists cannot afford the luxury of incoherence and indecision: Weakness will only serve as a provocation to professional partisans and ideological absolutists on both sides. If strong centrists are to revive our national search for common ground, moderate voters will have to identify themselves actively as centrists and independents, while members of the growing House and Senate centrist coalitions will have to work together more closely across party lines with greater constancy and sense of purpose.