The Route to (Centrist) Paradise
Just a brief note to follow up on Jonathan's excellent post from earlier on the need for centrist interest groups and organization. I fully agree, and wanted to just mention one such group that has recently formed. It's in the foreign policy arena, where I tend to think bipartisanship and centrist principles generally have an easier time taking root than on domestic issues (at least in the past), but it's certainly worthy of some mention and discussion.
The Partnership for a Secure America is scheduled to officially kick off operations this week, with stated goals of heightening "public awareness of and support for a bipartisan national security and foreign policy," bringing "leading Democrats and Republicans together to seek common ground in national security and foreign policy," and accomplishing "the above tasks through the use of the most effective tools of modern communications." Its founders are former Clinton national security aide Jamie Metzl and Chip Andreae, former chief of staff to Senator Richard Lugar. The 23-member board reads like a who's who of the foreign policy center: Warren Rudman, John Danforth, Gary Hart, William Perry, Madeline Albright, Tom Kean, William Weld, Lee Hamilton ... the list goes on; you can find all the names here, in an article on the effort from The Hill.
In an online petition (signable), the PSA outlines its major beliefs, and its objectives for bipartisan cooperation on foreign policy, and includes a list of major areas where cooperation and conensus could go a long way toward improving not only our own security, but the overall stability and security of the world community. They ask at the top "Why are we pulling apart when we need to pull together? Sixty years ago, a great generation of Americans came together to build a better world from the ashes of war. Republicans and Democrats cooperated in supporting a bipartisan foreign policy to protect the American people against a powerful, long-term threat to our national security. Today, a new long-term global peril faces our country. But growing partisan bitterness is derailing substantive discussion and vigorous debate on national security issues."
Take that last sentence, remove "national security," and fill in the blank. As Jonathan notes below, the problem of partisan bitterness is by no means exclusive to national security issues. But I have to tip my hat to those responsible for the formation of this group, and I hope that it's only the beginning. How long will it be until we see the rise of a Partnership for a Fiscally Secure America, or the Partnership for an Energy Efficient America, or you name it?
Hopefully not very long. We've waited far too long already.