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A proud member of the reality based commentosphere since 2000. You can find my two Eurocent mainly at liberal and centrist discussion threads, but also at some other surprising places. Also tweeting now, as user "graygoods".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who's a real 'centrist' blogger?

Well, I'm ashamed when I see the date of my latest entry, so I have the urge to feed the blogger again. Imho this comment may be of common interest, a topic that hasn't been exhaustively discussed at other blogs recently.

When I revisited The Moderate Voice today, an interesting (at least for me) question came up:

"So the only centrists are liberal centrists?"

In practice, 'centrist' is used to describe a general direction, so, ok, there can be liberal and conservative centrists. And of course, the question always is, how to distinguish them from the 'pure' wingers, left and right. Imho an important characteristic of a moderate is that he listens to both sides, and uses arguments from the whole spectrum as it fits his views. TMV's own Joe Gandelman and BallonJuice's John Cole are good examples for this approach.

But someone who consistently agrees with bloggers on the right, while having only criticism for the left side (if he mentions them at all), doesn't look very 'centrist' to me. TMV's Michael van der Galien fits this description. Out of fairness, I scrolled through the last three weeks of blogging there to see if I might be mistaken. Alas, no, he still looks only at the right side for inspiration. And this quote from one of his posts is telling (it's about revitalisation of the GOP): "For the sake of the U.S.A., the Republican party and for that of my conservative brethren in America, I hope so."

Now, this is an honest statement. Sadly, he's isn't always that honest, sometimes he fools readers and tries to establish himself as a moderate, claiming he is rightwing on foreign policy, but liberal on social issues. Well, Michael, where are all those posts supporting liberal social issues? The best I could find was a compromise point of view on abortion (generally, yes, but absolutely no late term). This doesn't sound very liberal to me, many republicans support the same idea. What's his opinion on minimum wage, health care, social security? I can't find any liberal statements at all, and it looks like those topics aren't important to him. So why should anybody think MvdG is a centrist? Not to speak of Ann Althouse! That she managed to trick the panel of the Weblog Awards into letting her run as a centrist blogger, doesn't make her one.

And this leads to another question: Can't a blog be 'centrist' because a liberal and a conservative blogger balance each other? Imho, NO, because two ships following parallel courses may have an average course in the middle, but they will still arrive at very different harbors. The passengers have to decide on which cruise they will book. Just my personal opinion, your mileage may differ.

One final point: While I think MvdG is too conservative a blogger for TMV, I don't believe that his input has already stained the centrist approach of this blog beyond repair. Looking at the less-than-stellar list of nominees (where's Ballon Juice?), and out of respect for Joe Gandelman, I follow the example of Ezra Klein and endorse The Moderate Voice for Best Centrist Blog at the Weblog Awards 2006.

I'm aware that MvdG essentially surrendered to Ann Althouse, but since I haven't seen other TMV bloggers, especially Joe, support this defatist course, I think the race is still on. Stop the travestie of Ann Althouse putting a bad name on real centrist bloggers, vote The Moderate Voice!

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