.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thanks, Much Obliged and a Riff on Centrism

The staff of Indiana Parley is basking in the glow of positive comments posted by two area bloggers. First up is Andrew Kaduk of ...Just for the Record. He posted the following item here.

Thanks, Mitch!

I am taking this opportunity to use the "Normal Size" text option to extend my gratitude to Mitch Harper who authors and moderates www.indianaparley.com for his humbling endorsement via weblink to my modest weblog. Mitch: I will do my best to keep my head and NOT embark on any angst-infused tirades which may offend unnecessarily. Playing to your standard is a challenge to which I look forward as I begin to get aggressive with this site. Cheers Mitch!
There will be another mention of Andrew in a post later today.

Next up is Sheri at Ain't That Sherific. She calls Indiana Parley her "favorite new blog" since Fort Wayne Observed has gone AWOL. We make the assumption that Left of Centrist is her favorite old blog because it is written by her favorite old blogger.

Why did she pick Indiana Parley? She explains that in her post but, then again, her universe of choices is pretty small until more local bloggers enter the scene. Of course, she had already whittled down her choices by one. You just know AWB's Fort Wayne Indiana etc. was not on her list.

Here's her post:
My new favorite local blog . . .

With the apparent demise, at least for the time being, of FWO . . . I have found my new favorite local blog. Check out Mitch Harper's Indiana Parley.

Check out Mitch in a recent post about buyblue.org:
I can't think of a worse idea than to create a business directory based on political viewpoints. Purchases should be based on things like price, quality, customer service and convenience. You know, things which create a competitive advantage
I totally agree. It's ridiculous to "rate" business and their politcial afiliations. This sort of thing will continue to deepen the divide already present in our country.

Think centrist people . . .
Now, I wouldn't necessarily call Sheri a 'centrist' from what I have been able to discern from reading her website. I would say she is 'left of centrist' and that her favorite old blogger is 'way left of centrist.'

Now, the following is not written as a response with Sheri in mind. It is just that her last comment about "think centrist" is a jumping-off point for something I have wanted to write on this weblog for some time. So, Sheri, please understand I appreciate your kind remarks. This probably ought to be made a separate post but it would also lose a little context if it were.

Here's my longer commentary:

I would advocate that what we need is not more people claiming to be centrists. What we need is more civility, cordiality and respect. It is entirely possible for persons having widely divergent viewpoints to argue vigorously but to be civil.

It is even possible for such folks to enjoy each others' company. I know of older persons who have had a lifetime of political and policy differences who are good friends.

I served in the legislature where it was possible to have very sharp policy differences but to respect and like the person with whom you disagreed. I understand that may have changed. I recently received an email from a Democrat friend who still works around the legislature who lamented that both sides have tended to become a little more self-righteous to the point that the sort of camraderie that existed in the legislature several years ago no longer exists.

Part of the advice I give prospective candidates who seek my counsel is that they ought to spend some of their time going door-to-door. Sometimes this advice is given because door-to-door campaigning is an integral part of the campaign strategy. Yet, even when door-to-door is not crucial to a campaign's success, I still urge candidates to do it.

Why? Because it's a great education for the prospective office-holder. People will open up about issues in a way they wouldn't in any other forum. It also puts candidates on doorsteps where they find out that the key to electoral success in a given neighborhood is not about the candidate's position on the war in Iraq. It may be about the poor drainage in the alley behind the homes.

Candidates discover a new way to learn how voters make decisions. It also shows them how many people are alienated from the whole process of elections and voting.

Why? Because no candidate should be afraid to knock on anyone's door in their district.

Some candidates spend their time knocking only on the doors of known adherents of their party or of people who are registered but don't vote in the primary.

I always tell people I would much prefer knocking on the door of a committed Democrat than I would the door of someone who rarely votes and upon hearing your greeting says, "I vote for the person, not the party." My quick question to those folks who would give this hackneyed respons was some variation of, "Really. Well then, who are some of the people you've decided to vote for?"

Of course, the answer was always the same. They couldn't name a single person because, in fact, they didn't know anything about anybody running. The impression of standing on high moral ground that a person like this thinks such a statement conveys was laid bare.

Why would knocking on the door of a committed Democrat be different? They had beliefs; they had thought about issues; they had made some choices. You could usually find some point of agreement on something, however narrow that point might be.

Politics can be rough and tumble, that's for certain. Part of the debate can be pointedly humorous or satirical. But it doesn't have to be relentlessly demonizing or demeaning.

Centrism is highly overrated and often not a very useful concept. Those who proclaim themselves to be centrist often do it so they can proclaim where they think the center is located. If the self-proclaimed centrist is not trying to define the center then the title is often a refuge for the timid or the ignorant.

Vigorous, open and respectful debate. Now, that is a virtue.

Note: I've just visited Leo's Opening Argument. Leo independently used an "alley" reference to illustrate the idea of what issues may really resonate with people. Leo wrote: "...you get to read about the downtown parking issue when all you care about is the pothole in the alley behind your house."

Here, here! Nicely said Mitch.
Doy ou know that those Beatle loving pot smoking dropouts from the 70's named their kids after the beatles??

From her Blog..
"McCartney jumps right up and as soon as her feet hit the floor she is ready to go. Harrison on the other hand, takes his own sweet.."

I guess those kids are lucky they didn't like Sonny and Cher. LMAO
Post a Comment

<< Home