Michael Totten

Left, Right, and Center

It’s interesting to see some of the reactions around the blogosphere to the new centrist blog Donklephant I’m contributing to.

Tbogg says we’re all “yoostabee Democrats” even though some of us are, in fact, actual Democrats. Callimachus is the only Republican, and he calls himself a RINO (Republican in Name Only). Tbogg also says the site


lays claim to centrism but comes across more like a gay bar for guys who haven’t come out yet (nervous glances, forced smiles, frantic lip licking…”It’s my first time here since the party left me. Can I buy you a Zima?”)

Roy Edroso over at Alicublog takes things a step further:

[I]t is generally accepted on the site that liberals should be allowed to live. I’ll try back in a few months when it goes totally right-wing.

Well, Justin Gardner — the site editor — is a Democrat. Not only did he vote for John Kerry, he originally supported Howard Dean. But whoops! Here’s his crime: He says he doesn’t “agree with either side on everything” and is “turned off by the unquestioning partisan nature of many leading blogs today.” How right-wing of him!
Roy’s comments thread is considerably worse. It’s a perfect example of how the liberal core or “base” has devolved into an exclusive bitchy little high school clique. As Andrew Sullivan put it, “today’s right looks for converts whereas today’s left looks for heretics.”
Here is what a centrist blog looks like to Roy’s readers:

– the same-old same-old rightwing fucknuttery
– Whoa, flashbacks. Anybody remember 2001, when the Perfesser (and many of his ilk) styled himself as a non-partisan “anti-idiotarian”? This seems like the same sort of “centrism” – 95% bashing the left/liberals/democrats, 5% tepid swipes at the least defensible components of the right (that Fred Phelps just goes too far!), all covered with a thick glaze of self-congratulation about how independent and free-thinking they all are.
– [W]e’ve seen your type pop up far, far too often in the past decade. You guys aren’t actually centrist, and I give y’all three months (probably less) before you start publishing columns by David Horowitz, telling everyone that Rev. Moon ain’t that bad, and offering to hold pizza parties for anyone who’ll kill non-Bush-worshipping congressmen/columnists/private citizens.
– I suspect (and this probably isn’t a new thought) that “centrists” are really just old school conservatives who are too embarrassed to accept they’re in the same “big tent” as the neo-cons, evangelists and other post-Reagan freakazoids


Look, kids, the center by definition isn’t right-wing. That’s why it’s the center. How many times do we have to go over this? Do I need to draw you a picture?
You’ll notice that the center isn’t left, either. There are, generally speaking, at least two kinds of people who argue with the left. Both right-wingers and centrists do it. Not only is that allowed, it’s part of the whole point of being in the middle instead of on the left.
You can’t even stick one little pinky toe outside the left-wing perimeter without being denounced as a right-wing death beast by some people. That exclusive bitchy little high school clique really does subscribe to the whole “you’re either with us or you’re against us” mentality. How unnuanced and simplisme.
I will give Roy’s readers credit for unintentional humor.
Robert McClelland sez:

You really have to hand it to the right. They’ve almost got the entire political spectrum covered with people like Michael “the not-conservative but Libertarian” Totten and Jeff “I really, really, really, really am a liberal” Jarvis. All they need now is for one of them to start up a Marxist blog that spouts conservative rhetoric and they’ll have it all sewn up.

Then Smelmoth (lovely name) comes along and breaks the bad news to Robert:

marxist blog that spouts conservative rhetoric anyone? uh, that would be drink soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War. i wish i could say i was kidding… but i’m not. seriously. no, seriously.


It must really suck being a liberal these days. They’re surrounded by right-wing boogeymen on all sides.

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