Roger L. Simon

For a radical center

Reading on Gateway Pundit of the rise of Cindy Sheehanism in the Democratic Party and the simultaneous Bill-bashing by large portions of that party, I started again to dream the impossible dream – suppose they gave a “system” and nobody came?

Meaning: imagine a situation in the next presidential cycle where the Republicans nominate someone too conservative for the American public on social issues and the Democrats someone too … whatever … can’t really use the world liberal here … isolationist? … on foreign affairs. The conventional wisdom is that the people will compromise and accept one of the “big tents.” How tediously boring, how indeed “conventional,” and how, fundamentally, undemocratic. In our system, as it is currently constructed, the majority more often than not gets screwed.

I know many people hate change, fear it in their souls, but to use a modern cliché, we may be reaching a tipping point. Our major parties are based on threads of allegiances that go back decades and are increasingly thin and often self-destructive to the parties themselves, certainly to evolving thought and changing conditions. Yes, websites, blogs, etc. serve to whip up the bases of those parties (and keep things ever the same), but they also serve to inform swing voters who think for themselves and control the final outcomes, especially to the extent those centrist voters are able to find candidates who reasonably represent them. Our system has often militated against that, but here’s another suppose: the Repubs and the Dems nominate candidates from those extreme bases and Rudolph Giuliani runs as a third party candidate. Would he win? I not only think Rudy would but, depending on how extreme the other candidates are, I think he would win big. It would revolutionize a moribund system.

We need a rebellion from the center.