The Moose addresses the political paradox of the moment.
November will be about the battle of the bases. Republicans and Democrats will attempt to mobilize their respective faithful to turn out and either keep or take power. The partisans will be in the saddle over the next two months.
But, on November 8th, the moderates will rule. Whether Republicans or Democrats control Congress, it will be very likely that the margin of the majority will be smaller or be essentially the same as it is today. Under those circumstances, moderates will be the power brokers on Capitol Hill. The center will be the swing. They will hold the balance of power on what legislation is able to pass muster in the Senate and the House. Seth Gittell wrote a piece on this subject in yesterday's New York Sun - here.
Just think, Joe Lieberman may be the most powerful Senator come November!
While the lefty nutroots get a lot of attention, TLC and pandering these days, they may have already seen their best days. The next big thing will be the immoderate moderates who will be the real power brokers in American politics.
And after this election, the American people may be very tired of the gotcha politics and the annoying polarization. To understand the emerging Zeitgeist, pick up a copy of Lanny Davis' just released must-read book, "Scandal: How "Gotcha" Politics Is Destroying America."
As former Counsel to President Clinton and one of his prime defenders during impeachment, Lanny had first-hand experience with the politics of personal destruction, the misuse of scandal and mindless partisanship. No one was a more effective advocate for the President than Davis. And very few partisans in this town are as reasoned and gentlemanly as Lanny.
Several years ago shortly after impeachment, the Moose witnessed Lanny address a room of Republican congressional staffers at a Heritage Foundation event. He masterfully handled this potentially hostile crowd by opening his presentation by acknowledging that he was wrong in the eighties when he didn't oppose the independent counsels who hounded Reagan Administration officials. He then challenged the conservatives to be consistent in their opposition to run-away prosecutions. Lanny both charmed and stumped them.
In his new book, Lanny spares neither the left nor the right in assigning blame for the creation of our current toxic political culture. Interestingly, he offers Robert Kennedy as an example of a politician who "reflected both the ideological mix of policies and brand of leadership willing to take on the left and the right, standing and abiding on his deep convictions."
And Lanny offers hope for the emergence of the "angry center" or "New Center." He writes,
"The great and angry center just might be willing to ask us all, partisans on all sides, to sit back and think about what is best for the country and how we can end the suffering and frustration of the scandal culture. The people might just lead us, convince us - left, right and center, liberals and conservatives - to take a time out from partisanship, even if it is just a brief one-presidential term to allow our nation to unite in common purpose for the common good to solve our problems at home and defeat the terrorist enemy abroad."