The Forgotten Force of Moderation

Those of us who count ourselves among the Boomer Generation probably recall that once upon a time in American politics there was a thing called a “moderate.” These were elected representatives, both Democratic and Republican, who gravitated toward the middle of the political spectrum, who could be counted upon to consider all sides of a situation and then serve as the “moderating” force that resulted in bills being debated, adjusted and ultimately passed. All this was done in the spirit intended by the founding fathers of elected officials representing the best interests of their constituents while coming together collectively for the good of all.

Today, this seems like ancient history, even myth—those long-ago days when the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate sat down together, with allies and aides, and hammered out legislation, with compromise often the necessary ingredient for progress. In those mythical times, it wasn’t about winning politically—or not losing—but about responding to the will of the electorate, and doing what was best for constituents and the country. Now, however, moderation has been replaced by polarization that has the system frozen.
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The Man Who Should Have Been Leader of the Free World

In these days of irrational, even insane political machinations, it’s not hard for the memory to slip backward to a candidate who could make sense of all this and again lead the country to greatness, or at least back to being a legend in its collective mind. He’s the candidate who stated quite clearly, “I must choose my words carefully in order to avoid any negative interpretation. Among politicians, this is a tactic known as lying.”

He decried the idea of a professional politician and established an open and honest position: “If nominated I will not run, and if elected I will not serve.” He proclaimed himself neither left-wing nor right-wing, but “middle-of-the-wing,” while observing, “If either the right wing or the left wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles.” He saw the country’s ills as being traced to a single source: “All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.”

He was the founder of the Straight Talking American Government Party (STAG), and his straightforward, to-the-point campaign slogan was, “I’ve upped my standards. Now, up yours.” He was Pat Paulsen, and even though he’s no longer with us except in spirit, that spirit might be a better choice to head this country, maybe with Bill Clinton as vice-president. Continue reading