Thursday, September 3, 2015

Who is a Moderate Politician?

I have posted this question to Jason and received no response, so let's try it here...

I had a related question for you from another post. What do you consider a "moderate"? See the Sponsorship Analysis graphs for a point of reference.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Moderate politicians stand for the proposition that you should be able to have your cake and eat it as well. They seek to please everyone a little bit. They are surprisingly uninfluential because they have no fixed views and can never be counted on in a pinch. Moderate politicians are happiest in the US Senate, where they are not expected to do anything, and where nothing ever gets done, where their only responsibility is to cool the beverage so many other people worked so hard to bring to the table.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

Can I agree with Hiram? A moderate is somebody that "stands for nothing, and will therefore stand for anything." They are not the ones being forced to compromise for the common good, they're the "go along to get along" low-profile types that "hold a seat" because they never stand up for something other than political expediency. Give me a flame-spitting conservative warrior every time. At least you know where they stand, even when they're wrong.

jerrye92002 said...

Anybody else find it a bit upsetting that Boehner is the least conservative Republican and has nearly the lowest "leadership score"?

Sean said...

I think some moderates clearly fall into the category described above -- certainly, I think one could argue that Klobuchar meets that criteria. Despite being arguably the most popular politician in the state, she consistently refuses to expend any political capital on anything controversial.

I do think, though, that there are principled folks who take consistent stands in places that lie more towards the middle. Someone like Collin Peterson, for instance.

I also think that you have some "mavericks" who take principled positions on certain issues that take them out of the mainstream. John Kriesel, for instance, is a conservative guy who took unpopular stands within his party on a couple of issues.

John said...

Personally I am thinking that Jason has a hard time answering this because he disagrees with the graph.

He is sitting in the far left of the stadium, therefore moderates are the people in front of him and maybe a little to the right. That means that 10% are on the Left, 20% are Moderate and 70% are Right wing whackos...

He likely sees Ellison as a Moderate and Paulsen as a far righter.

By the way, this works in reverse also, my ultra-Conservative loving mother likely would see Paulsen as being too Liberal.

John said...

By the way, here is Jason's answer.

"Who do I consider a moderate. Barack Obama. He's a centrist a politician if there ever was one... same with Clinton. On the GOP side, Jon Huntsman, Romney, McCain, Arnie Carlson, etc..."

Obama Graph
Hillary Graph

I replied with a comment similar to above.

jerrye92002 said...

The way Sean is describing moderates makes me wish that all politicians were of that stripe. Personally I have never cared what the liberal or conservative solution to any given problem is; I want everybody to get the RIGHT solution. Of course, in my view, that is almost always the conservative solution, but calling it that simply starts the battle and obscures what should be the reasonable and rational answer.

Obama is not a centrist or moderate. Perhaps he is from Jason's POV, but that makes Jason an extremist. Shouldn't there be some consideration for the "bell curve" of opinion that says if 99.44% of people are to your right, the median doesn't really change? By that measure, Scott Walker is more of a centrist than Obama.

Laurie said...

I think the moderate politicians who are left are nearly all democrats.

Democrats haven’t gone as far left as Republicans have gone right.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, as far as your Slate article goes, I think I disqualify the conclusion out-of-hand because of who states it. That is, if one is a member of the left and the left moves further left, then relative to your position the Republicans have gone further to the right. The more objective way to look at this is to simply ask "who moved?" 30 years ago Republicans believed in lower taxes, lower spending, "peace through strength" and traditional marriage. They still do, making them seem more extreme to the increasingly-radicalized Democrat party.

As for moderates, I would suggest this you search for politicians whose positions are in line with the majority of the public. Right now our two Democrat senators – Franken and Klobuchar – are lined up AGAINST the two thirds of the public who oppose the Iran deal. Obamacare, opposed by a majority of Americans, passed without a single Republican vote. Where were the moderates in the Democrat party?

jerrye92002 said...

Also, I think you would get a lot of argument from a lot of Republicans if you suggest that John Boehner or Mitch McConnell are conservatives, rather than moderates.

John said...

Slate Democrats Have Not Moved as Far Left

Laurie said...

Reagan was moderate by today's standards.

Ronald Reagan, Heretic

John said...

I just left this comment over here.

The Conservatives have been compromising for ~100 years. That is how our total cost of gov't went from ~7% of GDP to ~36% of GDP. The problem is that there seems to be no limit to how far to the Left the Democrats want to pull the country.

The question then, who is compromising in good faith? The people who give in for decades or the people who keep asking for more over and over? Personally I am happy the GOP is striving to stop the slide to the Left.

jerrye92002 said...

John, you need to understand that there is NO LIMIT to the amount of "good" that can be done with Somebody Else's Money. We need to stop and reverse the slide, not just slow it down.

John said...

I do agree that Reagan compromised often with the Democrats in the name of getting things done. However even he noted that the Democrats had shifted too far towards Democratic Socialism for his tastes.

"what Reagan once said about his earlier political affiliation — he didn’t leave the party, the party left him."

And as I noted above, there seems to be no end to the Democratic parties desire for more government control and intervention in our economy. Thankfully the Republicans have been trying to set an anchor and stop our drifting even further to the Left.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, that piece is a brilliant elucidation on this subject, and it has clarified my thinking. First, I think you need to judge people's ideology based on what they wanted or tried to do, not on what actually occurred. For example, the Reagan tax cuts were the right thing to do and a conservative "win" that greatly increased federal revenue, but federal spending went BEYOND that and into deficit because CONGRESS, controlled by Democrats, made it so. NOT his fault.

Second, Reagan was a "moderate" in exactly the right sense. That is, he was a pragmatist-- a seeker of practical solutions-- and as such promoted mostly "conservative" courses of actions, since they are generally the more practical. As for amnesty, the "Reagan amnesty" was almost right. Those folks who came here illegally because our legal system was broken, worked hard and tried to assimilate, ARE the kind of folks we want as new neighbors and ought to "get a break." The problem was, only a relative few of those eligible considered themselves in that category and took the amnesty offered. Now, the problem is much larger and more severe, and it has become a question of how many law-breakers you want to reward for doing all the wrong things. Reagan had the right idea at the time, but the reality was other than what "the heart" believed.

John said...

Jerry,
As I have said before I am okay with trying to live within 33%. That has been pretty stable since Reagan and many people do need help in our intensely globally competitive reality. I just want people to stop trying to give even more of our economy into the government's control.

What worries me even more is that both sides seem okay with continuing to increase the National Debt to support spending at this ~35% rate. Which means we are living better than we should and passing the bill on to our kids.

John said...

"because CONGRESS, controlled by Democrats, made it so. NOT his fault."

Sorry... The buck stopped with Reagan...

Just as our supposedly slow recovery and continuing deficits stop with Obama.

You don't get to change scapegoat methodology depending if you like or dislike the President.

jerrye92002 said...

But just think, if the government continued to tax at 26% and brought spending down to 20%, we could PAY OFF that debt in a mere 400 years! And all it would require is for government to scale back spending to only those things it does well and better than other individual or corporate entities.

jerrye92002 said...

"You don't get to change scapegoat methodology depending if you like or dislike the President." True, but I get to realistically assess liability based on what each of the actors actually did. Congress is responsible for the budget. Democrats overspent and continue to do so. They didn't even live up to their part of the bargain Reagan made with them. Obama, on the other hand, aligned with the Democrats in Congress and acted to make matters even worse with public statements and "executive actions." Since he shared the aims and affiliation with the Democrats in Congress, and acted in concert with them, he CAN legitimately be blamed; no scapegoating involved.

John said...

I hate to have to break it to you... The GOP also supports increasing spending, and may be worse
Forbes Spending
Fact Check Spending Inferno
Forbes Are GOP Bigger Spenders
ZFacts National Debt
Wiki National Debt

The upside is that the Democrats are willing to increase taxes when they increase spending, not just borrow more and make our kids pay for it. Please note that Obama's tax increases are reducing the deficit.

jerrye92002 said...

More "how to lie with statistics," eh? Yes, spending goes up under Republican Presidents and Democratic Congresses, but it goes up worse under Democrat Presidents and Democrat Congresses. It's undeniable that the deficit TRIPLED under Obama, and that he is on track to add more to the national debt than all previous Presidents combined. That's not a tax problem, that's a spending problem. That's best illustrated closer to home, where balanced budgets are required. Every time MN state spending goes up, taxes go up, and every time taxes go up, spending goes up AGAIN the following year.

And Obama's tax increases don't get credit for reducing the deficit, economic growth-- anemic as it is-- does that. That's why I find the "1% solution" so intriguing. The idea is to hold federal spending steady, but cut 1% every year for the next 5 years. This would balance the budget in 5 years, thanks to normal economic growth, or at least that's the claim of proponents of the idea.

John said...

Actually the Deficit under Obama has dropped very significantly. (ie blue line - green line) In part thanks to the DFL tax increase, the GOP spending controls and a recovering economy.

NPR Revenues and Outlays

Now if we could get the spend down 19%, the revenues up to 20% and grow the GDP... We could shrink the national debt pretty quickly.

jerrye92002 said...

Pretty easy to get the deficit down when you start out by tripling (or more) it in your first year. Kinda like those "50% OFF" sales you see, where before the sale they go around doubling all the prices.

John said...

Jerry,
Maybe here is source that you can sanction.
CATO Don't Blame Obama for Bush Deficit

The reality is that Obama inherited a disaster and other than ACA, he did okay with it. Not sure why you want to draw him with a Black Hat.

Sean said...

The ACA reduces the deficit, just FYI.

John said...

Please provide a source for that whopper...

Sean said...

Here's the June CBO Report which shows that repealing the ACA and going back to the old laws would increase the deficit by between $137 and $353 billion over the next decade.

There are plenty of similar analyses going back to when the law was originally passed as well. Keep your head out of the right-wing talking points, and you'll learn something.

jerrye92002 said...

Sean, I know we're supposed to trust the CBO as the authority and all that, but it's obvious that repealing all of the taxes that went with Obamacare, and the $500B cut to Medicare, and the supposed savings that are built into the law but never materialized, of COURSE add up. But it doesn't add up; it; pure fantasy.

jerrye92002 said...

You were the one insisting that the President was responsible for the economy, regardless of who controlled Congress or what Congress or anyone else did. All I'm saying is that the deficit was on its way to zero under Bush, then suddenly became trillion-dollar deficits "as far as the eye can see" under Obama. The lowest labor rate participation in at least 30 years, more business failures than startups, and more national debt than all previous presidents combined, makes the guy a Black Hat in my book, and I don't see any way around it.

Besides, claims that Obama "inherited" an economic problem from Bush don't hold water with me. Sure, for the first few months, but Obama was supposed to FIX it, and didn't. His "recovery" is the slowest since the Great Depression. He promised unemployment would never get above 8%, and it hit 11% shortly thereafter. And of course, "if you like your plan you can keep your plan." The guy's either a naif or a scoundrel, take your pick.

Sean said...

" All I'm saying is that the deficit was on its way to zero under Bush, then suddenly became trillion-dollar deficits "as far as the eye can see" under Obama. "

Um, no. Obama inherited the trillion-dollar deficits. And the deficit today is less than half a trillion dollars.

"He promised unemployment would never get above 8%"

Sure, but he was operating under a faulty set of data. At the time that claim was made (January 9, 2009), the official estimate of Q4 2008 GDP growth was -3.3%. In fact, we now know that GDP growth in that quarter was -8.9%. So the economy was in far worse shape than was believed.

Sean said...

"But it doesn't add up; it; pure fantasy. "

Mere assertion of fantasy does not make it so.

John said...

It is interesting that he did not even checkout the CATO link. I was certain that he would find that unbiased.

jerrye92002 said...

OK, so I looked at the Cato link, and it seems to say exactly what I've been saying, that the deficit exploded on Obama's watch. And rather than fix Bush's "mistakes" of the last quarter of '08, he doubled down with a worthless stimulus and wild spending that continued on for another six years. You don't get credit for halving the deficit when you start out tripling it. And it is STILL higher than the last full fiscal year of Bush.

"Sure, but he was operating under a faulty set of data." I suppose you can come up with any excuse you like, but that doesn't make it a valid one. My personal opinion is that B.O. does not use ANY data, and that he is driven solely by a liberal ideology and a certain megalomaniacal belief that, like Jean-Luc Picard, he can say "make it so" and a new reality is created. He said unemployment would stay down. It didn't. Then he said "our plan is working" and it wasn't. To quote, on his behalf, the old movie line, "I reject your reality, and substitute my own."

Sean said...

"And it is STILL higher than the last full fiscal year of Bush."

On January 7, 2009 (13 days before Obama took office), the CBO projected a FY09 deficit of $1.2T. The final FY09 deficit was $1.4T, so you can blame Obama for the $200B difference.

Would you have had Obama cut spending during the worst economic conditions in 70 years so as not to explode the deficit? If so, by how much, and from what? Tax collections in FY09 were down over $400B from FY08, so by holding spending at FY08 levels the deficit would have reached $875B on its own.

jerrye92002 said...

?? my response apparently deleted? I'll repeat.

Anyway, the last FULL fiscal year of Bush was FY08, and the deficit was about $430B. Obama had control for 9 months of FY09, and the result was a deficit of $1.4T, over three times as high. Even allowing for decreased tax revenues, Obama almost doubled the deficit over what it would have been. Not only that, in the following years, the deficit remained above $1T for another year, was almost $1T the year after that, and has consistently stayed above that "terrible" deficit Obama "inherited" from Bush. Whatever positive effort Obama has made to reduce the deficit, if any at all, it certainly has not worked.

Would I have had Obama cut spending? Absolutely. It is always a mystery to me why, when the rest of the country "tightens its belt," the government goes on a spending spree. Or worse yet, when tax revenues go down for any reason, we do not cut government spending to match income, as everybody else has to do.

By how much and from what? How about NOT spending $800B on a completely worthless "stimulus" package (the one to hold unemployment to 8%)? I mean, it's one thing to spend on "shovel ready" "infrastructure" when you have excess funds in the treasury, quite another when you have to print the money to do it with.