The ranks of political pundits can be divided between those who swoon for expressions of centrist bipartisanship and those who respond to such kumbaya expressions with venomous contempt.

It’s not hard to understand the latter group’s reflexive distaste for perfunctory comity. When centrism takes the form of “Broderism” (named after the late middle-of-the-road Washington Post columnist David Broder), it can be insufferable — amounting to little more than an arbitrary, unprincipled Goldilocks mixture of policies derived equally from whatever the two parties are hocking at any given moment. If one of the parties drifts away from the center, the Broderist mixture will drift in the same direction along with it. If, on the other hand, both parties shift toward their respective extremes, finding a mixture at all can be become close to impossible, with the list of compromise policies amounting to the empty set.

That’s exactly where we often find ourselves today, which is just one reason why it was so easy to scoff when center-left Brookings Institution scholar Bill Galston and center-right Weekly Standard founder and editor-at-large Bill Kristol announced shortly after the 2016 election that they were founding an organization called The New Center, the goal of which was to defend the ideological center against the extremism coursing through the country’s political culture.

Nearly 10 months later, Galston and Kristol are back with a list of centrist policy ideas. And I have to admit, they are the real deal — not just a bland, incoherent synthesis of stock Democratic and Republican proposals but a smart, fresh effort to respond to the distinctive problems of the American present. It’s an encouraging effort at thinking outside the ideological boxes in which both parties, in different ways, find themselves trapped.

Too bad there’s almost no chance that these ideas will prevail.

But first, …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics

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