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In the rough

By Owen Paine on Monday January 22, 2007 08:29 PM

It's all too painfully clear: the empire is in trouble, overseas and now here at home. The death star, needless to say, is useless under the circumstances -- so what's to do?

Enter -- errr, re-enter -- the vital center! Yes, the purpling of America must now begin.

This morning on my inbound job commute, I'm listening to NPR -- yes, NPR, that secular megachurch of humane inanity -- and don't I find them kicking off a week-long string of secular sermons on... the great and good moderate majority. Yup, just as the little people begin to awaken from their 25-year snooze.

This morning's lesson: we are very normally distributed, as a people, on the political spectrum from left to right, using a seven point scale. NPR told me "50% of us are fours," and you guessed it, there's many more threes and fives than sixs and twos, not to mention the scarcity of ones and sevens. Oh yeah -- the right tail is a bit fatter then the left tail.

Is this surprising? Is it new?

Kinda. "We Americanos are ultimately a let's all meet in the middle, bipartisan, reasoning together bunch." That part we've heard before. But the quantitative angle is new. I like the idea of a nation centered on its center and calling it "a four."

In golf -- the former pastime of Babbits everywhere -- the cry "four" means "Duck! incoming balls" -- often hit by some bidness foursome impatient to play through.

Comments (35)


Delicious post, JSP.

Leave it to NPR and the PBS Snooze Hour to pacify the hamlets!

I'll take Amy Goodman over anyone in the CPB mill.


Ms Xeno,

Brilliant strategy of elect-'em-and-beg, isn't it? I can see the MoveOn fundraising letters now. (Sadly, I know someone of otherwise sound mind who digs into his pockets for those...)

This is even worse than when PBS revived that insipid "This I Believe" series. Horray for the mushy middle!

Brian Miller:

The Only Things in the Middle of the Road are Yellow Lines and Dead Armadillos"

He may be, to paraphrase Mr. Scruggs, a Squirrelist Apparatchnik, but Jim Hightower has a great way with words.

Brian Miller:

The Only Things in the Middle of the Road are Yellow Lines and Dead Armadillos"

He may be, to paraphrase Mr. Scruggs, a Squirrelist Apparatchnik, but Jim Hightower has a great way with words.

Brian Miller:

Oops. Sorry for the double post. Please delete.

I used to be one of the people you describe, Reechard, but I grew out of it. Surely there are others, somewhere... :/

pop eye:

what a site !!!!!!

did any of you formalists ever consider your all wet here ? want change? great .
only a new model democratic party --arrived at by internal struggle-- can be
a real agent of change given our binary system

third party efforts are catalytic no more
no less.

unless u are foolish enough to believe
one or other big ass party can disolve away .
last such new party emergence :
republican in the 1850's ---156 years -----



selective history, pop eye. Change your focus and you get the view that the reason no major change has occurred is because people like you keep channeling potentially vibrant third parties into the existing parties.

Chicken? Egg? which is which?

And for the record, I (and some others here) have no particular qualms about maintaining the "Democratic" party moniker. If the third-party challenge results in a new party, great. If it changes the political in significant, good ways but leaves the current Republican/Democrat split, that's fine too. this victory is not achieved by a party's victory, but rather by a substantial change in the political arena.

"Formalist ?"

Wow, that's even cooler than the time I was told by a Demo to go jump into the Constitution Party's lake...

Don't bother, Rowan. It's pointless to argue with party hack-wannabe's like pop eye. These spineless wonders can't see beyond the next bullshit primary, much less over the great odiferous pile of corporate crap heaped up by their masters and betters.

Party andriods don't stand for jack-shit and never have. They just want to jump up and down on election day and squeal "we win!" before going back to sleep for another two years. "Activism" for pop eye means mailing in a check to the DNC twice a month and posting long windy pointless screeds on DKo$. Voting means faithfully trooping out to the polls and pulling the lever for whoever has a 'D' in back of their name.

These are the same toothless pwoggie PDA creeps that tried to sabotage IRV in Minneapolis last year. We beat the pants off of them and now they're pissed off because abso-tootly-ootly no one, inside or outside of the Other War Party, takes them the slightest bit seriously. Don't waste another second on gormless time-serving robodems like pop eye. It's not even entertaining to poke fun at 'em.

pop eye:

well this is most encouraging .i'm motivated by the ambition to be.....

a jack ass pee pole

might i suggest perhaps to me its a matter
of far less personal stakes and errors
and more a matter of what the record indicates
will happen .....
you too will either be co opted or something more then merely marginalized .

its all well and good to end your "activist "days trying to "bring down" the "other war party"

good luck i'd love to see it happen....

but what if it won't ????
bryan died before the party ...his party entered the promise land

but you may end up without anything
at all but broken arrows

so just tell me if that is a fact
would it make a difference in your strategy

Now you're just killing time, Spinach-breath.

I think Rowan covered your points already.

Also, I am amused at your notion that standing by the DP as it's configured now will produce anything superior to what's depicted in your catchy scenario.

You can lead a donkey to history, Ms. X, but you can't make it think. Were it up to human piles of apathy like pop eye, women would still be waiting for the vote.


What you fail to realize, you poor spinach-slurping sap, is that we are the best friends of anyone serious about "reforming the party from within". It sucks to do the institution and its flying monkey hangers-on any good, but anything less would be the soft bigotry of low expectations.

pop eye:

"we are the best friends of anyone serious about "reforming the party from within".


but if you're the ira and these insider donks are the sein fein.....you're keeping your constructive links mighty quiet.


pop eye:

"Now you're just killing time....

I think Rowan covered your points already"

"selective history, pop eye. Change your focus and you get the view that the reason no major change has occurred is because people like you keep channeling potentially vibrant third parties into the existing parties "

"You can lead a donkey to history, Ms. X, but you can't make it think"

rowan are you saying recent history....
since the nam thing... third party movements
if not stunted and bopped
by the party of smaller nicer wars
would have yielded a new electoral coalition
of mass dimensions able to play the role
of opposition party ??

that the donkery would shrivel to a liberal twits club
and this "real thing" party tent would
become the other half of the binary waltz
that IS
us party history even for non kool aide drinkers
are you saying ,the system itself might blow apart and re co-agulate as say three or four stable party groupingswilling to change the rules of play remove the two party funnel structure...

my my i'm already flurting with formalism myself. what would walter pater say if he knew
pop eye the sailor man was an aesthete too

three four... many tents

Geez, don't remind me Scruggs! I hate thinking we're doing anything for these do-nothing donut-chewing credit-grabbing armchair-activist sneering snoring snotty pwoggie-bloggies. Though this time I doubt very much they'll even realize the moment has come and gone, much less grab it.

I honestly can't tell if The Sailor is a real guest, or only a phantom spontaneously generated by the Smith-Paine collective when it fears we regulars are getting flabby from too much consensus.


"these do-nothing donut-chewing credit-grabbing armchair-activist sneering snoring snotty pwoggie-bloggies"

delightful bravo
for me self ...
i like to nicker to the gulls as i walk
my bowlegged walk down the fish pier

pop eye:

in the words of citizen kane

"come on boys we fired em faster then this
..... in my day"


I was thinking of a different kind of help, Mr. Sailorman.

I think your right, Ms. X. And I think I've figured out who Keyer Sose is, too.


I gave it a go to see if it was a legitimate discussion. At this point, I think it might be a parody, since we have two people who regularly post their comments in blank verse.

Anyway, sailormoon, I was speaking of before Vietnam. There hasn't been a major reconfiguration of issue positioning/party creation since, so it's not terribly relevant.

A simple question: what makes you think the Democrats will change from within, without an existential threat?

js paine:

rowan they won't
unless we rip their golden guts out first and ....

royal paine:

did u folks see nan pop up and down at every egregious opportunity
on the balanced budget and support the troops i thought she was going to spring right out
of the camera frame for 10 seconds

a hang time record for sure

js paine:

what a display
of our glorious divided gubmint....

the dialectic of the girdle


There are, as I see it, two basic types of Democrats: free range, which are the Mommy Dearest elite, and factory farmed. There's some limited mobility upwards from the factory, with room for bull goose Democrats like Kos who give the rest of the factory flock a sense of being involved in self-governance. They get to vote on the quotas they'll surrender to the Mommy Dearest elite.



jacques cuse
u tumble weed

is it moe fuzz who sez

"lets get dirty "

royal paine:

dig it

" and he that did most mischief was most praised with them and greatest master"

j s paine:

yes pop eye
by dead reckoning
is one of herr scruggfeld's farm fresh units

often laid by the bull goosery
an un natural act of metaphoric proportions

quite a sight

the poor dears are just so many square eggs
to begin with
and imagine ...

coming bill lee style
out of a genuine male anus

all so loooosey goosey this

js paine:

never say i can't run up some comments

IM Poster:


ask not what
your country can do for you

but what your griot lariat
cheap ass stunt can deign but only try
to imitate the original-all JaSPer

save the ham hocks
and the grease skids
and rearguard Humphrey-Hawkins action

js paine:

"rearguard Humphrey-Hawkins action"

rearguard ???

was there ever any other kind of H-H action ???

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Monday January 22, 2007 08:29 PM.

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