[FoRK] My real litmus test

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Thu Apr 24 07:19:41 PDT 2008

Really, when you get right down to it, my real litmus test is the  

Which candidate in each of the possible two-way major-party matchups  
will be the most moderate?  Which will exercise the most moderation  
and display the most centrality in both their choices of legislation  
to promote and to sign (or veto), and which will surround his- or  
herself with the widest variety of divergent viewpoints in order to  
ensure a closer connection to reality rather than the kind of partisan- 
extremist virtual reality that Bush has lived in for 8 years?

Admittedly, none of the candidates are really moderates.  So the  
question becomes who will be the most moderate / least extreme on the  
issues that matter?  And how do we weight those issues.

I was surprised (like many, I suspect) -- though I quickly figured out  
-- what a severe crypto-extremist Bush II was.  Extremists scare me  
more now than they ever have before, and I'm just as concerned about  
an overcorrection to the opposite extreme as I have been about Bush  
for most of his two terms.  The *last* think this country needs is to  
be whipsawed in the opposite direction;  I believe that would be just  
as bad, and in some ways worse, than a continued play-out of current  
policies (which I don't see happening with any of the three candidates  
in any case.)

There's one action Obama could take that would persuade me that he's  
the more moderate candidate in the McCain-Obama matchup.  He could  
make good on his claim of non-partisanship by appointing a centrist or  
economic-right believer, a pro-business and pro-free market  
individual, as his running mate.  A few weeks back there was this  
admittedly rather incredible rumor flying around that Obama had been  
talking to Bloomberg as a possible veep.  That sort of thing would  
convince me of the substance of Obama's claims to moderation.  But I  
seriously doubt you're going to see that happen.

Lacking that, nothing I've seen persuades me that Obama's more  
moderate than McCain.  In the Hillary-McCain matchup, the choice isn't  
nearly that clear.



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