Building A Moderate's Manifesto

Monday, December 13, 2010

In an online chat today at noon, we'll be asking those of you who consider yourself moderate, centrist, independent -- what would be in your Moderate's Manifesto?

Comments [19]

Gary from queens

I would suggest that moderates must decide what their role can be in an advocacy-based system. Normally, a moderate is best suited to moderate a debate between parties who have strongly opposing opinions. Moderates are ill suited to advocate provisions of any issue, because they have no governing philosophy. "Compromise" is not a philosophy. It's just a tactic. A tactic to do WHAT? To do SOMETHING. ANYTHING, good or bad. THAT is a prescription for disaster, as many compromise bills will attest, and I can provide examples. And of course the moderator posing as advocate is ripe to be dupped by the side that may have the wrong solution. Indeed, isn't that the criticism of Obama today?!

Dec. 13 2010 12:54 PM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

Here's a moderate joke. Brian read this on the air a few years ago. I am pleased to announce an update: a Latin motto: temperantia in extremis and a slogan: mdoerates of the world unite!

The Militant Moderate Manifesto
I am a Militant Moderate — be reasonable or else!
Here’s the Militant Moderate credo:
The liberals exist to keep the Neander-thals from ruling the world.
The conservatives exist to keep the pointy-heads from ruling the world.
The liberals have the arts, education, and the media. The conservatives have business and the military. Sounds fair and balanced to me.

Dec. 13 2010 12:24 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I think we need to make a distinction btwn. "moderate" meaning the political middle & "moderate" meaning civility in the political discourse (as in Jon Stewart's "Million Moderates March"). For the latter, I posted a Moderate's Manifesto--which is not what Brian was talking about, but I'm gonna post it here anyway:


1. Talking louder does not make you right.
2. Repeating your argument over & over does not make you right.
3. Talking in a contemptuous tone does not make you right
4. Being angry does not make you right.
5. Being nasty does not make you right.
6. Interrupting the person on the other side does not make you right.
7. Making fun of the person on the other side does not make you right.
8 . Keeping the person on the other side from making their point does not make you right.

Dec. 13 2010 12:20 PM
peirs from brooklyn

What was the moderates major in college?
- undecided.
What does a moderate say when asked his name.
- I'll have to get back to you after I think it over.

Dec. 13 2010 12:15 PM
mark dacey from Wayne NJ

A moderate walks into a bar and orders a shot of Jack Daniels and an O'Doul's { that's a non alcoholic beer }

Dec. 13 2010 12:09 PM
rlewis from the bowery

moderate: restore funding for abortion, but ban late-term procedures.

moderate: make civil unions the govt's domain and marriages belong to the church. govt gives civil unions to anyone and churches marry whoever they want.

moderate: make all healthcare insurance not-for-profit without any single-payer crap.

moderate: if your state's total population is less than that of the US's largest city, then your state only gets 1 senator.

moderate: tie changes in minimum wage to inflation, so that the hourly wage goes up or down with everything else.

moderate: any product-maker company is responsible for collecting and desposing of the packaging after the consumer begins use of the product.

...just a start.

Dec. 13 2010 12:05 PM
micah pessin from Bronx, NY

I have a joke about the moderates

Dec. 13 2010 12:05 PM
Jack Spann from Astoria

A liberal, an conservative, and a moderate are moose hunting. The liberal fires first, and shoots 10' to the left of the moose. then the conservative fires and shoots 10' to the right of the moose. The moderate looks through the binoculars and says "got him!"


Dec. 13 2010 12:04 PM
Duncan from NJ

How many moderates does it take to screw in a light bulb? Three. One to screw in the bulb, one to hold down conservative and one to hold down the liberal.

Dec. 13 2010 12:02 PM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

Top priority: pairwise-ranked elections. That is voters rank the candidates on the ballot to effect a head-to-head contest between each candidate.

Such a change would allow anyone who can secure the required signatures to run in the general election without affecting how the party nominees do against each other.

Dec. 13 2010 11:58 AM

Centrist Joke: How does a Centrist tell his Congressman what he thinks?

By sitting back and laughing at the Daily Show.

Dec. 13 2010 11:57 AM
RCT from NYC

Unfortunately, a moderate is what used to be called a conservative, while a conservative is someone who used to be called a John Bircher and a "progressive" is someone who used to be termed "moderate."

As a "moderate," I support the Progressive program on social issues such as reproductive and gay rights. I support a progressive tax code, even though that means that my family, would pay higher taxes. It is fair that I should pay a higher marginal rate than my cousin, a secretary who earns $65,000 per year. It would be fair for my boss, who earns over $1 million per year, to pay a higher marginal rate than I do. I also support regulating the financial industry, because those guys are my friends and colleagues, and I know that their sole aim is to make money any way that they can. I support a national health care plan, because insurance companies care about bottom lines, not people, and all other western nations have national plans that work.

Yet, coming from a long line of small businessmen, I recognize that the govrenment must take pressure off those businesses, which provide the majority of U.S. jobs. Small businesses should not bear the brunt of a national health care plan or pay higher payroll taxes. The costs of a health care plan, or preservation of social security, must be shared by the middle class, including by abolishing the Social security Cap and increasing Medicare contributions by, let's say, 2% per $100,000 earned.The mortgage deduction is already mooted by the AMT for higher earners; those earning less should be permitted to keep that reduction.

As a part-time college teacher, and the mother of a young adult with a learning disability, I believe in national education standards. We are falling far behind other nations in math and science, and our literacy rate, especially the among poor - white, black or Hispanic - are abysmal. We should not promote failure. Our standards should be high, we should be able to fire incompetent teachers and reward good ones, and we should not blame good teachers when kids fail. Communities and families need to take responsibility for raising kids who are ready for school. Yet - and here is the progressive talking- we should provide aid to such communities, including pre-natal and post-natal care, pre-schools, and fresh food for sale. It's a two-way street.

So I am a moderate. I stand with the so-called Progressives on the tax deal, which I feel is an unnecessary give-away to the Republicans and their (rich) constituency. With the people behind him, the President could have risked a few weeks of drama in January. Boehner and McConnell need to continue to build political momentum and could not have afforded such a risk. I think that Anthony Weiner is right.

I have affluent friends who are good people. But it's human nature to see and vote one's own interests. Those earning a million or more a year will never support policies that benefit the middle class at the expense of the wealthy.

Dec. 13 2010 11:56 AM

You can't be "moderate" about an issue that affects only women.

Dec. 13 2010 11:55 AM
Gianni Lovato from Chatham

The middle of a Country road: a rut on the right, a rut on the left and, in the middle, the place where horses walk and do their stuff. Very organic, messy and INDISPENSABLE.

Dec. 13 2010 11:38 AM
Gianni Lovato from Chatham

Remember the "no frills" labels of the 70's? It was a potentially good idea, born of necessity that failed miserably.
Hopefully this idea will hold longer, but I can't help fearing that both politicians and constituents lack the discipline and self-control needed for a long-term success.
I also hope to be VERY wrong.

Dec. 13 2010 11:32 AM
Charles from NYC

Give some examples of how an inflexible left has stymied or influenced our political process in the last 10 years. (excluding current legislation, as we don't yet know those outcomes.)

Dec. 13 2010 11:19 AM
Jon in Brooklyn

My favorite moderate joke was done on the simpsons:
Kang (pretending to be Bob Dole): Abortions for all.
[crowd boos]
Very well, no abortions for anyone.
[crowd boos]
Hmm... Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.
[crowd cheers and waves miniature flags]

Dec. 13 2010 11:14 AM
steve from New York, NY

I am a lefty, but would honestly be interested in what all these centrists/moderates/third way/no labels folks would support as specific polcies:

If we are to believe that this not just the plutocratic corporate agenda without the social right stuff (tax cuts for corporate and wealthy; de-regulation), then let us get specific on policy:

What is their policy to reverse the income and wealth inequality?

What is their tax reform program and is it for more progressive rates or more flat rates? One can have tax simplification and fairness, but it needs to go with more progressivity, not less (flattening).

What is their policy on need for commonweal infrastructure development?

What is their policy on minum wage? On earned income tax credit?

What is their policy on labor rights and organizing?

What specific government program would they cut, and how much $ does it really add up to?

What is their position on universal health care coverage, and what specific policies would they support?

What is their position on global warming and what specific government actions would they support?

Dec. 13 2010 11:05 AM
Paul from Washington Heights

A Democrat, a Republican, and a Moderate are invited to a rich man's club. At the bar, the Democrat orders lemons, the Republican orders sugar water, and the Moderate makes lemonade.

Dec. 13 2010 10:24 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.