Streams

Looking at Bloomberg, Stewart & Centrism

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maggie Haberman, senior political writer for Politico, and Michael Barbaro of the New York Times talk about Mike Bloomberg's recent endorsements of moderate candidates and where he fits into the national political landscape as a centrist in a moment of partisanship. Plus, is the planned Stewart/Colbert rally part of the same movement?

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Michael Barbaro and Maggie Haberman
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Comments [58]

Tom from Sauk Rapids MN

Definition of a Moderate - a spineless jellyfish who can't be bothered to hold an opinion for fear of having to think about something other than when the next sporting event is on the boobtube.

At least beck and the rest of the fascist right actually BELIEVE in something enough to fight for it, which as a far lefty (and by definition far outside the moderate conservative democratic party) I have respect for.

Every mealy mouthed moderate I've talked to can't get past the "can't we all just get along" view. They have no ideas, no solutions, no grasp of problems other than everybody is being too mean and it is disurbing them.

Moderates believe in nothing, stand for nothing, fight for nothing and therefore are nothing except a waste of space and time.

Sep. 22 2010 10:11 PM
Tom from Sauk Rapids MN

Definition of a Moderate - a spineless jellyfish who can't be bothered to hold an opinion for fear of having to think about something other than when the next sporting event is on the boobtube.

At least beck and the rest of the fascist right actually BELIEVE in something enough to fight for it, which as a far lefty (and by definition far outside the moderate conservative democratic party) I have respect for.

Every mealy mouthed moderate I've talked to can't get past the "can't we all just get along" view. They have no ideas, no solutions, no grasp of problems other than everybody is being too mean and it is disurbing them.

Moderates believe in nothing, stand for nothing, fight for nothing and therefore are nothing except a waste of space and time.

Sep. 22 2010 10:10 PM
g.e.Taylor from Bklyn., NY

Didn't another TV comedian (? Soupy Sales ?)
pull a similar practical joke on the children of
the 1950's ?

http://bullfrogs-pad.forumotion.com/entertainment-fun-and-games-jokes-and-humor-f19/classic-movies-redone-t982.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EcC0QAd0Ug&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fatlasshrugs2000.typepad.com%2Fatlas_shrugs%2F2008%2F08%2Fobamas-benefact.html&feature=player_embedded

http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-08-05/news/how-andrew-cuomo-gave-birth-to-the-crisis-at-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac/

Sep. 21 2010 11:40 AM

Thanks, StoptheNonsense... I think your comment about the caller (@10:24 this AM) may have been about me? :) I do believe that Obama sees the nuances in issues that MANY Americans- right AND left- have no patience for. That's his weakness (politically) and his strength (intellectually, morally, & in all ways that matter). I for one would rather have a president who is able to hold conflicting and complicated thoughts in his head and still be able to think (and SPEAK) on his feet. If that means he doesn't get himself re-elected, then that's the proce we pay for his courage. I realize that far-left folks are disappointed in his failures (DADT, gay marriage, pulling out of Afghanistan, etc) and I feel their pain! But in this EXTREMELY polarized and unyielding political environment, I truly believe that he is doing his best. I WOULD like to see him be tougher on the far-right and their hateful rhetoric, and I think he's been doing that lately, but I'd like to see it all the time, not just during the run-up to elections.

In any event, I'll be there on October 30th, because while Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are comedians, their shows are more honest and more politically astute than anything Fox or CNN seems capable of producing these days.

To quote Colbert, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." Well, on October 30th, I'll be proud to show my bias.

Sep. 21 2010 11:08 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Here, there and everywhere

As for Bloomberg, he is an opportunist oligarch and his support for Reid says a lot about his dislike of Schumer, who is next in line to be majority leader (or minority leader) of the Democrat Senators. This is especially ironic since Schumer espouses a much stronger anti-gun position then Reid does. Both Schumer and Bloomberg would support universal registration followed by universal confiscation of all civilian firearms. This despite the 2nd Amendment and two recent US Supreme Court decisions that finally confirm firearm ownership as an individual right under the Bill of Rights.
Bloomberg does what ever he wishes including buying his way to an unlawful 3rd term. What a pig.

Sep. 21 2010 10:55 AM
Edward from NJ

The difference between the crazy-far-left and the crazy-far-right is that the crazy-far-left is persona non grada in mainstream politics.

One of Jon Stewart's examples of a crazy-left group was 9/11 "Truthers". No person holding national elected office would even tacitly accept the notion that 9/11 was a government conspiracy. Look at Van Jones. He was forced to leave his appointed position at the White House after Glenn Beck found his name on a Truther petition -- even though Jones claimed to have no recollection of signing the petition or any sympathy for those positions. Contrast that with the way many national Republicans will nod, wink and pander to "Birthers".

The crazy-far-right is part of the Republican base and can't be ignored. The crazy-far-left votes Green or doesn't bother to vote because they think the electronic voting machines are rigged.

Sep. 21 2010 10:50 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Here, there and everywhere

First of all, unless Jon already did the work needed to have a demonstration, it is impossible to get a permit for a million people for October at this point. It costs tons of money and you have to tell the NPS how many buses you have coming. For Barry’s inauguration, they had 3000 buses and an estimated 1.5 to 2 million people (who trashed the mall). For Glenn Beck’s recent 500,000 people, they registered 1000 buses. Apparently buses are a leading predictor of how many people will show up in general.

As for The Tea Parties, they are local groups that are populist ground swells filled with moderates including many Democrats and former Obama fans. They are folks who have had enough with this administration’s out of control spending and the coming tax increases, privacy invasions and destruction of private enterprise associated with ObamaCare, Cap & Tax and other Democrat socialist programs and proposals. Many moderates are also worried about Obama’s apologist position “vis a vie” Islamic terrorism and his turn against traditional allies like Britain and Israel.

Many moderates voted for Obama and his minions out of frustration with the last year or two of the Bush admin, fear about the suspicious financial & oil price crisis and the lack of information about McCain. The latter was caused by the failure of the media to tell the truth about the Presidential candidates since 80% of the mainstream media was in the bag for Barry 90% of the time; plus the fact that Barry lied and decided not to take public financing - a reform at the heart of the liberal wing of the Democrat Party for 35 years and instead spent almost $800 million versus McCain’s $84 million. Much of that money is still unaccounted for as to where it came from.

Sep. 21 2010 10:49 AM
Nathan from Somerset, NJ

I am constantly amazed that WNYC and NPR want to say that the right and left are equally crazy. Frankly, that's insane and bad reporting.

There are Republicans in the House and Senate who would rather vote against tax cuts for the middle class, won't say whether they believe in evolution, won't vote for any health care bill at all, oppose any effort to do more sex ed than abstinence, aren't sure if Obama was born in America, call a health care bill that falls short of what Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman supported "socialist", etc., etc., etc.

Meanwhile Democrats water down the bills they want to include Republican issues, reduce the size of stimulus to accommodate Republican complaints, hold off on ending Don't Ask/Don't Tell for two years for a "commission" that is going to recommend ending DADT, limit new regulations on the finance industry, etc., etc., etc.

In short, the idea that the left is as radical and partisan and intransigent as the right is ludicrous on the face of it. The Democrats in the House and Senate have compromised time and time again, but the Republicans in the Congress have not. The left is frustrated at not getting what they want, but generally speak well of what has happened. The right wing calls George Bush a liberal.

Please, stop being "fair and balanced" and start calling things like they are.

Sep. 21 2010 10:47 AM

I like Jon Stewart's show. I think he is funny and, very often, cogent. However I get annoyed when he has people like Newt G on because Newt G already gets tons of media attention (usually by making false and inflammatory statements) and he doesn't really go after his absurd views, he's much too respectful to someone who is unworthy of respect. Same goes for many of his other extreme right-winger guests (Rove's another one he was easy on).

But the rally shouldn't be a joke. What is the idea behind the rally? It's too amorphous. Teadoust from JC (see below) mentioned that's planned for 10/2 to bring attention to unemployment. I haven't heard anything about it but can you imagine if even 1/3 of people on unemployment showed up? Now that would be a rally!! I would appreciate it if Jon Stewart firmed up what the heart of this rally is going to address besides 'hey the other side is crazy...but we're funny.'

Sep. 21 2010 10:44 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Quote from below:

teadoust from Jersey City, NJ
why are we talking about a comedian and a march that's taking place on october 30th when there's a march on october 2nd regarding the continuing unemployment issue? there almost seems to be a blackout in the media when it comes to personalizing the unemployment issue. sure, the basic stats are frequently mentioned, but public demonstrations and fifth tier supporters seem to have no presence in the news.
~~~~~
Decided to copy and paste this comment as it's so difficult otherwise to reference another commenter.

And, as usual, anything to do with working class people, union workers, the left in general is barely covered by the MCM (Mainstream CORPORATE Media). Amazingly, it takes a cable celebrity to get any attention even for the...middle! so-called "moderates"!

Now, if the right, especially the monied right backs some group, entirely different MCM reaction.

There was a class war, and the rich have won, eh?

SUGGESTION: Numbering of comments would permit easier reference to another commenter's remarks. Just an idea....

Sep. 21 2010 10:44 AM
Dorian from New York

Could it be the rally led by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is, well, a joke?

@ CH from SI

Sep. 21 2010 10:43 AM
Katie Kennedy from Huntington, NY

Yes, we're going to see Jon Stewart--one of the most intelligent people on TV. He is thouroughly prepared to interview any guest--right, left or center. And he is the voice of reason. Of course we'll be there. And we're not 21...We're 65, but please don't tell anyone that! And we're LIBERAL, LIBERAL, LIBERAL.

Sep. 21 2010 10:41 AM
LF from NYC

Since when have so called moderates controlled anything? Bloomberg and Wall Street/rich et al control everything. MB being a "social liberal and fiscal conservative" makes him the same as any Corporation cum individual. He bought the mayorship the same way as big business buys the rest of government.

Sep. 21 2010 10:33 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

I've been listening to the callers who say they're moderates -- and I can't tell what they stand for, except listening and being in the middle.

Seemed kind of scary to me; if a pol said these things, I'd try to find out what that pol's actions indicated he or she really would do once in office and having some power to effect issues.

Middle of what?
Listening to what?

What will we do about looming climate change?

What will we do about soaring health insurance costs?

What will we do about maintaining Social Security? Should we maintain SocSec?

What will we do about Medicare? Should there be Medicare for All (Improved)?

BTW, I'm a liberal and I do listen to the right.

That's why I fight for liberal ideas.

Sep. 21 2010 10:32 AM
Alfredo Barros from Manhattan

Common sense is the base of a strong middle class and if we let reason and critical thinking be overpowered by extremism the US will be in danger of becoming an India or Brazil meaning polarized and divided society.

Sep. 21 2010 10:27 AM
Nancy in Manhattan

My sign for Jon Stewart's rally:

CRITICAL THINKING
Find out what it is, Try it

Sep. 21 2010 10:27 AM
Nora from Bloomfield NJ

Hey!

Your guests are consistently characterizing the political climate as polarized with extremists on the Right and on the Left. Although the climate is polarized the "left" has indeed moved towards the center in the last 10 years and cannot be correctly described as extremist.

I'm planning on going. I am a liberal.

Sep. 21 2010 10:27 AM
CH from SI

The Stewart/Colbert rally is what it is: satire. It isn't directly political. The goal is to point out that the political discourse on the right has been hijacked by very effective ENTERTAINERS: Beck, Limbaugh & O'Reilly. So who better to snatch us back from the brink of stupidity than even BETTER entertainers?

Sep. 21 2010 10:26 AM
Christopher Fahey from Brooklyn

There is no monolithic "moderate platform" like there is a "liberal platform" or a "conservative platform". Where two liberals may share 80% or more of their positions on particular topics, no two moderates will be alike at all. Some moderates are simply flexible or dispassionate liberals or conservatives, holding the same block of left or right positions but without passion for them. But I think it's important to note that, like the candidates Bloomberg endorses, many people hold a mix of left and right positions. We can't keep talking about "moderates" as a single set of values.

Sep. 21 2010 10:26 AM
Mark from Manhattan

You have to be pretty far to the left to view Jon Stewart as centrist.

Sep. 21 2010 10:26 AM
Ron from Morris County, NJ

Please stop repeating the right wing nonsense that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are far left. These assertions unmask many in the so-called center as right wing shills.

Sep. 21 2010 10:25 AM
CT from Harlem

Most of my friends on the East Coast and I are going to the Stewart and Colbert rallies. We're all in our twenties and early thirties, and since Obama has failed in many ways to be the progressive seachange we had hoped for, and since the rest of mainstream media seems to have lost its marbles completely, I think that Stewart and Colbert have become the only major public figures that we can relate to. Everything else seems to be going to pot, so I'm grateful that for the one hour of sanity and levity that they bring to me four times per week - it's a lifeline.

Sep. 21 2010 10:25 AM
els from Ridgefield, CT

I sleep so much better after a half hour w/Jon Stewart. What happened to common sense anyway?

Sep. 21 2010 10:24 AM

This caller is making a very valuable point re: Obama.

Sep. 21 2010 10:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Brian, remember when I sent you that button that said "It gets real lonely as a moderate activist, standing alone with a sign that reads, 'Reasonable informed discussion of the issues as soon as feasible'"? Maybe at Jon Stewart's rally it won't be so lonely! (& as I said when I offered to send it to you, on your show that kind of discussion is always feasible!)

Sep. 21 2010 10:24 AM
jt22

This discussion is absurd. What far-left ideas are current among the Democratic party? What "left" positions have Reid and Pelosi taken?

It's fair to say you're sick of both parties. But the idea that there's an equivalent in the dominance of ideas -- where the right-wing drives the discourse entirely in the U.S. -- is ridiculous.

There is no "far left" in American politics. There is no "left". There isn't even a decent liberalism. In any other country, Obama would be a center-right candidate, and probably unelectable thanks to his pro-business outlook.

Sep. 21 2010 10:23 AM
John from Jersey Shore

Stop the Nonsense above is dead wrong, and so are all the TEA Baggers. I challenge all of the TEA baggers to get home from one of their rallies without driving on a road or taking public transport. Good luck. They will then realize that there is a role for government in our lives and the issue is effective government, not less government.

Sep. 21 2010 10:22 AM
RLewis from bowery

So where does a Moderate stand on:

Ahgan war: bring the troops home, but leave our bombs there

a woman's right to chose? some of the time, but not always.

cap & trade? you can cap, but you can't trade.

gay marriage? it's ok for women, but not for men

prayer in school? only on Tue.s and Thur.s

Just what is a moderate when it comes to the actual issues?????

Sep. 21 2010 10:22 AM
Penny in Manhattan from Manhattan

Fareed Zakaria among others has suggested that the polarization of our politics lies in the gerrymandering of districts. When a district is clearly Democrat or Republican, the primary really picks the winner and the primary fight brings out appeals to the far left and right.

Sep. 21 2010 10:21 AM
Art from Brooklyn

Please answer this false idea of equivalency between the hard right and the hard left. The hard right are highly visible and have a huge voice in the public arena while the hard left is almost completely marginalized. This confusion forces the conversation well right of center as the range of opinion heard in the majority of the media is from the far right to the very moderate left.

Sep. 21 2010 10:20 AM

considering the teabaggers have taken over the GOP and NY and the rest of the northeast has become one party states., there is room in the american system for a new center right party.

Sep. 21 2010 10:20 AM
Robert from NYC

Oh really? The mayor, the BILLIONAIRE mayor is fiscally conservative! What are the odds? LOLOLOLOLOL.
god no, no more Bloomberg.

Sep. 21 2010 10:20 AM
CBrown

I've always thought of myself as a moderate (Democrat), but these days I feel like a radical leftist because that's how the Fox News-types will depict anyone who's even slightly centrist. To be fair, I bet there's lots of centrist-right who feel they're depicted the same way by Keith Olbermann.

And yes, I'm going to the Stewart/Colbert rally.

Sep. 21 2010 10:20 AM
Jon from Brooklyn

Can we please stop talking about the "extremists on the left and the right"? The Tea Party (and Republican Party in general) is *far* more extreme than the furthest left Democrats. Enough with the false equivalence.

Sep. 21 2010 10:19 AM
Leo In NYC

Brian, I don't think that Stewart's rally is specifically about centrist *issues* — it's about centrist discourse. I am a left of left liberal but I am planning to go. Not because I particularly like centrist policy positions. But because I think what Stewart and Colbert are advocating is a far more thoughtful, moderate and civil brand of discussion about policy. That's the big message here.

Sep. 21 2010 10:19 AM
CH from S I

Bloomberg is an opportunist. Call me cynical if you want, but all I see in Bloomberg—and in fact in his mayoral "accomplishments"—are only about appearances and what looks good on paper, not what actually works for everyone. (retooling school numbers, fancy subway and city projects that either don't work, can't get finished, or are only aimed at enticing businesses and high-dollar tourists) So he is trying to set himself up for a presidential bid (or maybe mayor-for-life).

It's time to get shut of Mike.

Sep. 21 2010 10:19 AM
LL from UWS

Reminder about Bloomberg: proto-fascist techniques during Republican Convention. Police swept up and detained even innocent bystanders/passersby and held them in an unsafe building. I was absolutely shocked because even where there were protests they were peaceful rather than disruptive.

Sep. 21 2010 10:17 AM
susy from manhattan

There's nothing wrong with compromising. And there is nothing wrong with moderation.

People that think there is something wrong with moderation and moderate views are stuck on semantics. There is grace in flexibility, and flexibility is how things actually get accomplished, and innovated. Very patriotic, American goals if you ask me.

I am going to the rally.

Sep. 21 2010 10:17 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

I'll be in Europe on 10/30 and if I had a refundable plane ticket I'd certainly, definitely, absolutely be in Washington with the Stewart gang. I'm disgusted with both parties but more disgusted with the Reps.

My cousin, her husband, 3 adult kids and their SOs already have hotel reservations.

I see it as sensible people demonstrating against the crazies on the right wing.

Sep. 21 2010 10:16 AM
Chriss from Montclair

Stewart (Letterman imitator) and Colbert (O'Reily imatitor) are now imitating Beck.

Their rating are a fraction of both, and their "March" will reflect this- it'll be a MANY Moderate March, not a Million.

I find both unoriginal and unfunny.

Sep. 21 2010 10:15 AM
John from Manhattan

Since when is Jon Stewart a moderate or anywhere near the center?

Sep. 21 2010 10:14 AM

I don't think you can talk about Stewart's rally alone -- you have to set it along side Colbert's rally for Fear as well. Stewart and Colbert together are commenting on the current polarized political discourse.

Sep. 21 2010 10:14 AM
teadoust from Jersey City, NJ

why are we talking about a comedian and a march that's taking place on october 30th when there's a march on october 2nd regarding the continuing unemployment issue? there almost seems to be a blackout in the media when it comes to personalizing the unemployment issue. sure, the basic stats are frequently mentioned, but public demonstrations and fifth tier supporters seem to have no presence in the news.

Sep. 21 2010 10:14 AM
Ken from Little Neck

I don't think Jon Stewart, at least, is talking as much about moderate policies or ideology, so much as the tone of the national debate. His point, which I completely agree with, is that there are reasonable people with honest disagreements about what's best for the country, and it should be possible to have a civilized discussion without either side being compared to Hitler.

Sep. 21 2010 10:14 AM
Robert from NYC

There you go, Harry Reid, Harry Reid, lol. I said mediocre and there you go. And according to reporting on Democracy Now this morning, mediocre, sexist, Harry Reid!

Sep. 21 2010 10:13 AM
LL from UWS

American politics = moderate, centrist .......not nearly as wide a spectrum as in many other countries.

Sep. 21 2010 10:13 AM
M. L. from Croton-on-Hudson, NY

I consider myself a progressive, but I'd really like to attend this march, if only because I want to express my support for intelligent dialogue. (This march reminds me of the "coffee" party position.) If you don't know already, Colbert will be having a counter rally--March to Keep Fear Alive.

Sep. 21 2010 10:12 AM
Dorian from New York

I was at, of all things, a Holly Near concert a couple decades ago. The musician and political activist pointed out that though someone may disagree with you on, say, gay rights or nuclear energy, maybe they agree on saving the whales or another cause you believe in.

Perhaps that is the definition of a moderate: a willingness to find common ground where it can be found and move forward from there.

Sep. 21 2010 10:12 AM
Mark from Manhattan

Jon better be clear about where his event will be held otherwise half of his worldly viewers will end up in Washington State and the other half will spend the day wandering around DC looking for the shopping "mall."

Sep. 21 2010 10:12 AM
Ally from Manhattan

I didn't get the sense that the Stewart rally was necessarily about moderates. I got the sense that it was a backlash against conservative craziness. Granted, I don't think it's the right place for the far far left, but I definitely think that it's right for "partisan" liberals."

Sep. 21 2010 10:11 AM
moo from manhattan

whatever jon stewart says, sane left is the new moderate. it's all relative. I'm goin' to the rally.

Sep. 21 2010 10:11 AM
antonio from park slope

Being a moderate, or putting forth triangulation as a movement is just a veneer by the right for to make privatization and this corporate society more palatable. Think about it, everything the so called left has put forth is online with a humanistic protocol. Fair wages, a public option, equal rights for all; Is that terrible? What have moderates put forth that have changed our society for the better...

Sep. 21 2010 10:11 AM

This is how change comes to America. There's an upset and a reaction. We need those Tea PArty voices to remind us of why we cannot go back to the way things are.

Sep. 21 2010 10:10 AM
reggie from BROOKLYN!

Well, according to the "Rove" doctrine, in which the right thrives on a polarized 51% vs. 49% to sustain power, moderates are actually progressives, no?

Sep. 21 2010 10:09 AM
Mary from west side

I hope you're going to play Bloomberg backing Meg Whitman.

Sep. 21 2010 10:09 AM
reggie from BROOKLYN!

Well, according to the "Rove" doctrine, in which the right thrives on a polarized 51% vs. 49% to sustain power, moderates are actually progressives, no?

Sep. 21 2010 10:09 AM
Eric K

What does moderate and centrist mean? The way the bullies on the loud right call it, anything other than their own view is extremist left. While that mentality is not as loud on the left, it does exist there. Maybe there was a time when moderate/centrist meant compromising somewhat right one way and somewhat left on another, now it seems to just mean being even tempered and civil. Philosophy and ideas seem secondary.

Sep. 21 2010 10:06 AM
Robert from NYC

No, no, no, no moderates, not centrists, not the middle, what you mean is the mediocre, same Latin root but different use in English.

Sep. 21 2010 10:03 AM

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