An old friend while a sitting senator told me once that a moderate was like a person walking down the middle of the street and getting hit by traffic going in both directions. True words today. It is an interesting contradiction that all the pundits are obsessed with the moderate independent voters while our moderate elected officials are an endangered species. Seemingly lost in the reporting of politics in America is the polarization of America’s political parties. We have widespread reporting of Obama aide David Axelrod’s statement that Republicans in the congress are operating “under a reign of terror imposed by the party’s conservative wing. The commentary accompanying this accusation accept this as truth. Of course this is part of the never-ending demonizing of the Tea Party. Apparently, the Obama campaign have decided to campaign against the Tea Party and tie it to the republicans. Such a strategy is curious given the results from the last election where the Tea Party can take a great deal of credit for 80 new congressmen and republicans taking control of the house of representatives. Missing from the discussion is the change occurring in the democratic party where Blue Dog congressmen are being ousted by leftist democrats. The Blue Dogs once a force in the democratic caucus with 54 members suffered defeats by republicans in the 2010 elections. The republicans argued that even though the Blue Dogs were moderates In the mold of Scoop Jackson, they still were going to vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker and reinstall the leftist democratic leadership. After the bloodbath in 2010, there were 25 Blue Dogs left. Then because of redistricting, several Blue Dogs including Heath Shuler (D-NC) opted not to run for re-election. Then in recent primaries, the Blue Dogs have suffered defeats at the hands of the democratic left wing. Tim Holden (D-PA) and Jason Altmire (D-PA) lost to leftists (now called “progressives”) who ran with union support criticizing their votes against Obamacare and clean energy. Now why people in Pennsylvania would support “clean energy” which wants to destroy coal mining is beyond me. Mike Ross (D-Ark) has said that it is now tough to be a moderate in this congress. If the two parties now find it difficult to find compromise on tough issues, it will be neigh impossible in the next one congress.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com