Caught a blurb on Morning Joe this morning about a Gallup poll and how Americans perceive their political philosophies (and by the way, how is it that of all the meatheads associated with the GOP it’s starting to look like Pensacola Joe is the one who may be successfully reorienting the Republican Party?). So surprise!!! The largest block of Americans see themselves as conservative more than Moderate or Liberal. On the other hand, if Moderates and Liberals are combined, they come out as a larger block than Conservatives.
I think this is a bunch of crap for the most part and is intended to act as a means for bolstering the Republicans by, as usual, focusing on labels rather than on anything of substance. I do not believe this is a right-of-center nation as the punditocracy is fond of saying. I believe we talk a certain way but when it comes down to it, we are an eminently practical nation, interested in doing what is necessary to achieve a particular goal rather than imposing it from a predetermined template of “how it ought to be”. This is a definition of pragmatism, the one truly American philosophy.
Pragmatism is the philosophy espoused by the current administration and it is a hallmark of Liberal political behavior. It can come off as wishy washy because it doesn’t always say “this is what must be done and how we must do it”. It asks the questions “what should we try and how should we attempt to go about it?” It’s a tightrope walk between more apparently solid principles as so-called conservatives on the right or socialists on the left might prefer. Essentially if both sides are pissed, then the balance is struck. The extremes make the noise and the goal is assure that none of them are completely happy. It sounds like a mushy middle but it requires a true strength of character and willingness to adjust as necessary to maintain such a position. I believe if we look at the demeanor of my friend Barry, we will see the embodiment of a Liberal attitude.
As long as the GOP continues to worry about labels, they will fail to grow and adjust and will become the Whigs of the current era. I’m ok with that. I’d be pleased to be left with wing-nuts on the right and an ongoing conversation between Liberals and other further on the left until you get to the wing-nuts on that end as well.
And finally, if you break down the poll above and get issue-specific, I believe we would find that the VAST majority of Americans would suddenly appear rather more Liberal in the sentiments and desires for the nation and what part the government should play in it. Maybe some dear reader can find that kind of poll out there.