Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lieberman vs Extremists

Today, Democratic voters in Connecticut will decide if Joe Lieberman will become their nominee for another term as their junior senator, or if he will be forced to launch an independent campaign if he wants that job for another six years. One of the most intriguing aspects of this election has been the activity of liberal online groups, including MoveOn.org, that have activated their angry base of supporters. The primary issue: the war in Iraq.

This one Senate race may be getting lots of attention, but it's not the only example of online groups using their power and influence to affect a political or social campaign. And liberal groups aren't the only participants. Conversative bloggers and talk-show radio hosts are doing their fair share of blowing on the fire.

It all concerns me because the loudest, most vocal, most influential voices and outlets represent the Left and the Right -- not the moderately liberal or moderately conservative views, but the Extremes.

I've never been a big fan of the Extremes. I'm a registered non-partisan voter. My liberal friends think I'm conservative. My conservative friends are convinced I'm a liberal. I've voted for Republicans and Democrats (but never Bill Clinton), and I've even cast a few votes for third-party candidates (including, yes, Ross Perot in '92).

The Extremes are great at talking. They're great at shouting, actually. What they're not very good at is communicating. It's like having two friends who've gone through a huge fight, and they never fully resolved the issues. You bring them together, and they can talk AT each other, but they never seem to be able to talk TO each other.

So as the Left and Right go at it, the Moderates are stuck. Where is the dialogue? Where is the true concern for the big picture and the legit national interest? Where is the willingness to find a real Third Way (not the Clintonian version)?

I don't live in Connecticut, so I won't be voting today. But our fair state of California has an election this fall, and the Extremes are already gearing up. The presidential election is more than two years away, and the Extremes are lining up their forces. The bullhorns are ready. The picket signs are painted. The demagogues are tuning up their voices.

Such a shame.

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