We’re the moderate ones, not these wingnuts

I am still devoted to moderation but reject a cult of the center that defines as good anything that can be called bipartisan. Some of the same centrists who just a few weeks ago called for bipartisan efforts to slash the deficit now praise Obama’s tax deal with Republicans, even though it increases the very same deficit by around $900 billion. Exactly what principle is at work here other than a belief that any deal blessed by Republicans deserves praise?…

Moderation, very much alive on the center-left and among Democrats, is so dead in the Republican Party and on the right that even a staunch conservative such as David Frum, a former George W. Bush speechwriter and No Labels co-founder, is an apostate. He was too quick to raise questions about Sarah Palin’s qualifications and dares to think that Republicans need to get serious about problems such as health care.

The No Labelers can yet be a constructive force if they remind us of how extreme the right has become and help broker an alliance between the center and the left, the only coalition that can realistically stop an ever more zealous brand of conservatism. But they will have to admit that labels aren’t the real problem. What lies behind them is.