Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

General Discussion

Showing Original Post only (View all)
 

Ken Burch

(50,254 posts)
Fri Nov 1, 2013, 07:07 PM Nov 2013

What does it really MEAN when people label themselves as political "moderates"? [View all]

Some argue that this mean that these people are anti-Right(to a small degree)and anti-Left(to a much harsher degree). This is the interpretation of the term "moderate" that the MSM is fixated with spreading and imposing on American politics.

I would argue, however, that many people who call themselves "moderates" are actually using the term, not to indicate rigid "centrism&quot the "socially slightly liberal/economically reactionary" model that the MSM and many of our Beltway Dems take it to mean)but simply as a euphemism for "sensible" or "practical". They are open to all sorts of ideas, even radical ones, and will give all ideas a real hearing if they can be presented to them as being the most practical solution to a given problem.

This is born out, I would argue, by the huge number of polls where a majority might call themselves "moderate" or "centrist", but then take positions on individual issues that are liberal or even, in many cases, radical.

Therefore, the key to getting the support of such voters is not "moving to 'the center'" as our "strategists" argue, but making a case for progressive, even radical and transformational change, as the most sensible and workable approach to the problems we face.

Discuss.

213 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Wow. Really? Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #1
Not an ideologist...but not closed off, either. Ken Burch Nov 2013 #4
incrementalism... would love examples of that actually working, b/c nashville_brook Nov 2013 #198
"Ideologist"? Scootaloo Nov 2013 #107
Here you go Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #110
Not sure it's valid to assume those who don't label themselves "ideologue" or "Ideologist" Ken Burch Nov 2013 #187
OK..."ideologue". Ken Burch Nov 2013 #186
In my experience, it makes them ill-informed and oblivious. Chan790 Nov 2013 #2
I identify as a moderate. I don't consider myself "low information". Throd Nov 2013 #5
There's exceptions to every rule. n/t Chan790 Nov 2013 #8
But then you don't answer the OP's question either. What do you mean when you say you Bluenorthwest Nov 2013 #9
My views are not overly far left nor far right, hence "moderate". Throd Nov 2013 #12
Why not just say 'it's a term of art meaning whatever you wish'? Bluenorthwest Nov 2013 #15
Mostly the views of the socially conservative Moral Majority types are "overly far right". Throd Nov 2013 #19
Is that the same thing as a "Reagan Democrat"? bvar22 Nov 2013 #38
I never understood the term "Reagan Democrat" either. Throd Nov 2013 #39
Perhaps defining "moderate" is going to be vague by nature ZombieHorde Nov 2013 #119
Please list a few "far left" and "far right" views you don't subscribe to. nt. Warren Stupidity Nov 2013 #183
A number of people in this thread have equated radicalism with violence and repression. Ken Burch Nov 2013 #208
My point is that we do in fact have a major political party advocating far right positions. Warren Stupidity Nov 2013 #209
You are right about our far right major party. Ken Burch Nov 2013 #210
There is an insidious split-the-difference, false equivalence epidemic BlueStreak Nov 2013 #67
Splitting the difference nearly always is nosensical with republicans because their goal posts GoneFishin Nov 2013 #155
SO TRUE!!!!!!! La Lioness Priyanka Nov 2013 #193
Sure thing Rush Egnever Nov 2013 #199
Yes - a euphemism for who use common sense. dipsydoodle Nov 2013 #3
For me, it means "cautious." raging moderate Nov 2013 #6
That just sounds fear based, craven rather than cautious. Bluenorthwest Nov 2013 #13
Attacking moderates for being moderate is what extremists do Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #16
So criticizing moderates is now akin to killing them? Luminous Animal Nov 2013 #18
Just providing an example of its logical conclusion Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #22
Um no. It is not a logical conclusion that radical ideas result in the killing Luminous Animal Nov 2013 #28
I said extreme. And they are extreme. Like the antiwar folks in 60's Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #29
Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by the word "attacking"... Luminous Animal Nov 2013 #36
Dr King was anti war too. Bluenorthwest Nov 2013 #158
"like the anti-war" folks in the 60's..??? 2banon Nov 2013 #200
way to to. obviously was referring to the EXTREME ones who used violence Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #203
yes, I read it. This is what you said.. 2banon Nov 2013 #206
I don't think it is moderate to say 'we know what is right, but let's wait' Bluenorthwest Nov 2013 #32
I actually remember reading the argument for gradualism in Life magazine zeemike Nov 2013 #59
Of course the gradualists here refuse to address what Martin said and instead they make Bluenorthwest Nov 2013 #157
Well nothing has really changed. zeemike Nov 2013 #159
MLK was classified as a Terrorist courtesy J.E.Hoover and the National Security Establishment 2banon Nov 2013 #201
Very simple seveneyes Nov 2013 #7
No. You have confused "The Moderates" with "The Hippies". bvar22 Nov 2013 #168
If they want money or your vote, it means that they consider everyone else to be an extremist AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2013 #10
It depends on who you ask. SolutionisSolidarity Nov 2013 #11
Funny thing is, Rush Limbaugh says the same thing about moderates. Throd Nov 2013 #24
Well, I try not to be a hypocrite. raging moderate Nov 2013 #14
Wrong, it means they are anti-extremist intaglio Nov 2013 #17
I agree that it means anti-extremist. Curmudgeoness Nov 2013 #54
Well said, intaglio Isoldeblue Nov 2013 #58
Good discussion. The official framing of left, right, & center are phony, & function as a tool to... Faryn Balyncd Nov 2013 #20
Huh? Unbelievable what passes for logic here Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #26
You are assuming that politics is one dimensional Fumesucker Nov 2013 #51
Correct. The assumption that political views can be accurately represented linearly, and that views Faryn Balyncd Nov 2013 #91
Well Stated! 2banon Nov 2013 #202
You have a point. Faryn Balyncd Nov 2013 #143
Excellent post. Thanks. n/t Laelth Nov 2013 #147
I don't think there's any merit in creating a new consensus anywhere between the poles. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #177
Agree. Faryn Balyncd Nov 2013 #182
I grew up very poor. Caution is how we survived. raging moderate Nov 2013 #21
At one time "conservative" didn't have such negative connotations. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #40
No really that is not right. Warren Stupidity Nov 2013 #184
Caution is fine. And I appreciate you sharing your experiences, truly. Ken Burch Nov 2013 #43
It means what Humpty Dumpty meant Fumesucker Nov 2013 #23
Or it depends on the issue, and the strength of their feelings on the matter IronLionZion Nov 2013 #25
in the sane and rational universe - a moderate or a centrist would be someone who neither embraces Douglas Carpenter Nov 2013 #27
You have described well what it should mean, at least in the context of right/left pol. ideology Dragonfli Nov 2013 #65
Personally, I'm not sure what to call myself FrodosPet Nov 2013 #30
It means that they... lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #31
You got me. I'm a stupid, spineless creature desperate for companionship. Throd Nov 2013 #33
If you say so. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #34
I think your answers (a) and (b) fail muriel_volestrangler Nov 2013 #35
The question posed was "what does IT mean", not "what do THEY mean". lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #37
"...when people label themselves as political "moderates"?" muriel_volestrangler Nov 2013 #46
What was the moderate position toward the war in Iraq? lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #86
The French government's one, perhaps? muriel_volestrangler Nov 2013 #145
This is the first time I've heard France described as moderate in the context of US politics lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #160
And yet, they were a centre-right government muriel_volestrangler Nov 2013 #161
This is illustrating my point. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #162
But you'd tell those European moderates they have no convictions muriel_volestrangler Nov 2013 #163
actually, I'm telling a group of self descibed liberals lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #165
I'd also give european moderates something of a break. They can look around... lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #178
I think moderates differ on the process, not the issue. delta17 Nov 2013 #48
You're not describing process. You're describing ideology. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #72
I didn't. raging moderate Nov 2013 #113
I respectfully disagree. delta17 Nov 2013 #44
Welcome to DU Throd Nov 2013 #45
Thanks! Nt delta17 Nov 2013 #49
See? That's what I'm saying. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #77
+1 idwiyo Nov 2013 #47
Identifying as a centrist, Isoldeblue Nov 2013 #52
Beats being an insulting, judgemental asshole. nobodyspecial Nov 2013 #70
You're entitled to your opinion. n/t lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #74
Thank you for saying this, so I didn't have to. ScreamingMeemie Nov 2013 #96
+a stone cold billion Number23 Nov 2013 #108
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #114
Or it could just mean you're an unlikeable, judgemental, selfish ass. Number23 Nov 2013 #115
Hey I'll take an a$$ who will fight corporations over a nice guy who won't any day. liberal_at_heart Nov 2013 #127
I think there are two types of "moderates" Bjorn Against Nov 2013 #41
+1 DanTex Nov 2013 #78
Nothing like projection. Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #112
I am projecting nothing, I know where I stand Bjorn Against Nov 2013 #129
CENTRISM!!!! bvar22 Nov 2013 #42
+1 idwiyo Nov 2013 #50
What does it MEAN? It means they are worried only about what is good for them WHILE Drew Richards Nov 2013 #53
Help me out here, what exactly is not moderate about today's Democratic Party? Snake Plissken Nov 2013 #55
No. Proper liberals peak is DC Dems are center-right Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #73
They lack passion. liberalmuse Nov 2013 #56
In my experience... nxylas Nov 2013 #57
those are the millions of self proclaimed libertarians who post on internet message boards Snake Plissken Nov 2013 #60
No, these are people I know nxylas Nov 2013 #144
I assume it is code for "My life is working well, don't change it." nt. Starry Messenger Nov 2013 #61
"Moderate," my ass. woo me with science Nov 2013 #62
Fuckin A TheKentuckian Nov 2013 #170
"There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" YOHABLO Nov 2013 #63
I always took it Flatpicker Nov 2013 #64
You said it so well. I always considered myself to be moderate before I started reading JDPriestly Nov 2013 #66
There seem to be at least three possibilities FarCenter Nov 2013 #68
This thread is very enlightening about libreral falsely placed arrogance Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #69
Don't pop their bubbles nobodyspecial Nov 2013 #71
No kidding. This is a continuing and hilarious theme on DU. Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #76
Ah, yes, the country has done so well RobertEarl Nov 2013 #116
Bush stole his first election and it was the GREEN PARTY Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #120
First Bush stole the election? RobertEarl Nov 2013 #128
exactly! the gradual dismantling of the New Deal/Great Society social contract and finding Douglas Carpenter Nov 2013 #109
Except almost 5 years into Obama has seen Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #118
if it wasn't for those progressive purist and other crazy liberals we could have made lot of Douglas Carpenter Nov 2013 #123
You mean the three moderate Republicans who joined Dems? Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #126
I do not refute that Obama has been good on many social issues Douglas Carpenter Nov 2013 #132
Both Bushes get a pass? Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #134
hardly - I certainly didn't support them - Although, I suppose in the paradigm of the time Douglas Carpenter Nov 2013 #137
Don't besmirch those people "doing the heavy lifting". lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #181
Your responses are spot on in this thread Number23 Nov 2013 #111
I know. In their hearts, most of them grudgingly admit it Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #122
Despising moderates is no fun RobertEarl Nov 2013 #133
I was going to let your lunacy go Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #136
Your post could be word for word written by any extremist which is a textbook definition Number23 Nov 2013 #194
What is it you don't get? RobertEarl Nov 2013 #195
And it could just as easily be said that liberals were responsible for W Number23 Nov 2013 #197
Did Reagan and Bush II get elected through moderation? lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #81
They put together a successful coalition of fundies, racists Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #84
Those right wing crazies got elected. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #88
Liberals are getting elected too. Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #89
I understand that I won't get 100% my way, but that doesn't mean I should aim for 50%. n/t lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #90
ACA doesn't represent Liberal ideology from my perspective. 2banon Nov 2013 #207
Compared to the tea party, Bush really did get (s)elected on moderation Hippo_Tron Nov 2013 #174
If it wasn't for The Liberals and Organized LABOR, bvar22 Nov 2013 #169
Moderates are Status Quo defenders leftstreet Nov 2013 #75
Well obviously for some of them it is their golden ticket to act like extremists. Rex Nov 2013 #79
If you want taxes on the rich raised to 90%, you're far to the left on this issue. Nye Bevan Nov 2013 #80
we have been going the way of the moderate for 30 years. It is not working. liberal_at_heart Nov 2013 #105
it's means they're too stupid to care (or chicken) to to be honest about their opinions gopiscrap Nov 2013 #82
Yes, I am sensible and practical, elleng Nov 2013 #83
. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #92
I supported Wes Clark, elleng Nov 2013 #95
When I am told that, I think "conservative". Just sayin'. juajen Nov 2013 #85
It means their interest is in cheering for a team. Actual policy is just a prop. Marr Nov 2013 #87
^ this lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #93
I disagree completely. ScreamingMeemie Nov 2013 #101
Wrong elleng Nov 2013 #103
When a self proclaimed Jenoch Nov 2013 #94
Yes it is, but you don't have to participate in it. You can vote for any number of candidates from liberal_at_heart Nov 2013 #124
Those people have zero impact Jenoch Nov 2013 #131
That's fine with those of us who chose that route. I have such a bitter taste in my mouth. I can liberal_at_heart Nov 2013 #135
Are the populist liberals Jenoch Nov 2013 #139
I vote for democrats when there is a populist liberal democrat to vote for. liberal_at_heart Nov 2013 #141
They think for themselves marshall Nov 2013 #97
And yet they define their views in the context of those two poles. lumberjack_jeff Nov 2013 #98
Or back and forth marshall Nov 2013 #148
It means they're Republicans embarrassed by their Party. eom TransitJohn Nov 2013 #99
People who use that term like to pretend they're sane Warpy Nov 2013 #100
I don't. ScreamingMeemie Nov 2013 #102
A moderate is simply Jamaal510 Nov 2013 #104
Yes elleng Nov 2013 #106
Except that doesn't actually mean anything. Marr Nov 2013 #171
in the current paradigm it means someone who is somewhat socially liberal - but supports only Douglas Carpenter Nov 2013 #117
+1 liberal_at_heart Nov 2013 #121
Not true at all. Moderates are not monolithic Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #125
if you watch the Sunday morning talking heads - the extreme left are those who oppose Douglas Carpenter Nov 2013 #130
Exactly-- "moderate" does describe an actual set of concrete positions in today's Marr Nov 2013 #172
What it means when people identify themselves as moderates: Spider Jerusalem Nov 2013 #138
I'm a liberal Bobbie Jo Nov 2013 #140
I used to be that kind of liberal before Race to the Top, Common Core Curriculum. Before they liberal_at_heart Nov 2013 #142
When I call myself that, I mean that rapid systemic changes cause more harm than good Recursion Nov 2013 #146
Right, elleng Nov 2013 #164
Agreed - and your last paragraph is key to changing our country... polichick Nov 2013 #149
being a moderate means realizing we need a candidate that can win scheming daemons Nov 2013 #150
Moderate these days = corporate tool when you're talking about leaders... polichick Nov 2013 #167
It doesn't have to mean, for example Ken Burch Nov 2013 #188
It means they want rich people to get richer off the backs of not rich people. It also means valerief Nov 2013 #151
I like your TV theory. It meshes well will the low information voter post toward the top GoneFishin Nov 2013 #153
Lies are low information. Truth is high information. Teevee spews lies and nurtures valerief Nov 2013 #154
Jim Hightower said it best. alarimer Nov 2013 #152
Moderates and jellyfish... 99Forever Nov 2013 #156
It means "those who desiire to make the Democratic Party more right wing in order Zorra Nov 2013 #166
If you agreed with Obama on some issues and Romney on some issues, you're a moderate Hippo_Tron Nov 2013 #173
Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice. Thomas Paine Tierra_y_Libertad Nov 2013 #175
+1 pinto Nov 2013 #180
I believe there was a time DonCoquixote Nov 2013 #176
Ken, only slightly off topic, Blue_In_AK Nov 2013 #179
well, if nobody else runs, I'm ok with him. Ken Burch Nov 2013 #185
Me, too. Blue_In_AK Nov 2013 #189
the best we can say of that campaign is that it ended Ethan's career. Ken Burch Nov 2013 #191
Totally, 100% agree. Blue_In_AK Nov 2013 #192
I think it means they don't like the fighting, acrimony, and bitterness... Hekate Nov 2013 #190
Afraid to admit to voting Republican. Orsino Nov 2013 #196
Most of the people I know who call themselves moderates say they agree with both D and R.... phleshdef Nov 2013 #204
Here is some food for thought about being politically moderate Pretzel_Warrior Nov 2013 #205
If someone applies a label to themselves it means what they say it means loyalsister Nov 2013 #211
I am a Moderate. But there is no policy that I vote with conservatives on. bluestate10 Nov 2013 #212
I don't think you can have this conversation until "Centrists" are separated from moderate. TheKentuckian Nov 2013 #213
Latest Discussions»General Discussion»What does it really MEAN ...