William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Centrism: The Truth Rundown

    David Broder stared out his office window. His calmness had an eerie quality to it, a feel that there was anger just underneath. This was a man obviously smarting from the closing of the Centrist Democratic Leadership Council, and it showed. Still staring out the window, he finally spoke.

    “The DLC was never truly Centrist,” said Broder, choosing his words carefully. “They are bitter apostates.”

    While Broder has been called “relentlessly Centrist” by The New Yorker’s political commentator Hendrik Hertzberg, nefarious stories of Broder and Centrism have long permeated the shadowy world of the Internet and alternative media.

    These stories have challenged the genteel, Bi-Partisan image Broder has become famous for these many years as a Washington Post columnist. The stories always come to the same conclusion – that Broder and his Religion of Centrism are but a false-front for the Republican Party. It is a charge Broder vehemently denies.

    “These guys are attacking — they’re not just attacking me, they’re attacking my whole Religion,” said a clearly peeved Broder. “This interview is over.”

    The Dawn of Centrism

    Broder – who created the Religion of Centrism in 1965 – has some reason to be angry. The closing of the DLC and the loss of Celebrity Centrist Jane Harman were considerable losses. But, the fact remains that Centrism is experiencing an expansion the likes of which it has not seen since the Clinton Administration.

    Under the guidance of renowned Centrist Barack Obama – the President of the United States – Centrism has gained traction lately, with everyone from John McCain to Arianna Huffington coming out as Centrists.

    “It’s just unbelievable what’s happened in the world of Centrism,” said Celebrity Centrist Harold Ford, Jr. “It’s a renaissance. It’s a revitalization. It’s everything we always dreamed of. … It’s pinch-yourself material.”

    A Crisis of Non-Faith

    The year was 2004 and Centrism was in trouble. Big trouble. The Presidency of George W. Bush had created a monolithic partisan divide that even Broder could not dispel with repeated columns praising the Centrist way of life. Things got much worse for Centrists later that year, when secret Centrist documents were leaked to the Los Angeles Times.

    “A major cause of mankind’s problems began 75 million years ago,” the Times wrote, when the planet Earth, then called Teabaggia, was part of a confederation of ninety planets under the leadership of a despotic ruler named Reagan.

    “Then, as now, the materials state, the chief problem was Partisanship.” Reagan decided “to take radical measures.” The documents explained that surplus Partisans were transported to volcanoes on Earth. “The documents state that H-bombs far more powerful than any in existence today were dropped on these volcanoes, destroying the people but freeing their spirits — called Thinkans — which attached themselves to one another in clusters.” Those spirits were “trapped in a compound of frozen alcohol and glycol,” then “implanted” with “the seed of aberrant behavior.” The Times account concluded, “When people die, these clusters attach to other humans and keep perpetuating themselves.”

    According to Broder, only Centrism could free people from Thinkans. “The path to true freedom and enlightenment resides in the soft, squishy middle,” the document stated.

    While Bush and the released document were an embarrassment to Centrism, Broder had smartly enlisted a cadre of celebrities to push his cause. Actors including Ben Affleck, Garth Brooks, Dakota Fanning, Morgan Freeman, Eva Mendes, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Piven and Reese Witherspoon unleashed an organization called “Divided We Fail,” which pled for Americans to drop their political views and come together as one.

    With that video, and the election of Obama, the tide quickly turned. Today, with Obama speaking of Centrism at every stop, Centrism has regained it’s position of prominence.

    The Apostates Strike Back

    Still, not all is well with Centrism. Many former Centrists have come forward, but most have done so anonymously, fearful of retaliation from Broder.

    “I followed Centrism for 35 years,” said writer Paul Haggis. “But one day I researched it and realized something – all being Centrist means is that Democrats stop being liberal and become more conservative.

    “Really, when do you see Republicans act “Centrist” in any way?” asked Haggis. “The answer is they don’t. Only Liberals are expected to be Centrist in deed by acting more Conservative. Conservatives can say they are Centrist, but they just keep moving further to the Right.”

    The Centrist Rules

    For his part, Broder has denied allegations of angry retaliation against former Centrists. Ford has leaped to the defense of his Leader.

    “What they want to do is extort money from the Church of Centrism,” Ford told me. “And right now you are their extortion vehicle. … you’re just their lackeys. They’re using you.”

    An e-mail received from Broder went further, as he declared former Centrists to be “bitter apostates desperately clinging to their own ideologies.”

    “They make up stories.” wrote Broder, noting, “The apostate is generally in need of self-justification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past to excuse his former affiliations and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates.”

    Broder added that many apostates had gone back to being Centrists after the nation’s media had sent them to the Rehabilitation Project Force camps.

    Defectors describe them as punitive reeducation camps. One defector says he was confined to R.P.F. for six years and says the properties were heavily guarded and that anyone who tried to flee would be tracked down and subjected to further punishment.

    Ford scoffs at the claims.

    “These are just the bitter ramblings of adulteresses and madmen,” said Ford, who will be moving soon to California in order to run for Harman’s seat in Congress. “Broder’s words – properly followed – give one a peace of mind. All the Camps are for is to gently remind apostates of the truth of Centrism.”

    The Cult of Centrism

    All the controversy aside, Centrism’s strength in the national media narrative is not to be denied. Blue Dog Democrats still litter Congress, and Obama’s pleas on behalf of Centrism continue daily. Weekend political talk shows extol the virtues of Bi-Partisanship. For Broder and his minions, Centrism is stronger than ever.

    But to many, the veil of Centrism has been lifted. More and more evidence comes out that proves Centrism is but a ploy, or even a cult. It is not a movement or an ideology, but a diversion. In the end, one central question needs to be asked of Centrism:

    Where in the Hell are the Centrist Republicans, anyway?


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles


    This is some worrying shit.

    That's all I'm permitted to say at this time.

    Obviously some people are confusing the Political Centre with the Pragmatic Center, which moves in response to the constant rhetorical spin underlying the nation's core beliefs. Neither of these should be confused with the Pedantic Centaur, whose hindquarters post here occasionally.

    If I hadn't recently read the Scientology article Donal recently linked to, I'm sure I would've missed half of your jokes. Luckily, I did, so I thoroughly enjoyed this.

    I'm sure I would've missed half of your jokes


    Like Lenny Bruce, Wolfie is sometimes "too hip for the room".  Also, like Lenny, "he could give a fuck"

    Where in the Hell are the Centrist Republicans, anyway?


    They are solitarily confined....in The (memory) Hole, where they  must endure 23 1-2 hours a day of videos (thinik Clockwork Orange) showing Nixon being pelted by refuse in Venezuela and Happy Rockefeller discussing Nelson's attributes in a very disparaging fashion...

    Oh, I almost forgot.  There is the most painful footage of all: Noam Chomsky alluding to Nixon as "the last Liberal president".  Actually, that's pretty painful to me, too...

    Republicans are much more enlightened about the false religion of centrism. They've been excommunicating centrists for over thirty years. Here's a short list:

    • Clifford Case (1978)
    • Edward Brooke (1978)
    • John Anderson (1980)
    • Jacob Javitz (1980)
    • Charles Mathias (1986)
    • Jim Jeffords (2001)
    • Lincoln Chafee (2006)
    • Chris Shays (2008)
    • Dede Scozzafava (2009)
    • Arlen Specter (2009)
    • Mike Castle (2010)
    • Charlie Crist (2010)
    • Bob Inglis (2010)
    • Olympia Snowe & Susan Collins (pending)

    I'm missing a bunch, but I think you get the idea.

    excommunicating centrists


     Yet Repugnants are  still oddly beloved on the Village Green, while Democratic party discipline is the rule that dare not speak its name ...I feel so dirty all of a sudden...

    The pundit class believes that abandoning the middle means election losses, but that's not necessarily the case.

    I don't think Jeffords should count. And technically ... didn't Democrats send Arlen packing?

    I've used "excommunication" loosely. Both Jeffords and Specter left the GOP "voluntarily." Jeffords left because he longer felt welcome. Specter left because he knew he would lose in the next primary.

    Boy if you think Obama, McCain and Huffington are centrists... you really don't understand what a centrist is, or your definition of centrist is so loose it covers 70% of the country.

    Solomon Kleinsmith

    Rise of the Center

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