The big news on Morning Joe today was France's socialist shift, Obama's campaign opening day after campaigning for the last year and the call for political unity so that government can get things done.
So, in order to give a balanced analysis, the guests were Sam Stein, David Gregory, Chuck Todd, Zbigniew Brzezinski, David Ignatius, Ron Wyden and maybe a few more I can't remember. Oh yeah, for true balance there was the scarf wearing, no-label guy Mark Mckinnon who's a Centrist like Scarborough, David Frum, David Brooks and Bruce Bartlett -- in other words, they are champions of the status quo, of bipartisan compromise, political unity, and they oppose extremes, i. e. principled stances.
This question of Centrism runs throughout modern politics. Obama is positioning himself as a Centrist by establishing the modern progressive positions as normal Center, with the Right established as extreme, radical and out of touch with the middle class and actively at war with the poor, women, gays and minorities. Scarborough and other Centrists have a problem with Obama only because he has been too divisive, although they understand the problems he's had dealing with a Republican Party captured by Tea Partiers. However, the Centrists believe Obama could do more to compromise with those who want more energy production, for instance. David Ignatius said this morning on Morning Joe that America is in a great position to be an economic powerhouse for decades to come, that we have enough natural gas to become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.
The Centrists criticize Romney for Romney's criticisms of Obama on relations with Russia, Iran and China. The Centrists believe that Romney should give credit where credit is due, then attack Obama on the economy. But, the Left and the Centrists are saying the economy is in much better shape than the doomsayers claim, if only we'd develope political unity and do the things necessary to combine limited austerity and economic growth. Ron Wyden said on Morning Joe that he's willing to reach across the aisle to find a solution to Medicare and SS spending. But, government would need to tax the rich at much higher rates.
The idea seems to be that Romney and the Republicans are too set against Obama and the Democrats and not open enough to compromise and political unity, and that Obama has reacted to harshly to extreme Republicans and should try harder to find bipartisan solutions. When it's all weighed out, the Centrists have a bigger problem with Romney than with Obama, because they think Romney will be business-focused, when what is called for is political solutions that only a good understanding of governance can bring about. Yes, Romney has business experience, but if he concentrates just on business and economics and gives in to the narrow-mindedness of the radical right who want to gut government except for the parts that benefit their worldview, then the opportunity for the Republican Party to attract independents and create political unity with Democrats willing to compromise is lost, and even if the Republicans win, they will destroy the Centrist influence in the party and ruin any chance of political unity for a long time to come.
The Centrists are looking for a transformed GOP, but not all that transformed, only transformed from what the Tea Party has created in the last three years. The GOP has always been controlled by Centrists who talk "small" government and govern Big Government. The Centrists see their hold slipping and they want a better grasp on the process -- Romney is not their choice, but they can live with him if he will moderate his positions, which are already pretty moderate. Romney is hardly a rightwing zealot, but because Romney is critizing Obama too sharply, the Centrists worry that this will give the impression that the Tea Party has captured the momentum and is leading the way. The battle in the GOP is between Centrists and Tea Party types, with a small faction of libertarians having some influence thanks to Ron Paul. There was no talk about a concerted effort to establish limits on government power and allow a free market to emerge as a way to combine austerity and economic growth. This idea is off the table, except among that small faction of libertarian minded supporters of Ron Paul.
When the discussion turned to Hollande in France, the panel stated that Hollande will not be able to implement his socialist policies because the global financial community will not allow it. The panel thinks Hollande will compromise with Merkel and Obama. The problem for France is the same as the problem in the US, the change of direction that happens when the majority of the country votes for redistribution and more welfare/benefit programs. They may not get all of their agenda through, but will likely get enough through to kill the economy and create decades of decline that could become collapse, like for which Greece is destined. France is wealthy, but they have problems, and a socialist direction, even if moderated, will only enhance the problems and create many more.