CenterLine: News for Centrists 12.19.13

By Dane Sherrets on December 19, 2013

Greetings from Delhi: Centrist Project founder Charlie Wheelan is teaching in India this month, where he's discovered just how quickly a new political party can capture the public imagination. He blogs about the Common Man Party's rapid ascent here.

Reviving nonpartisan journalism: Pierre Omidyar just put $50 million into his startup news venture. First Look's newsgathering operation will incorporate as a 501(c)3 and enjoy editorial independence. The Omidyar Group unveils more details here

Is "Centrist" still a four-letter word? In the Daily Beast, Jamelle Buoie's latest column is "Hey Democrats! Ignore the Centrists!" in which he makes an oddly argued point that Democrats should fight back against centrists like Third Way because the public generally favors fighting income inequality and other pet progressive issues. Two not-so-minor flaws in his reasoning ... (1) Third Way hardly speaks for all centrists and (2) many centrists (including The Centrist Project) think fighting income inequality should be a national priority. Read his column here, then tell us what you think of his argument in our blog's comments section below.

Enough about you, let's talk about me: Charlie Cook hits on a potentially important idea this week in National Journal. He looks at how Congress has been harmed as the Greatest Generation (who believe in us over me) gives way to the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations (who believe in personalized lattes and giving trophies to every kid). 

Haters gonna hate: But they plan to vote Republican. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that 72% of voters who disapprove of the job Obama, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans are doing, say they'd vote for the GOP candidate for U.S. House if the election were held today. Just 14% would vote for the Democrat. The Fix elaborates on why this is great news for  Republican candidates. Unfortunately, this doesn't exactly encourage Republicans to work with Dems.

Our own Colston Young, founder of the Big Middle Alliance, also notes that (1) the Democratic lovers NEVER consider a Republican candidate — while the Republican lovers and the Republican haters at least sometimes consider voting for a Democrat and (2) the haters lean heavily Republican.  

Montana weighs top-two primary system: In Montana, unions are fighting a ballot referendum that would change the state's primary election to a top-two primary system (aka a "nonpartisan primary"). A nonpartisan primary "ends the two-party system. The other side of the coin is you end third parties in Montana," says Eric Feaver, president of MEA-MFT, the union leading the charge. The Billings Gazette has the full story.

Hello, pot, the kettle is calling: Ted Cruz riffs on the fictional 1980's rock band Spinal Tap line, saying the Obama administration's "nasty partisan politics" goes to 11. Newsmax carries Cruz's oh-so-ironic viewpoint of the story.

Just the Facts: BusinessWeek posts 40 graphs that provide a little prep course in income and tax inequality. 

Screen_Shot_2013-12-19_at_12.25.48_PM.pngBeing a Centrist: In our minds, being a Centrist means taking a hard look at what government is spending money on, finding wasteful spending, and saying, "okay, let's stop doing that." Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) just started detailing wasteful programs in a colorful weekly report dubbed "Wastebook."Screen_Shot_2013-12-19_at_12.25.48_PM.png

All-American: Independent-minded centrist Sen. Bill Bradley has a radio show? We just happened to tune in recently to "American Voices with Senator Bill Bradley," which celebrates our country's best stories .... from a Jersey Shore woman who's served her classic American hot dog to Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Jackie Mason ... to a Starbucks barrista who donated her kidney to a customer. It's far cooler than Prairie Home Companion. Excerpts are here or listen to on SiriusXM, Channel 124, Sundays at 10 eastern.

What we're watching:
Ours goes to 11
and
#YeahYeahYeah

Top Tweets 
@HuntsmanAbby: Unless conservatives are willing to speak out, intolerance and the idea that this language is OK becomes their image. #DuckDynasty

@MorningJoe: "It looks like he's out of a bad Vampire Weekend Video!" - @JoeNBC on 'Pajama Boy' on.msnbc.com/1cCES5X

This week's CenterLine contributors include Christie Findlay, Colston Young and James Davis.

Thanks for reading!

Christie Findlay

Executive Director

The Centrist Project