In defense of 'extremism'

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Conventional wisdom says it's America's political extremes that are the problem with the body politic. If only people could meet in the middle, we'd all be better off.

We're not so sure it isn't the mushy middle that's the problem.

There is a certain percentage of Americans who exist on the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. For argument's sake, let's just arbitrarily say that 15 percent of the electorate is rabidly liberal and 15 percent is extremely conservative. Yes, surveys show committed conservatives are about double loyal liberals, but that's not the point here. So, just for this particular discussion, let's assume 70 percent of Americans are in the middle.

That's considered in many circles, and certainly in the major news media, to be a high compliment, a positive character trait -- that someone could go either way on any issue at any time, makes decisions on a case-by-case basis, votes "for the person, not the party."

But is that such a good thing after all? Let's look at that.

The result of having a mushy middle is huge swings in national character. One year we're a conservative country, the next we're looking essentially at socialized medicine.

That's not being "reasonable." That's indecision to the point of schizophrenia. That's not knowing yourself.

It affects every aspect of our lives, too. How can businesses plan their financial futures in such a volatile political climate? We seem to move from revolution to revolution. The pendulum swings so quickly back and forth it's dizzying.

The bottom line is, America is simply confused about what it is and what it believes. America has always been a country of ideas; it simply doesn't know what those ideas are anymore. And the reason is that so many Americans seem to be so clueless about what they believe.

Say what you want about diehard liberals and conservatives, but at least they have moorings. They know what they believe and they act on it.

Honestly, isn't the notion of "extremism" overblown today? Haven't the media sold us a bill of goods -- the hokum that anyone who has a solid set of values and unwavering core principles is an "extremist"?

Is that really being extreme? Or is it just knowing what you believe?

Is it so much better, so high-minded, to not know?

Consider this real-life example: A 20-something who was interviewed recently admitted he wanted to vote for libertarian Ron Paul, but ultimately would have voted for Barack Obama last year -- if he'd gotten around to voting.

Come again? How do you get from a libertarian to an ultra-liberal without passing go and collecting $200? Paul sees almost no role for government; Obama has never met a government role he didn't like. And this voter was torn between them? That's like being torn between a salad and a slab of ribs.

And it's emblematic of a voter who has no clue what he believes.

So are the "retired electrical engineer who became a Democrat to support Mr. Obama" and "a teacher who voted for Mr. Obama because she was fed up with President George W. Bush," two Iowans expressing disenchantment with Obama in recent interviews with The New York Times .

Judging from the frenetic back-and-forth of recent American elections, there are millions more where they came from.

Being flexible is one thing. Being out to lunch on the biggest issues of the day -- the size and scope of government, national security, abortion and more -- is something else entirely.

Your beliefs may change over time.

But at least have some.

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Roeschen
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Roeschen 11/04/09 - 05:11 pm
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HotFoot - do you think that

HotFoot - do you think that CNN only tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I can answer that - NO. In fact, Gates castigated CNN for reporting lies about shooting on the Potomac River on 9/11/09 and causing mass pandemonium. No apology from CNN. And, I am glad you liked living in Chicago. However, it is a mob run city and has been for over 100 years. The politicians are corrupt, almost as corrupt as the former governor of Illinois, the only governor in Illinois 190 year history to be impeached. BTW, there are still questions about obama's part in that escapade. Axlerod insisted obama had talked to Blagojevich about senate replacements - then obama insisted he had not. You know how that ended - Axlerod stated he had made a mistake. Another of obama's lies.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 11/04/09 - 05:29 pm
0
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I wonder why the Asians, who

I wonder why the Asians, who were enslaved to build railroads and other infrastructure in west, have overcome their enslavement and grown and educated themselves and worked hard and prospered over the past century or so while blacks and misinformed folks like justus have continued to whine and complain and wallow in self-pity all this time?

justthefacts
21052
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justthefacts 11/04/09 - 05:34 pm
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Hotfoot stats on Fox

Hotfoot stats on Fox demographics is suspect at best. Her source is a left wingnut, not any credible survey. He doesn't site his source. I looked for a couple minutes and found nothing to substantiate it or repudiate it.

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 11/04/09 - 05:43 pm
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Hoo boy. You guys crack me

Hoo boy. You guys crack me up. First, JTF, The New Yorker is hardly a "left wingnut" publication. They've been known FOREVER for their fact-checking. Certainly far more credible than the AC. Ha. Oh, man. I mean, really... Second, baronvonreich, immigrant Chinese built Lake Olmstead. No need to go so far afield for your dubious example (I'd address the racist conclusion, but it's not worth my time). Finally, Roeschen, Blago-the-idiot may have been impeached, but the Republican ex-Gov. George Ryan is serving prison time for his corruption. I've never loved Chicago, but that's just because I'm not a big city person. The corrupt goings-on down here are plenty entertaining.

justthefacts
21052
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justthefacts 11/04/09 - 05:54 pm
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OK, site the source. Just

OK, site the source. Just saying it doesn't make it so. I deleted a post the other day because I could not site the source. An editorial is not a source.

KSL
124683
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KSL 11/04/09 - 05:57 pm
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HotFoot, you forgot the

HotFoot, you forgot the canal.

corgimom
29992
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corgimom 11/04/09 - 06:40 pm
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"Being out to lunch on the

"Being out to lunch on the biggest issues of the day -- the size and scope of government, national security, abortion and more -- is something else entirely". This is the Republican platform, and it is this way of thinking that handed control of Congress and the Presidency to the Democrats. It's about the economy- that's what people really vote for. Even the leaders of the GOP say that if they don't change their platform, they will be defeated again. It's pretty bad when your own party leaders say that their platform is wrong.

Doyougetitnow
4
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Doyougetitnow 11/04/09 - 06:58 pm
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I try not to watch too much

I try not to watch too much of Fox or CNN. But I'm only 49. Hotfoot is speaking the truth, Notreally. That was funny. "Because it won't be too many years before your generation of bitter old men die off and then maybe this country can get on with it." Hotfoot, get on with what? Paying back the trillions? You're right, the Baby Boomers won't be around for long before the Gen X's, Y's & Z's have to start coughing up the taxes. How's that burger slinging job working out?

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 11/04/09 - 07:11 pm
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Hotfoot.....can you name

Hotfoot.....can you name anything Fox has reported that wasn't true?

KSL
124683
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KSL 11/04/09 - 08:09 pm
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Niko hasn't been around

Niko hasn't been around today, that I have seen. Could it be that he didn't want exposure to "Republicants" comments on the election? Or is he embarrassed by the serial killer in so much better than the South, Ohio?

Riverman1
81245
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Riverman1 11/04/09 - 08:20 pm
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Oh, I think we have reached a

Oh, I think we have reached a middle ground in this country. The NeoMaos want to take everything from anyone who has anything. We compromise and give them half.

KSL
124683
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KSL 11/04/09 - 08:32 pm
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Only if I get to choose what

Only if I get to choose what I part with. I've got a lot of stuff I need to get rid of.

Boogaloo
1
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Boogaloo 11/04/09 - 08:50 pm
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Like weight. People do not

Like weight. People do not tune in to Fox or MSNBC to "learn" anything. They tune in to have their pre-existing political leanings reinforced. I have never heard of anyone after they have seen any of the programs on these networks say "I have seen the light". They are all agenda driven. If you want real news you have to glean it from many sources which most people do not have the time or inclination to do. And even that could be suspect also depending on your political leanings.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 11/04/09 - 09:17 pm
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Nice childish, unwarranted

Nice childish, unwarranted personal attack on KSL there Boogaloo.....I expected no less.

mable8
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mable8 11/04/09 - 09:19 pm
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ACES: I take issue with your

ACES: I take issue with your statement "The bottom line is, America is simply confused about what it is and what it believes. America has always been a country of ideas; it simply doesn't know what those ideas are anymore. And the reason is that so many Americans seem to be so clueless about what they believe." There are MANY Americans who know what they want and are far from being clueless; if they were clueless, they would not be questioning the present administration or their congressional "leaders." Get your head out of the sand bucket and LISTEN TO WHAT THE PEOPLE ARE SAYING. We are also tired of hearing the yakkers on certain networks referring to us as "racists" because we disagree with the current politicians and the self-proclaimed el-presidentio.

Boogaloo
1
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Boogaloo 11/04/09 - 09:49 pm
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Nobody cares what you think,

Nobody cares what you think, tigger. Now go fondle Roo.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 11/04/09 - 09:57 pm
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Oh the

Oh the childishness.............KSL...do YOU care what I think?

KSL
124683
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KSL 11/04/09 - 10:12 pm
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I missed something. Boog, did

I missed something. Boog, did you mean light weight, by the way?

WhippingPost
1
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WhippingPost 11/05/09 - 06:19 am
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Tolerating ambiguity never

Tolerating ambiguity never works when right or wrong is the issue. Good and bad is perspective and tolerates ambiguity. Right and wrong is learned through teaching AND experience.

WhippingPost
1
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WhippingPost 11/05/09 - 06:22 am
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Why is it that every time the

Why is it that every time the willing followers of the Marxist messiah mention FOX news, they never differentiate between opinion shows and the news shows? Why do these same people, when chanting the CNN mantra, NEVER refer to Lou Dobbs? I guess they're just tolerating ambiguity....but only from their own perspective.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 11/05/09 - 06:37 am
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roesch:"Gates castigated CNN

roesch:"Gates castigated CNN for reporting lies about shooting on the Potomac River on 9/11/09". A mistake is not the same as deliberately telling lies. I don't think I've seen Faux apoligize to Gary Condit for their 24/7 gnus coverage accusing him of murder.

WhippingPost
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WhippingPost 11/05/09 - 07:08 am
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You weren't watching,

You weren't watching, TechLover. FOX apologized for reporting the accusations made by the police. They also apologized for drawing the wrong conclusions from the endless lies Condit was telling about his relationship with the "victim". By the way, CNN tells endless lies with the reports on both Dem and Repub politicians.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 11/05/09 - 07:11 am
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Evidently about everything on

Evidently about everything on Faux Gnus is an opinion show. From Faux and Friends, America's Gnusroom, Happening Now, The Live Desk, woops there's 2 shows with Shepard Smith (a liitle gnus, a lot of water skating dog type fluff), Cavuto, Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, Greta, a liitle gnus with Bret Baier (slanted of course), all of the weekend WSJ, Forbes, etc. shows, Huckabee, Geraldo (ususally more fluff). FNS with Chris Wallace is about the only true news show on the network and is slanted to the right as well. I have no problem with them leaning to the right, it's the "Fair and Balanced" mantra while constantly editorializing during every so called "news" show that's full of it. As far as Lou Dobbs goes, I think he's a loon and should be booted.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 11/05/09 - 07:16 am
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Just because the police

Just because the police considered Condit a suspect (as well they should have), Faux had him convicted, tried, and hung with constant coverage on a 24 hour news cycle.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 11/05/09 - 07:34 am
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just: Watched Criminal Minds,

just: Watched Criminal Minds, and DVR'd Mentalist and Law and Order last pm, not CNN, sorry. OBX: "At least when Bush campaigned for someone they WON!!!". Look up Don Sherwood. Most told him to stay away in 2006 and 2008.

WhippingPost
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WhippingPost 11/05/09 - 07:40 am
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You read those schedules real

You read those schedules real good, TechLover, but you chant the CNN mantra when you misreport what's on the shows. You see, you're preaching to the choir with your false (CNN) comments. Those of us who like news shows know what the various programs on various stations have to offer. I'm not even a little surprised that the one honest reporter on CNN is the only one you consider a "nut".

TechLover
15
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TechLover 11/05/09 - 07:46 am
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jack: "Rush is rated

jack: "Rush is rated correct/accurate 99.9% of the time by an independent rating organization." You folks can't even tell when Rush is pulling a fast one on you. Rush's claim is that he right 99.9% of the time according to The Sullivan Group. Tom Sullivan is a talk show host who used to fill in for Rush. He used to own a brokerage, not anything related to "an independent rating organization". Geez, he could say the sky is green and you folks would belive it.

TechLover
15
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TechLover 11/05/09 - 07:57 am
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Patricia: I did read some of

Patricia: I did read some of them, I know a lot of the persanlities but not the names of the shows. FYI, I seldom watch CNN except HLN when I want to get a quick news fix and see if anything has happened. I actually watch Faux most among the news channels but have sense enough to know that it is filtered through Murdoch's minions, that it's his opinion channel, and that a lot of it is bs. When relaxing, I'd rather watch NCIS, CSI, or something along those lines, not the jokesters on Faux. I'm not suprised the loon is your favorite. Birds of a feather.

WhippingPost
1
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WhippingPost 11/05/09 - 08:17 am
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I agree TechLover. Lou Dobbs

I agree TechLover. Lou Dobbs and I agree on many items. His reporting of the presidential gaffs (a full time job) makes him the only one on CNN doing their job. At my house, for tv entertainment, NCIS and CSI are also staples. The morning show on FOX is very light and not too serious, it's morning. The news shows aren't filtered, so( to the left perspective) they seem filtered. I know ALL of the other news stations chant the exact same words (coincidentally). Maybe the government filter is in place there. Considering Obama's perspective (very Chavez) the state controlled media isn't much of a leap.

BCG
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BCG 11/05/09 - 11:27 am
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Justus please take a history

Justus please take a history refresher course and quote truth not what you just want to believe is truth. The USA is not and has never been a democracy we are a republic... government of the people by the people.

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