On ABC’s, This Week With George Stephanopoulos for December 23, ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd uttered one of those phrases that always sounds nice, but is ultimately meaningless. Unfortunately, it is a phrase one hears all the time uttered by those low information-types in our political discussions.
During the panel discussion on the fiscal cliff, Dowd unleashed the rote claim that all good things for the nation are “right down the middle,” essentially claiming that compromise for the sake of compromise is the only real solution to anything in Washington.
The way out ultimately has to be right down the middle, right down the middle where there’s a series of compromises. Every good leadership is about both conservative ideas and progressive ideas we have to move forward we have to move forward in the future and also have to conserve the ideas and thoughts that actually are helpful to the country. Leadership is about both of those ideas.
This is a rote claim that isn’t necessarily a truism. For instance, Congress spent the first 70 years of our existence as a nation trying to go “right down the middle” on slavery. Neither one side nor the other made headway on the issue. It eventually led to civil war and the deaths of some 650,000 Americans! That “right down the middle” effort wasn’t so great for the country, was it Mr. Dowd?
The point is that being “right down the middle” is no panacea. There is a great quote about this sort of thinking. Jules Henri Poincaré once wrote, “To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.” This bogus claim that the only thing that works is “right down the middle,” dispenses with having to think about what either the left or the right ia saying and instead to just assume mere compromise is always the right answer.