The Cult of Balance

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Paul Krugman:

We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.

So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.

The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president.

Not many of Obama's supporters — except the ones who've already labeled him a sell-out to a progressive cause he never really claimed to be a part of — would think of him in these terms, as a conservative. But he is, in the long-forgotten literal sense of being slow to disruptive change, and preferring consensus over his own wants.

Not that anyone actually cares what words mean anymore.