I've been an independent since first grade. We had one of those elementary school fake election deals where you would register and then vote for a certain candidate who was running in the real election. I saw my choices and went with independent. When I was finally able to register for real, sure enough, independent. It was a real thrill when I moved to New York and instead of independent I joined what I called "The Decline Party" as in I decline to join a party. I've never been a fan of party politics because it ends up being a pennant waving sort of mess where you end up supporting people you don't like and don't agree with simply because they are in your party.
Take Joe Lieberman for example. There are a lot of calls by Democrats for his being punished for supporting McCain, knocking Obama, and supporting down ticket Republicans. I find this off putting. Why can't an individual politician, especially one who is in the Senate as an Independent, go with what he thinks is right? Now I can't stand Lieberman, but I find this kind of talk disturbing.
The moderate comes in because of an attempt to show that I won't be adopting the ideals of any particular party, but rather examine the issues and positions and the solutions offered by both parties and see if there isn't something that captures what is right from both. However, I do not necessarily think that compromise or meeting in the middle is correct. This is the fallacy of the mean. Just because something is a middle position between two extremes does not make that middle position correct, or even more likely to be correct. A moderate position may be a good starting point, but it is not necessarily the end point. If the two extremes are a monarchy or a democracy, I will not be swayed into a middle position where we all vote for our monarch who can then do whatever they want. Truth, unlike what Fox News"fair and balanced" believes, is biased. It leans one way or another and rarely does it rest like a pendulum in the middle. The trick is to recognize that simply because one side of a divide is correct on one issue does not make them correct on every other issue. Or worse, if they are correct on 99% of the issues this still does not make them right for the last 1%.
And this is where the Rational moniker comes in. It is the reminder against the sway of the fallacy of the mean. Google reactions to Paris Hilton's hilarious video of her running for President. Her final solution to the energy crisis to drill in the US now as a stop gap while investing in alternative fuels was seen by many as the best solution and a compromise/middle ground between Obama and McCain. But it would be wrong. Expanding our drilling would have zero effect on our current situation as we don't pull up our cars to the drill and fill it up. It takes years to refine this stuff, and even then it won't be a drop in the bucket compared to what we use. So we need to be clear headed and rational enough to recognize when one side is wrong enough that even a middle position is still a faulty one.
This may lead some to label you as "in the tank" for one side or another. How can you be sure your doing it right? I have a simple test: People I know who are far-right pennant waving Republicans call me a lefty-hippy-marxist and those on the far-left pennant waving Democrats call me a fascist-capitalist-pig. Usually this occurs when I am questioning their position which they automatically take to be my agreeing with the opposing view as opposed to critiquing their position before I adopt or reject it.
The Rational Moderate