Moderates Who Move Us Forward

Karol Edward Soltan mulls over moderation in political life:

Almost everyone serious about moderation suggests a contrast between the bland or gray variety, on the one hand, and a more ambitious, more transformational and inspiring alternative, on the other. I have myself tried “militant moderation” and “vivid moderation” as labels; “transformational moderation” also seems very apt. Among examples are Gandhi, King (a quintessential transformational moderate, especially when he famously criticized the more conventional moderates in the Letter from Birmingham Jail), and the anti-communist opposition (such as the Solidarity trade union in Poland) that was instrumental in toppling communism in Europe.

Ever since the Clinton presidency, with its commitment to a Third Way program (shared with Tony Blair and others around the world), the Democratic Party has had something of a monopoly on moderation in the US. Two Democratic presidents, Clinton and Obama, have aspired to be transformative moderates, to provoke an American renewal. On the whole, it has been a disappointment. This is perhaps something of a paradox: the US is a country whose political DNA is deeply pervaded, from its founding, by Madisonian transformative moderation — a country in which transformative moderation has been given new form and new energy by Martin Luther King Jr. Yet, it is still apparently difficult to translate transformative moderation into an effective program of reforms.

The current radicals in the GOP could have something to do with that, no?