Friday, October 06, 2006

X21'S

Joe Lieberman made an interesting remark during his interview with Roger L Simon this time last week. From Politics Central:
SIMON: [I]f you do win — and you’re doing well at the moment — if you do win as an Independent, you will still then become a Democrat, stay as a Democrat and caucus with the Democrats.

LIEBERMAN: Yeah. The critical thing is to caucus with the Democrats because if you don’t caucus with a party, you don’t have the opportunity to hold your seniority in the committee assignments that you’ve got and that’s important to the folks back home.

But, you know, I want to go back. Your question surprised me and it’s an interesting one. So, I’d say, I remain a Democrat but disappointed not to have been nominated by my party and believing that, as much as I am a Democrat, that being a Democrat is not my highest loyalty. My party is not my highest loyalty. My highest loyalty is to the people of the State of Connecticut who were good enough to elect me. It’s to the country.

And that’s why I continued the fight as an Independent candidate. I basically want to give everybody the opportunity to decide whether I should be their senator. I feel strongly that I can do a much better job than either the Democratic or Republican candidates, but in the end it’s not up to me. It’s up to the voters and I want all of them to have a chance to decide in November.

SIMON: Forty-three percent of Connecticut voters, according to one survey that I read, are Independents, which makes them the plurality. In a certain way, by remaining an Independent, like Weiker did —

LIEBERMAN: Right.

SIMON: — you’re essentially representing the plurality of the citizens of Connecticut.

LIEBERMAN: Well, that’s true. I mean, there are about forty-three percent of — the registered voters in Connecticut are unaffiliated. They’re Independents. Democrats are somewhere around thirty some odd and Republicans, twenty some odds. So, you can see, it’s the largest party in the state.

I’ll tell you, there’s something else here, if you’ll allow to just take off from this point. The fastest growing political party in America is no party, which is to say, that the fastest growing group of voters are unaffiliated with either party. And, to me, that’s a market statement, if you will, on the two major parties. People are getting disenchanted with the parties. I think, mostly, for two reasons. One is that each party seems certainly in the primaries to be dominated by the extremes ideologically. And then when they get to Washington, each of the parties seems to basically feel that they’re in some kind of duel in which it’s Democratic against Republican. But then they forget something that’s even more important, which is the national interest, or the interest of their constituents back home.

So, I will say, Roger, that not by choice — my choice was to win the Democratic primary but that didn’t happen. And, therefore, out of necessity, I have become an Independent in this race. I will tell you that I find it to be very empowering and even liberating. And we’ll see where we go from here.
I wondered whether Lieberman was simply spinning furiously by re-emphasising Simon's point and stating "about forty-three percent of the registered voters in Connecticut are unaffiliated." During the ensuing web ramble, I found my way to this at PajamasMedia:
When Pajamas Media was just forming, a fair number of bloggers were uncomfortable with the conventional left-right, liberal-conservative dichotomized pigeonholes of the mainstream media.

We wondered how others felt, so in the fall of 2005 we looked for research on this area. Not being able to find any, we commissioned in October 2005, a poll with Princeton Research. Question 21 of that poll (hence the “X21”) asked if the respondents felt that the labels “liberals” or “conservatives” applied to them. Not entirely to our surprise, an awful lot of people said “no.” A full 43% of those responding felt that the liberal nor conservative labels did not really apply to them, a percentage vastly greater than those who identified with either polarity.

But we also found these people aren’t actually centrists in the conventional sense of that word. They have passionate feelings from all sides of the spectrum, not just the middle ground. Someone could be a complete social liberal while being an adamant war hawk. Or the reverse. In other words - these people are “blends” with some values from the liberal side and other values from the conservative side. They are not 100% partisans that are glued to a typical ideology, and they’re not just watered-down colorless individuals with no strong views.

We’ve been calling these blended people “X21s” in honor of the poll question. But it’s not exactly catchy, so we are now running a contest. Find a new name for X21 – those political hybrids or blends – and win the first pair of official Pajamas Media logo-emblazoned PAJAMAS. Your new name will also replace X21 on our site.
Well they've finished taking submissions but you can now cast your vote here for one of the following:
  • Autonocrats

  • Centrocrats

  • Conglomerates

  • Positionistas

  • Flexocrats

  • Freerangers

  • Hybrids

  • Mosaics

  • PHI (Politically Hybrid Individuals)

  • Pragmatics

  • Purples

  • Patriocrats

  • Mugwumps
Some are pretty awful: 'Centrocrats' kind of misses the point of the exercise and sadly 'Flexocrat' is a trademarked pulsation dampener (whatever that is).

'Purples' is a nice touch though. Better than being yellow.

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