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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press What Makes Politicians Who Are Friendly to the Financial Industry "Centrists"?

What Makes Politicians Who Are Friendly to the Financial Industry "Centrists"?

Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:47

The New York Times reported on efforts by New York state legislators and a bloc of representatives who it describes as "centrists" to remove or weaken a provision of the financial reform bill that would require the large banks to spin off their derivative trading operations into separate divisions which would not be protected by federal deposit insurance.

It is not clear why these representatives should be characterized as "centrist." There is no obvious political philosophy that corresponds to the view that the government should subsidize these banks by providing free insurance for its derivative trading operations. What unites these representatives as a group is their ties to the financial industry. It would be more accurate to describe them by their support from the financial industry than an imagined political philosophy.

Comments (6)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, June 24, 2010 7:26
Measures of central tendency are taught in all Journalism 101 classes, also known as the mean, median and mode, and are commonly referred to as "centrist" to distinguish from outliers of "far left" or "far right" on either side of a normal distribution. This is important to maintain objective reporting free of bias.

However, studies by evolutionary psychologists who specialize in linguistics have noted a sharp shift in journalists who prefer to report the "mode", the most frequently occuring score, over the mean or median score as measures of centrism.

Further review of the finance industry in a case study of New York legislators explained the phenomena. The finance industry, like others, typically buys up the majority of legislators on both sides of the aisle to proceed with its agenda, which is reported as "centrist" because it's the most frequently occuring position on the issue.

This is why the Holocaust Denial movement never achieved centrist credibility but the Financial Innovation movement did.
written by ColDoc, June 24, 2010 7:52
I've often wondered the same thing, like why they call Blue Dogs moderates, when to my mind they are plainly conservatives.
written by skeptonomist, June 24, 2010 9:56
Big-money interests can expect to have the most bang for the buck in influencing Senate elections in purple states (especially those with small populations), which is normally where candidates tend to be most "centrist" and where blue dogs are elected.
that's right
written by Ethan, June 24, 2010 11:22
That's right and I have always wondered why the populous states don't try to do anything about it.
The Senate was designed to protect "state's rights" i.e. slavery. Now it is a means to protect corporate/financial interests since those with money can buy a cheap senate seat in a state with small population. Not that slavery wasn't a financial interest by the way.
Obviously it would take a constitutional amendment to change the rule of "2 Senators per state regardless of population", but the rule still offends the concept of "one person, one vote" -- and hence offends the concept of representative democracy.
written by AbqMike, June 24, 2010 11:36
ColDoc, I think the "blue dogs" can be considered "moderates" these days simply because of how far to the right self-described "conservatives" have moved.
The Labels Have Shifted
written by FoonTheElder, June 28, 2010 11:19
After years of propaganda from the Limbaugh/Fox News crowd stating that anyone to the normal side of their policies were liberal. the main stream media has gone along with their labels.

We have a center-right corporatist as President who is called Liberal by MSM or Socialist by the extreme right wingers.

Frankly, there aren't a dozen true progressives in Washington today. Even the center-left generally vote for unlimited wars and big corporate welfare.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.