Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Peres, Sharon, Schwarzenegger, and Kennedy

Intriguing news this morning to hear that Shimon Peres has quit the Labor party in order to join Ariel Sharon (who just recently quit the Likud party) in forming a new Kadima party. I love to hear about a right-wing and left-wing leader breaking with their "wings" and forming a centrist party focused on pursuing the pragmatic peace that Israel and Palestine both need. I wish that American political parties could be as dynamic, but instead we seem stuck with the stale "choice" between Democrats and Republicans. This news from Israel is the equivalent of John McCain and Joseph Lieberman both breaking with their respective parties to form a new one. That would be awesome if only it could happen in America.

I'm always encouraged by signs of a radical center: the "Gang of 14", the "Blue Dogs" in Congress (a bloc of Democrats trying to be real about fiscal responsibility) or the "Main Street" (a bloc of Republicans trying to be real about stem cell research) are all good things in my book. And there are certainly some encouraging governors with crossover appeal, Governor Mark Warner of Virginia being the most recent example, but I also remember Governor William Weld of Massachusetts (and said to be making a run at New York in 2006).

And of course there is our own Governor Schwarzenegger here in California, who announced a surprising (and welcome) anti-partisan move today. He is appointing Susan Kennedy, a longtime Democrat, as his Chief of Staff. Kennedy has been executive director of the California Democratic Party and of the California Abortion Rights Action League, as well as being an out lesbian who married her same-sex partner in Hawaii in 1999. In response to a reporter's question, she said that she voted for all four of Schwarzenegger's propositions in the recent election. In seeking to downplay partisan labels, Kennedy said this: "I believe in this man [Gov. Schwarzenegger], and I believe in what he's trying to do for this state and where he's trying to take California," she said. "I think a moderate Democrat and a moderate Republican — there is not a lot of light between us."

That's the way I like to see the pot stirred. Heck with this "red" and "blue" crap. Give me an innovative shade of purple.

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