Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mea Culpa: Charter vs. Democrat vs. Republican

In a recent post on the City budget, I ended with a suggestion that Charterites are really just Democrats going by another name. After some thought and discussion with others, I've concluded I made two mistakes.

The first was making the remark at all: it turned the ensuing discussion from one on the merits of the City budget (which should have been useful and much more civil than some commenters permitted it to be) into one on the nature of the Charter Committee and its members. It was tangential, and I should have just left it out.

The second, though, was my sweeping characterization of Charterites. I stand by the assertion that as a whole, the Charter Committee is on the left or center-left of the political spectrum. But some individuals (including, perhaps, a current Council member) may lean more to the right. My error did not stem from a misunderstanding of what the individuals I mentioned advocate. (It should be noted, regardless of his pre-Council tendencies, that Charterite Chris Bortz ran on a platform that included streetcars (economic development in inner-city is traditionally a Dem issue) and environmentalism.)

Instead, I erred because I tend to employ a perhaps overly-broad definition of Democratic thought and an overly-narrow definition of Republican thought. I've generally rejected the GOP because of its stance on social issues (which tends, in turn, to influence its fiscal policies). So when I see leaders who are relatively close to the center who don't take Phil Burress-like positions on social issues, I tend to identify them as Democratic. That's probably wrong. It's also not a mistake I'd have made ten years ago, but living in Cincinnati for nearly a decade has conditioned me to move my own mindset to the right, changing my expectations for what is "liberal" or "conservative," "Democratic" or "Republican." So suggesting that all Charterites are Dems-in-hiding was not just wrong, it was silly and unneccessary.

Hey...when we here in the blogosphere make a mistake, we fix it, usually with a fresh post. And until I or Brian, Julie, or Jack post something new, this correction will sit at the top of the blog for all to see--not buried at the bottom of page 6 as it would be in the more traditional media.

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