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Where's the voice of Middle America?

shywoodlandcreature's picture

You've got Anne Coulter on the right, screaming "Treason!" at everyone who dares to disagree with her.

You've got Al Franken and Michael Moore on the left - their books are selling more because of the notoriety of the Fox law suit (Franken) and the Oscars debacle (Moore) than for actually being worth reading.

But it strkes me that I don't know anybody who buys into either camp - extreme right or left. Most Americans seem to be solidly somewhere in the middle. So who's speaking for them? Where are the political analysts and writers who can actually make a calm, rational, genuinely fair and balanced argument for the middle ground? 

"We know that the tail must wag the dog,
for the horse is drawn by the cart;
But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old:
'It's clever, but is it Art?'"
— Rudyard Kipling, "The Conundrum of the
Biscuits's picture

(post #41313, reply #1 of 174)

They are around, Sandra.  But they aren't "popular" nor are they publicised too much because they are too normal.  American, I'm embarrassed to say, has this incredible fascination with all the extremes in life, hence our endless fascination with so-called "Reality TV".  99% of us realize that Reality TV is about as far from Reality as it gets, but we love it any way!  (LOL)   Look at all the stupid talk-shows we watch - we know they are crap, but we watch them anyway. 

I don't know - sometimes this country baffles me, too.  I love it, but I'm baffled by much that goes on here.



wtf    - Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

dixie1's picture

(post #41313, reply #6 of 174)

 endless fascination with so-called "Reality TV".  99% of us realize that Reality TV is about as far from Reality as it gets, but we love it any way!  (LOL)  

I have absolutely NO FASCINATION with "Reality TV" and refuse to watch even one show again after seeing a couple of episodes. Don't remember which shows.  I am sorry, but not my cup of tea AT ALL. I think it is plain 'stoopid'. This is more serious than 'stupid'.

MadMom's picture

(post #41313, reply #7 of 174)

ITA with you dixie, but evidently there are a lot of people who love it, or the networks wouldn't keep flooding our homes with that crap.  I think it is disgusting, and if that's all that's on, my TV is off.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

KarenP's picture

(post #41313, reply #8 of 174)

 Its cheap. Yes, thats in every imaginable way.


Gretchen's picture

(post #41313, reply #13 of 174)

Most of the reality TV shows had their beginnings in England, you know.


Biscuits's picture

(post #41313, reply #11 of 174)

(G)  Dixie, I wish I had your strength.  No matter how much I tell myself the same thing, I inevitably watch some piece-of-crap-reality thing, even though I tell myself over and over "NO! Thou Shalt Not!"   And I have lots of friends who feel the same way.   We hate it, but we are somehow drawn to them.   I'll be clicking the TV to find something on, and inevitably it will land on Survivor and there I'll be, watching it.  I think I need therapy. (lol)

If everyone was a sensible as Dixie is, crap-TV would go away and we could get back to some real, decent programming.

But no one is allowed to do away with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which is my new favorite show, right behind the West Wing.  I don't think QE actually qualifies as reality TV, though...



wtf    - Biscuit

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Jean's picture

(post #41313, reply #12 of 174)

What is QE? Maybe I'd rather not know. We are content watching the Discovery Channel, Food TV, the History Channel, Outdoor Life, etc. We haven't even watched the news for months. It's like heaven.

Along the way take time to smell the flowers.

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Biscuits's picture

(post #41313, reply #16 of 174)

QE is an acronym for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  It's a really, really funny show - kind of like Trading Spaces, only it's these 5 gay men, who take one "straight" guy and try to remake him into something presentable.  Usually the guy is a total mess in every way, but wants to impress his wife or girl or whatever.  They re-do his wardrobe, his grooming habits, his apartment (I would love to have Thom come to my house for just one day!), his eating/cooking habits, and his manners.  Each of the Fab 5 (as the guys are called) is an expert in his particular field.  Carson (wardrobe) used to be second in command to Ralph Lauren.  Kyan (grooming) has run some of the most fashionable salons in the world.  Thom (decorating) is a big deal in the field of interior design.  Tim (food) is/was a food writer/critic, and Jai (culture/manners) is pretty big on Broadway.

The first one I saw was this poor, cute little cowboy who was adorable, but had no sense of style at all.  He was in love with this really cute girl in New York, and wanted to spiff himself and his apartment up to impress her so that he could ask her to marry him.  They guys got him totally decked out, re-did his apartment, helped him prepare this wonderful meal complete with little chocolate boxes of mousse for dessert, candles, everything, and even helped him figure out how to pop the question (one of the things Jai suggested was to learn to say I love you in Romanian (her parents were Romanian).  Inside one of the chocolate boxes was the ring.  She said yes, everything was beautiful, and I read somewhere that this guy is so happy he asked the Fab 5 to stand up with him at the wedding!  It was lovely - they all have happy endings - I love happy endings!

It's on Bravo, Tuesday nights at 10.  It's hysterical, and sweet, and these poor slobs always end up looking and acting wonderful in the end.  Kinda like extreme makeover, only no surgery! (lol)

It's the only thing close to "reality" TV I watch these days, and I only found it because I love Inside the Actors Studio so much, which is also on Bravo.

BTW - anyone interested - Bravo is about to do a REAL reality series expoing Reality TV.  Lots of dirt on which shows are rigged and what really goes on to get the whole "reality" thing.  Could be interesting, and maybe it will break my addiction to Survivor - I can only hope.



wtf    - Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

MadMom's picture

(post #41313, reply #17 of 174)

I actually enjoy QE, but have only seen it on NBC (which owns Bravo, so they run it as a special periodically.)  The guys seem so interested in trying to help out the poor guy they're "making over."  On the first one I saw, they taught the guy how to make appetizers using foie gras that they paid an astronomical price for, and none of the guests at his special party liked it.  You could see that his wife was choking trying to keep it down.  Other than that, everything they did was a hit.  Let's face it, for the unwashed masses (like me), foie gras can be a stretch!

You'll have to let me know when the expose' of the reality shows I would enjoy that.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

dixie1's picture

(post #41313, reply #19 of 174)

Hey, it has nothing to do with being sensible or strength - I just don't like the shows, and real, decent programming is non-existent IMO. Very happy I got a new book to read tonight.

However, I am re-thinking this reality thing. I saw Oprah yesterday (sure it was a re-run). She had a family who travelled to somewhere in Kenya and lived for a some weeks on a show called "Worlds Apart" airing on National Geographic reality. This family left a 5-bedroom, 5-bath house in New Jersey and went to live in a small hut in Kenya. This type show appeals to me., but I cannot find out when it airs/aired on National Geographic channel.  Looked to me to be very interesting. Maybe it is already gone, and I just missed it.


MadMom's picture

(post #41313, reply #20 of 174)

Reminds me of the show about the two (I think) families who agreed to spend a year living as people did in the 1700's or 1800's or some such electricity, no running water, etc.  IIRC, it was on public television, but I could be all wet.  That type of "reality" show doesn't bother me, but the "reality" of bed-hopping bimbos and parents deciding who to pimp their daughter to just doesn't do anything for me.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

Biscuits's picture

(post #41313, reply #21 of 174)

Like I said - wish I had your strength! (G)  I truly hate these shows - if they weren't on, I'd be eternally thrilled.  I do watch Fear Factor, and the occasional (very occasional) Survivor.  The Restaurant!  Oh, what a waste of 6 hours of my life!!!!!!!!!!

I do catch myself watching the occasional 5 minutes here or there of something just because it's like a train wreck!  I'm horrified.  I'll be glad when the regular season starts again and West Wing is back on.  Although I will still watch my beloved CSI and Queer Eye.  Love Queer Eye!





wtf    - Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

MadMom's picture

(post #41313, reply #2 of 174)

It seems that unless you have some "shock value" these days, your chance of being noticed is nil.  I agree that very few people are on either the extreme left or the extreme right (although I'm finding a frightening number of people whom I would definitely categorize as extreme right wing.)  One of the things I so violently disagree with about our current political climate is the tendency to label people..."Liberal" is just as valid a view as "Conservative" yet our right wing has tried to make it a curse.  Why is it unpatriotic to disagree with our president?  Were the right-wingers who screamed for Clinton's head unpatriotic, or was that somehow different?  I worry that people are afraid to stand up and ask why we are in a lose-lose position in Iraq.  We've now lost more young men and women in our failed attempt to "stabilize" the country than we lost in our somewhat successful attempt to change the regime.  People are becoming afraid to speak out.  That's one of the reasons I admire Howard Dean.  I don't know if he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning the presidency, but at least he stands up and says that Bush was wrong.  I'm sick of Dems trying to be more conservative than Reps.  Whether you loved or hated Clinton, one of his strengths was that he did appeal to the middle ground.  He moved the party toward the center.  Unfortunately, these days, anything to the left of Attila the Hun is considered a "Liberal" and unpatriotic to boot.  And with the Patriot Act and our Justice Department out scouring the world for people to arrest, who wants to take a chance? 

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

Biscuits's picture

(post #41313, reply #3 of 174)

Agree.  And I always want to laugh when I hear the term "Patriot Act".  As if - go along with us and let us errode all civil liberties (or at least most of them) and you are a Patriot.   Disagree and you are anti-American.

To be truthful, though - I been hearing lots of people who were pro-Iraq-war before the war turning around now that it's been going on so long, and express concern that they were misled, and that MAYBE those against the war weren't wrong after all.

I have also heard a great deal of concern over the Patriot Act.  I think there are just enough people against it to defeat it. 

I hope.

"Patriot Act" - oh, for Heaven's sake!  Could we possibly call it something else?  How about the "McCarthy Act"?  That would be a little closer to the truth.



wtf    - Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

CaroleG4's picture

(post #41313, reply #4 of 174)

Biscuit, I do believe you have been converted....<g>

I do believe that most of the people in "middle America" have been made to feel alienated....I, for one, hate to be made to fit into any mold and that is just what our current administration is forcing down everyone's throat......Against the war: unpatriotic

Against the President: unpatriotic


Cheney......hiding, but still in the high grass

Rumsfeld.....Ol Rummy......Oh, well, just another leftover from another era....

Are any of you starting to see a pattern here?

Off to Tucson, got my groove on, in the shadow of the Rincon...
MadMom's picture

(post #41313, reply #5 of 174)

Okay, ready for some cool bumper stickers?

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

CaroleG4's picture

(post #41313, reply #9 of 174)

I wish bumper stickers were the answer......<g>....

This country is being led down the primrose path by a bunch of people who lied during the 60's, lied during the 70's, lied during the 80's and are still lying......Now, for me, I will keep on believing that there are many, many people out there who will rise up and make their voices heard......Until then, we are all doomed......

Off to Tucson, got my groove on, in the shadow of the Rincon...
3chang's picture

(post #41313, reply #10 of 174)

Speaking of bumper stickers, I saw a pretty good one the other day. It said "Somewhere in Texas there's a village missing an idiot."

gjander's picture

(post #41313, reply #14 of 174)

One of my favorites is one I saw while driving through Kennebunkport (really) a couple of years ago:  "Read my lips 'No New Texans'".

MadMom's picture

(post #41313, reply #15 of 174)

There are a lot more where I got those said "Save the Environment...plant a Bush back in Texas"

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

Wolvie's picture

(post #41313, reply #18 of 174)

LOL - I sure wish you had bought some to bring back!

Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time - Abe Lincoln.


wisekaren's picture

(post #41313, reply #157 of 174)

Love 'em! Here are some more ideas:

Bush/Cheney '04: Because the truth just isn't good enough.

Bush/Cheney '04: Compassionate Colonialism

Bush/Cheney '04: Deja-voodoo all over again!

Bush/Cheney '04: Four More Wars!

Bush/Cheney '04: Leave no billionaire behind

Bush/Cheney '04: Lies and videotape but no sex!

Bush/Cheney '04: Over a billion Whoppers served.

Bush/Cheney '04: Putting the "con" in conservatism

Bush/Cheney '04: Thanks for not paying attention.

Bush/Cheney '04: The economy's stupid!

Bush/Cheney '04: The last vote you'll ever have to cast.

Bush/Cheney '04: This time, elect us!

Bush/Cheney '04: We're Gooder!

George W. Bush: A brainwave away from the presidency

George W. Bush: Honest as his day is long

George W. Bush: It takes a village idiot

George W. Bush: The buck stops Over There

Re-Defeat Bush in '04!


MadMom's picture

(post #41313, reply #158 of 174)

Love 'em!

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

Biscuits's picture

(post #41313, reply #161 of 174)



Karen, I just love you!  (ROFL)  Those are hysterical!  I hate bumper stickers, but if I actually had the one that said, "Because the Truth Just Isn't Good Enough" or "Thanks for Not Paying Attention" I swear I'd slap them all over my car!!!!! (ROFL)



wtf    - Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

JoeB2's picture

(post #41313, reply #22 of 174)

But it strkes me that I don't know anybody who buys into either camp - extreme right or left. Most Americans seem to be solidly somewhere in the middle. So who's speaking for them?

seems to me the elections and polls are doing the speaking. Its the loosers that are compelled to shout and cry.


MadMom's picture

(post #41313, reply #23 of 174)


Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

Biscuits's picture

(post #41313, reply #24 of 174)

Ummmm - no.  I know several people (I am one of them) who "won" (if we are talking about "winning" in the sense of voting for George Bush Jr. in the last election) and are crying and screaming now because we now realize we made a collossal mistake, because he's about the worst President we've ever seen.   I'm going to scream and cry all I want to.  What a huge disappointment he's been, in ever conceivable way.  No reform of SS, no universal drug insurance for seniors, more people out of work since anyone can remember, massive cuts in public education, massive cuts in aid to individual states (which cuts are being passed on to the citizens in higher property and state taxes) - I could go on and on.  My state and local taxes next year will increase to cover the shortfall in Federal funding to the State to such a degree that I will actually end up paying MORE in taxes overall than the last two years.  So much for that pitiful "tax cut" we all got.

Let's not even talk about what all these budget cuts have done to public education - "No Child Left Behind" my @.

I'd say we are all losers. 

Okay - stepping down off my soapbox and leaving this thread.  I'm really, really angry with our Administration right now, and am chomping at the bit for the next election. 



wtf    - Biscuit

Edited 8/30/2003 12:40:24 AM ET by Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

3chang's picture

(post #41313, reply #25 of 174)

Umm, so everything's fine and hunky-dory for all the "winners" out there?

JoeB2's picture

(post #41313, reply #26 of 174)

Not everyone agrees that it's the gubment's job to feed everyone, buy drugs, provide clothes, jobs, shelter, education and everything else like some kind of Telli Tubby land fantasy. If you ever want a taste of socialized medicine, just take a trip over to the UK and be in need of medical care. I promise that you will gain new respect for the saying "You get what you pay for".

No, things are not hunky dori. We have rabid islamics that want to make the world miserable for Allah, an economy that is wracked from corruption, and a third-world workforce eager to snap up all these union jobs for a 1/10th of the cost. I sincerely don't believe there is a government solution to this though.

scapegoats are not going to help us out... which to me it sounds like you folks want to make George out to be.

I could just as easily blame the Clintons for the bumbling foreign policy that let the islamic problem grow to the extent it has.. or foster a corrupt business atmosphere that led to so much white collar pillaging. The Clintons pretty much helped themselves to everything from renting out rooms in the whitehouse to some pathetic sap's little girl that he was so proud of to go work for the president. I still want to retch when I remember Lewinski's father going on CNN to defend the Clinton before things came out.

We're paying the debts of yesterday's high living credit, with interest. There are no easy solutions at this point for Education (infested with a bloated ineffective teacher's union), Medical Insurance (out of control from corruption and stupid litigation), and manufacturing which has been driven overseas by the teamsters.

I think George is doing his job. Dealing with foreign policy to protect our interests and leaving the states to fix their own mess. And yes, I'm very happy with his foreign policy.



ashleyd's picture

(post #41313, reply #27 of 174)

Do you know Joe, until you mentioned foreign policy you were making some kind of sense. So invading other countries, wrecking them with no idea of what to do next at a cost of Lord knows how many billion dollars is good foreign policy? Threatening any nation that does not toe "the American line" with economic, military or political muscle? Bullying is a good policy? Is that what Middle America really wants? I really don't think so.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.