That question was asked by a guy touting his book.
My reply is so good I reproduce it here :):
Neither Obama nor McCain is a centrist. Each, in his own way, is a radical.
And none of our strong presidents were centrists. Washington, Lincoln, TR, Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Reagan were all radicals who found ways to win elections and implement their radical strategies.
So called centrist presidents were mediocre and only those who read biographies of the presidents and other books on American history know their names, much less their legacies.
What we all miss, I think, is that most people have strongly held, radical views, on some issues, and so called centrist views on other issues. And some of us are radical on both the left and right as well as centrist on other issues. That’s me.
It’s a lot easier to get behind a radical candidate if you wear blinders 24/7. Many people, indeed, it seems to me, the majority, are most comfortable wearing their blinders. They don’t like to be spooked by new ideas nor opinions that don’t fit their narrow views of the world and themselves.
Living without blinders is stimulating and sometimes bewildering. Bill Clinton is famous for looking at every side of an issue and arguing with himself and others. Bush is fixated on a theme and theory of the world and doesn’t deal with ambiguity very well. Obama is more Clinton and McCain and Hillary more Bush.
Most reporters live with their blinders, but their work sometimes forces them to at least sit still for a speech or interview that exposes them to others’ worldly views. They deal with this by trying to cover up their narrow views of the world until, like George Stephanopoulos and Tom Brokaw this morning, they simply can’t contain themselves and let it all hang out.
So how do centrists decide how they will vote? I think they all have priorities, and they vote whatever is most important to them when they enter the voting booth or mail in their ballots. They look at the candidates, the issues and the world and decide.
The candidates’ challenges are to convince voters that they are the best man for the job at hand, and they pander on the issues as they see fit.
Are Obama and McCain centrists or radicals?