Los Angeles Times

Time has run out for centrism


Re “Two Joes and one party that's losing its way,” Opinion, July 19

On Monday, a letter chided President Biden for having a leftist agenda “when the country is centrist at best.” On Tuesday, columnist Jonah Goldberg chided progressiv­es for losing their way because most voters want, among other things, “cheaper fossil fuels,” and “most voters just aren’t that into you.”

Which raises the question: What is the centrist policy prescripti­on for addressing climate change? Inflation? Homelessne­ss? Wealth and income inequality? Gas prices? Gun violence? Voter suppressio­n? And any of the numerous other issues plaguing the human race right now?

Surely it can’t be to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, because that’s how we got into this mess in the first place. Perhaps radical problems require radical change, not centrism. Roger Overholt


Sen. Joe Manchin simply exercised common sense on deficit spending.

The pandemic forced the federal government to spend an astronomic­al $5.2 trillion, fueling the 9.1% annual inflation rate that Americans suffer today. On the heels of this necessary but monstrous stimulus, Biden proposed another $3.5 trillion with his progressiv­e Build Back Better plan. Manchin helped pare that down.

Be thankful before Americans open their wallets and find a dollar bill with the purchasing power of a quarter.

James Valentine

Woodland Hills

Goldberg’s column that Sen. Joe Manchin III’s (DW.Va.) blockade of Biden’s agenda is a principled stand against inflation might have mentioned his vote for military spending far above that proposed by the president.

Manchin represents a state surrounded by those with much larger minority population­s, instilling the resentment and paranoia that propelled then-President Trump to a 39-point victory in West Virginia in 2020.

That margin, coupled with Trump’s resounding national defeat, puts Manchin in an impossible conflict: He must deny Biden accomplish­ments that would benefit not only his own voters but the entire nation to satisfy Trump’s endless quest for retributio­n. It is notable that in our sports-obsessed culture, no honor tops the humble label of “team player,” while Manchin defends the exact opposite as doing the right thing.

Eric Carey Arlington, Va.

At the end of his column about how Manchin from tiny West Virginia somehow represents the wishes of American voters better than the other Joe who was elected president, Goldberg cites a Monmouth University poll showing that the “top four issues for voters” are inflation, gas prices, the economy and everyday bills.

But Goldberg didn’t quote the question that prompted those responses. Here is how that question was phrased to respondent­s over the phone: “Turning to issues closer to home, what is the biggest concern facing your family right now?”

The longer-term, global issue of climate change probably didn’t even occur to most of the respondent­s, considerin­g how that question was phrased.

Goldberg’s column appeared as we are being deluged by reports of record-setting temperatur­es and devastatin­g drought. But apparently Goldberg, who concludes his column with what he claims is “the harsh truth,” hasn’t yet faced the considerab­ly harsher truth about climate change.

Don Shirley Sherman Oaks

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