I say “yes,” and apparently, so does Charles Cooper. Despite Cooper’s concerns with the level of rhetoric in today’s political debates, he notes that in the health care reform debate, neither side got everything that it wanted, which would appear to indicate that there are moderating influences at work that pull legislation towards the realm of centrist compromise. To be sure, as Cooper notes, the rhetoric is pretty toxic these days, but as I have pointed out, partisan vitriol used to be quite a lot worse, and we have actually matured a great deal since the days of the Founders, when partisan vitriol may well have been at an appalling high.
I can understand and appreciate Cooper’s concerns; from time to time, the punditry class does tend to wax nervous concerning the supposed decrease of centrist tendencies and influences in American politics. But while this habit may be understandable, it still strikes me as being misguided. With all respect to Cooper, a democratic republic such as ours really doesn’t amount to much if people cannot, from time to time, be allowed to vent about the issues of the day. The venting may be annoying to put up with at times–especially if it further foists people like Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck upon us–but it is a small price to pay, and no evidence that “the center cannot hold.”