Friday, February 5, 2010


I sent the following letter to a Globe Staff member. I suggest that everyone write similar letters when appropriate.

Thank you for doing such a good job writing for the Globe. It is nice to read local writers in a local newspaper instead of the usual wire services (and the Times staff).

I have just one complaint, and that is how you use the word "moderate" in its various forms. For example, in today's Globe you write (about Senator Joe Lieberman) that "he has proved to be a powerful moderating force in the Senate." In fact, this amounts to editorializing. Because most people like to be thought of as "moderate" -- as opposed to "radical", say, calling someone a moderate in our political climate is a gesture of approbation. Now many people don't think of Senator Lieberman as a moderate. You suggest -- no, in fact assert -- that his action of "keeping a public insurance option out of the Senate health care bill" is evidence of his moderation.

Are you certain that the "public insurance option" is immoderate then? I suggest that the opposite is true. Every poll I've ever read says that most Americans in fact favor some form of the public option. Certain a majority of Democrats -- who, as a result of actual elections control the Presidency and who have a very large majority in both houses of Congress -- support the public option. It would be part of the Senate bill if majority rule were the rule in the Senate, instead of filibuster by the minority. Opposition to the public option is probably confined to senators and members of the House who represent about 30% of the American public. (Remember that the Senate is not "one person one vote" but is dominated by low population states.) So how is Lieberman a "moderate" by joining this small minority in opposing it? Sounds more like the opposite.

Please be careful how you use this word.

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