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Annals of unintentionally hilarious expert quotes

Who is the first person quoted in this Ron Fournier story about how both parties are "driven by their ideologues, squeezing out moderate candidates, alienating independent voters and isolating the place in U.S. politics where most things get done: the middle"?

"We have a deadlocked democracy," said Pat Buchanan, a conservative commentator and three-time presidential candidate. "Both parties, held hostage by their extremes, are incapable of tackling the issues that threaten this country."

That would be the Pat Buchanan who wrote this in a 1971 strategy memo to Richard Nixon, uncovered by David Corn:

Our future, if it is going to be successful, may lie in the FDR pattern of engaging them openly in heated political warfare, of not cooling off our supporters but of stirring the fires and passions often. It seems to me here that we are in a contest over the soul of the country now and the decision will not be some middle compromise—it will be their kind of society or ours; we will prevail or they shall prevail.

If there's a better example of how lazy these articles about the evils of "polarization" are, I'd like to see it. And how Fournier can do a "on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand" comparison while leaving out the fact that Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Sen. John McCain (R-Utah) -- the latter of whom was his party's presidential nominee two short years ago -- both face primaries that could end their political careers ... well, that's really beyond me.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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