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“The country is centrist”

November 1st, 2008 · 6 Comments

I feel like I’ve read that line a few times in the last week, as though it counted as some kind of empirical observation about the electorate. Isn’t it just, you know, a tautology?  France is “centrist” too, relative to the distribution of political opinion there.

Update: A commenter suggests that “the country is centrist” just means that the distribution of political opinion is a normal/bell curve rather than, say, a bimodal distribution. This had occured to me, but sounded like a weird way to put it. At a second look, though, that’s probably the reading that makes the most sense.

Tags: Journalism & the Media · Language and Literature



6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Baltimoron // Nov 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    It sounds like convenient fudging, since no one wants to bet on the presidential results yet.

    It could also be a defensive comment on how little many voters like the extremist conservative and liberal sentiments this long electoral season dredged up.

    I seriously doubt voters want a gradual mix of liberal and conservative policies in the teeth of a recession. Voters want help…fast!

  • 2 Eric the .5b // Nov 1, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Half of all kids are above average, to.

  • 3 WF // Nov 2, 2008 at 3:32 am

    “Isn’t it just, you know, a tautology? ”

    No. For example, it’s not true that the congress in centrist in that same way it’s true that the country is centrist, because the distribution of political positions in congress is actually bimodal.

  • 4 WF // Nov 2, 2008 at 3:38 am

    And it’s not necessarily true that half of all kids are above average, either. The standard example is that much more than half the kids have more than the average number of limbs per kid.

  • 5 PJ Doland // Nov 2, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Every American has, on average, one testicle and one ovary.

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