Published DateTo the editor:
I appreciate Mark Winters' conservative perspective on Paul Chant's thoughtful appeal for moderation and pragmatism in politics (April 4), and on my views (April 7) of Mr. Chant's fine column.
He asks, what is a moderate? Good question.
A moderate can be a Republican or a Democrat, or neither. Most aren't politicians. They just want politics to work.
Moderates often share conservative views on some subjects and liberal views on others. They're not transfixed by ideology, so they're not much interested in labeling themselves or other people, let alone in dividing their fellow citizens into heretics and the righteous. Their distinguishing features are a sense of fairness, pragmatism, respect for other points of view and an interest in identifying problems and solving them in common-sense ways that may or may not involve government, which in any case is not the enemy; government, after all, is us.
Moderates are the old-fashioned center of American politics.
Are they interested, as Mr. Winters suggested, in "creating a society in which everyone is dependent on an all-powerful government?" No, and neither is anyone else. (The Soviet Union tried it, and we all know how that worked out.)
Do moderates, like conservatives, seek a country that "rewards hard work, productivity, self-reliance and limited, restrained government?" Of course. Who doesn't?
One great problem of concern to moderates is that hard-working, productive, self-reliant middle-class Americans (not to mention the millions of working poor) are finding the rewards for their efforts increasingly meager, as wages stagnate and tax breaks of the past decade heavily favor the already affluent.
What better symbol of the American majority's plight than the prospect of a presidential candidate with Swiss and Cayman Islands bank accounts who pays half the tax rate on his $20 million annual income that ordinary Americans pay on their wages.
All quite legal. But it's not immoderate to ask, Is it fair?