Branding the Center

Branding “the center” – contest results

Note from Matt

Thanks for your creative engagement – we had several hundred entries on the blog and in emails sent to my website. Some folks focused on a name for a radically centrist third party, others on what to dub the political position itself. On one level I was looking for what felt practically useful as a communications hook – as a way to potentially introduce myself on the show, for example. But the idea of what to call a potential new party was also appealing. I have to confess I still feel instinctively drawn to the “radical center,” though as one listener smartly points out, it’s hard to get most people to want to sign up for anything “radical.” The truth is there’s a tension between the kind of exaggerated label that feels fun and a little “sexy” for media use, and the more sober moniker that might be better suited to a party seeking to attract millions.

In the end I’m awarding six signed copies of The Tyranny of Dead Ideas.

Drum roll please....and the winners are...!

Best alternatives to “The Radical Center” (4)

The Extreme Center - Paul Arden
The Far Center – Goeduardo (blog name)

To me these are just fun ways to counter the idea that the center is dull, sensible, mushy.

The Sane Center (and)
The Rational Center – both first offered by Dan [no last name on blog]

I like these because by implication other positions are insane or irrational – puts the center on offense from the get-go...

Best party name

Jim Hess for The Mainstreet Party (the political position is thus the Mainstreet Center or the Mainstreet Middle). Jim wrote a really thoughtful post teasing out this idea that I’ve copied below that’s worth a read.

Best slogan for the radical center, whatever we call it:

Tom Halasz for “Extremism in the defense of moderation is no vice.”

That’s just fun.

Winners, please email me at Where I couldn’t figure out your name from the blog please point me to where you wrote this on our blog and somehow convince me it’s really you. Then winners please tell me the best address to mail the book to (and how you want it inscribed).

Since you’re a feisty (and fiercely intelligent) audience (did I also mention good looking?), I’ve listed below the further entries that caught my eye, so you can decide for yourself just how wrong I was and keep the conversation going.

There were also many questions about what exactly I mean by the center, with some charging that it’s a mushy, split the difference, wishy-washy approach to politics. Sorry, but nothing could be further from the way I think, or the way officials and observers across the spectrum view my work. I hope skeptics (and enthusiasts) will have a look at my two books, The Two Percent Solution: Fixing Americans Problems In Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love, and The Tyranny Of Dead Ideas, which feature the “ideologically androgynous” brand of problem-solving politics I champion. (Oh, and they’re the perfect Christmas gift for the wonk in your life...:)

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks again to all who took the time to participate. Let us know if you’d like more contests (and what kind).

Happy holidays to all – and see you on the air in 2011....

Best, Matt


My overall favorites – I may keep these handy and rotate my intro in different shows

The Extreme Center
The Far Center
Radical Pragmatists
Commonsense Center
Progressive Center
The Pragmatics
The Rational Center
The Sane Center
The Majority Center
The Disruptive Center
The Smart Civilized Center
Militant Moderates
The True Majority



Partial list of other entries that caught my eye

The Extreme Center of Radical Moderates (or radical moderates of the extreme center)
The Pragmatism and Productivity Party
The Pragmatists
The Radical Pragmatists
Central Majority
Bull Moose Party
Commonsense Party
The Disappearing Center (or Middle)
The Purple Coalition
We The Purple
The Forward
Social Capitalists
Progressive Capitalists
Sane center
No Nonsense Patriots
Red White and Blue Party
Rationalists (or Rationalists Party)
Rational Center
Ask Not Party (The Ask Nots)
The Pragmatic Core
The Pragmatics
Sensible Center (As in "Left, Right, and Sensible")
The Centered
The Solving Center
The Rational Center
The Sane Center
The Realistic Center
The Mainstream Center
The Majority Center
The Silent Center
The True Center
Militant Moderates
The New Center
The Middle Majority
The Big Middle
The Solid Center
The Real Fair and Balanced
Center Aisle-ers
The "Let's meet for a beer and hash this out" party
Jay Leno Americans (Leno-ites)
The Matt Miller Middle-Men
The Progressive Center
The Time to Grow Up Party
Beyond Extremes
Common Sense Party
Beyond Donkephants
Know Something Party
The Center Forward party
Disruptive Center
Progressive Middle
Progressive Moderates
Social Capitalists
Progressive Capitalists
Aggressive Moderates
Smart Civilized Center
The Middle Majority
The Far Center
The Massive Middle
The silent majority
The Fed Up Center
The Common Center
The Common Centrists
The Glue
Nattering Nabobs of Neutrality
Save America Movement [SAM]
The Mighty Median
The Madisonians
The Federalists. [rick mcgeer]
The Mighty Middle - Tom
The 20% -[as in, the 20% in center who decide elections]
The Central Coalition - casalaina
Militant Moderates
The Mightyy Median
Pragmatic Apoliticos
Radical Pragmatists
Common Cents
The Sentient Center
Aspirational Independents
The Spaghetti Party
The Liberators



Here’s the thoughtful post from Mainstreet Party creator Jim Hess, which really resonated with me. I’m not sure it works to say, ‘I’m MM, in the Mainstreet center,” but there’s something in Jim’s idea, and in the way he sketches it, that I find very appealing, and which captures the pragmatic, problem solving, we’re in this together spirit of America. Also a movement or party on the side of Mainstreet is obviosuly and self-consciously not on the side of Wall Street or other elite excess.
**The Mainstreet Center/Middle

A name for a centrist party? Jim Hess

Mainstreet was once the center of towns throughout the country - in the good old days before suburbs and shopping malls filled with corporate chain stores replace the family-owned stores of downtown and sucked the vitality, economic and social, out of the center.

Mainstreet is a good metaphor for a place where people of all classes and political bents would meet. Business owners were local, and knew they had to invest in their community. Employees and customers were neighbors. Banks were local also, drawing deposits from and investing back in the community, not treating as suckers ripe for a bad loan or a risky investment.

The mainstreet I remember wasn't the place you'd go for the cheapest price or the priciest luxuries - it was quality goods in the middle range of prices, things that were durable. It was the homeground of the middle class, now under increasing pressure from multiple economic and political fortunes.

Mainstreet comes from outside the spectrum of political ideologies and labels. But it is territory everybody would like to claim; it is no accident that one enters the storytale kingdoms of Disneyland through Main Street.

How you incorporate Mainstreet into a political party name is open to creative interpretation: Mainstreet America? The Party of Mainstreet? The Party ON Mainstreet? Local groups would use the name of their county or city - Mainstreet Anaheim, Mainstreet Roanoke, Mainstreet Sheboygan.

Meet us in the middle - on mainstreet.


Good stuff, Jim. Thanks.

And of course there were some lively entries from my critics – a sampling:

The Half Measure Party
The Collaborators
Sons of Judas
How about the 'W.M.D.emocrats'?
Or the 'Torture Overlookers'?
Or perhaps simply 'The Vichy Regime'.
'Useful Id-iots'
'Mercenary Middlemen'
'Wealthy Wannabe Wealthiers'
The Establishment Cowards