First paragraph: writer complains that the lonely position of being a moderate causes others to falsely label moderates otherwise, or disbelieve in their “moderation.” This isn’t unusual, seeing that moderates don’t seem to do a very good job of defining what moderates are.
Second paragraph: writer further complains that the lonely, now-lofty position of being a moderate causes antagonism in others. Note the intellectual superiority implied in the statement, “The modern American voter is not conditioned to look for common ground, but rather to identify areas of disagreement and to instantly make devastating conclusions based on those areas.” You’re just not smart enough to “get” moderates…unless you call yourself one.
Third paragraph: writer claims that everyone that isn’t a moderate lacks common sense. They’re “shrill,” “loud,” and “poisonous.”
Fourth paragraph: writer complains that moderates are “rhetorical doormats,” which necessitates the creation of the term “militant moderate.” Only militant moderates are smart enough to understand that there’s a “middle road” for public policy, because, well, everyone else isn’t bright enough to understand otherwise.
Fifth paragraph: writer lays out the “rhetorical strategy” of militant moderates, which is self-described as “contrarian.” In a nutshell, the militant moderate will always do his best to say disagreeable things to lboth iberals and conservatives (depending on where he finds himself) because this is “intellectually rewarding.” The writer acknowledges that this might not be “socially rewarding,” but that’s just the burden that the militant moderate will have to bear. We also have the claim of intellectual superiority embodied in the statement, “After all, the militant moderate can stand with confidence on a much more solid base of thought and experience than can any extremist.”
Well, we still don’t know what a moderate is, or even a “militant moderate.” Why do moderates have the endless urge to define themselves? And why, when they act on it, do they do such a piss-poor job?