The Race to the Middle

I think Roxanne may be on to something. What bring is to mind is the latest poll showing Bush losing support among his base.

Bush’s supporters are uneasy about issues such as federal deficits, immigration and his latest nomination for the Supreme Court. Social conservatives are concerned about his choice of Miers, a relatively unknown lawyer who has most recently served as White House counsel.

“Bush is trying to get more support generally from the American public by seeming more moderate and showing he’s a strong leader at the same time he has a rebellion within his own party,” Thurber said. “The far right is starting to be very open about their claim that he’s not a real conservative.”

I’ve long had a theory about presidential politics in this country. It goes something like this. For the last couple of decades, presidential candidates have to run in one direction to get their parties’ nominations, and then in another to govern with majority support once in office. However, this means something different for Democrats than it does for Republicans, in part because significant swaths of the country have grown more conservative, or — specifically — more Republican.

What it means basically is that Republican presidential candidates have to satisfy their base, in order get the party nomination. However, when it comes time to govern, they have to cheat towards the center if they want to maintain respectable approval ratings. In other words, they have to run so far to the right to get nominated, that they have trouble getting back to the center in order to govern. They have a long hard run to the center and their right wing base is keeping them on an ever shorter leash.

What is means for the Democrats is that, because several states have grown more conservative over the last 20 to 30 years, is that they have to stay just close enough to their base to get nominated, but have to sprint towards the middle to have even a decent shot at winning an election. The problem is that they have to start cheating right earlier and earlier, and their base is starting to notice and not liking it much.

Maybe I“m wrong, and maybe I’m crazy, but that’s the way I see it.

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About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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One Response to The Race to the Middle

  1. Dan says:

    I don’t really agree. There are many out there who see that the religious right has overrun the republican party in rural America, forcing those who want to run to kowtow to them. This is made very clear in “Whats the Matter With Kansas?” It’s the outrage of those who hated the 60s wanting to repeal the entire decade.

    I don’t know that I buy it lock, stock, and barrel…. but I don’t agree that the country has become more conservative. I think the media has, and I think the dems have lost touch with their message.

    I think the Reagan years made us all feel better about being selfish and wanting more than others have – bigger houses, bigger luxury SUVs, etc. Clinton was a kinder, gentler version of that – though I adore the man in many ways, his era will be rememdered as the time of middle class mega-consumption in my book.

    The dems need to go back and HAMMER their messages: Health Care, Education, Security. They need to get real about Iraq yesterday and talk withdrawal plans. They need to talk about the rich having only made it super-wealthy because of our permissive system, and they need to pay some more to suport the system that lets them live in excess. And they need to not be ashamed of it – the filthy rich need to help those with little or nothing live here.

    That’s my 2 cents.

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