Skip to comments.America's Race to the Middle
Posted on 05/10/2008 11:55:28 AM PDT by The_Republican
The long, fascinating spectacle of the presidential primaries has all but obscured their potential impact on American politics: Campaign 2008 may break Washington's gridlock by reviving the long-dormant political center.
The public's hunger for a change in Washington's ways has formed the backdrop of this year's presidential race from its outset. When the Wall Street Journal and NBC News surveyed voters in December, as the campaign began, almost half agreed that America needed "major reforms and a brand new and different approach" to handling problems.
In the wake of Tuesday's primary elections in North Carolina and Indiana, it appears more likely than ever that the two presidential candidates this fall will be Sen. Barack Obama for the Democrats and Sen. John McCain for the Republicans. They happen to be the two most surprisingly successful candidates of the year, and both got ahead largely by arguing they have unique abilities to bring people together in Washington.
Change may be stirring in other areas that have contributed to gridlock. Voters are pulling politicians toward the middle of the ideological spectrum by registering as independents and calling for centrist solutions. A new cast of political players -- some young, most little-known to the nation -- is emerging to show that there are ways to transcend gridlock by reaching across the aisle.
And a seismic shift has come in the way politicians chase the money they need to win and keep office. A surge in Internet campaign donations by average citizens carries the promise that politicians might become less beholden to special interests on the right or left. Raising more money via the Internet instead of on the hustings may even leave politicians more time to spend in Washington, talking to each other.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
I didn’t read the whole article, but I don’t think being the candidate who can “bring people together” and “change the status quo” aren’t exactly new themes.
Obama? Hillary? The center? Are they nuts?
In other words, less than half of the people polled agreed that America needed "major reforms and a brand new and different approach" to handling problems.
How anybody can draw legitimate conclusions from that that a new possibility for meeting in the "political center" is forming is hard to see. The questions are vapid and devoid of meaning.
Imagine a competition between the goals of a violent rapist and the goals of the rapist's intended victim - finding the "political center" evidently means that the rapist can have his way with the victim for a few hours or days, but will not kill the victim after he's finished. While that may in fact be an "improvement" in the eyes of the victim, when compared with the extreme end of the realm of possibilities, I doubt that you could find many volunteers for that role. The potential victim is correct in clinging to intransigent partisanship on the issue. However plenty of these "political center" people other than the victim would celebrate the compromise - and the Nobel Prize committee would start planning for the award ceremony. That's the Jimmy Carter approach. That's also the stupid approach.
I'd like to see major reforms and a brand new and different approach to handling problems, but for me that means reducing the unwarranted intrusion of all governments into my daily life, my financial status and plans, and the like. What it might mean to a confused "moderate" is anybody's guess - maybe a majority of them think that it means exactly the opposite of what it means to me.
"...Voters are pushing the system in precisely this direction: The share of the public registered as neither Democrat nor Republican, but rather as independent, has exploded in recent years. In New Hampshire this year, more than four in 10 registered voters didn't declare any party affiliation, up from just more than two in 10 in 1992. In California, independent voters are the fastest-growing segment of those who have registered; almost a quarter of the registered voters there now are either independent or affiliated with neither major party.
See the NYT article tomorrow on this same subject. I do believe people are tiring of constant political warfare although the Times article makes a different case. Part of the problem is political belief is now more "faith based" than before. By that I mean even the agnostic and atheistic liberal voter bases his politics on faith not dissimilar to that of his Christian, conservative opponents faith based politics.
I think Senator McCain is making the best possible case for the politics of compromise; however, it must be remembered that Rush Limbaugh and most of those picturing themselves as "real conservatives" want political battle to the death. They choose to deny America's great historical strength--compromise. The only time we failed, a a civil war followed with 700,000 dead.