November 29th, 2012at 07:17am Posted by Eli
Great article by Bruce Bartlett in the American Conservative about how the GOP lost its mind and, consequently, elections. But I think he misses a connection.
At one point, Bartlett says this about Obama (which I agree with 100%):
The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal—and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today. Viewed in historical context, I see Obama as actually being on the center-right.
And then, later on, he also says this:
It is now widely understood that the nation may be center-left after all, not center-right as conservatives thought.
This is probably true too, but the point that I think Bartlett should have made more explicit is that the problem is not that Republicans misjudged where the American people are on the political spectrum, so much as where the political spectrum is in the first place. Even if America is a center-right country as Republicans love to say, the center-right is where Obama and the Democrats are, not where the Republicans are. Even by their own assessment of the electorate, their political positioning is terrible – and it only makes sense if you define “center-right” as somewhere to the right of Dick Cheney.
So the good news is that between the GOP’s extremism and America’s demographic trends (which Bartlett also talks about), the Republicans may be dooming themselves to irrelevance for a long time to come. Of course, the bad news is that most Democrats might as well be Republicans too.