I agree wholeheartedly with this piece over at National Review.
The point of the article (didn’t want to steal its perfect title) is that there is no political center! I think that’s 100% right. There are issues that resonate with the left, and are opposed by the right; and other issues that resonate with the right and are opposed by the left.
“The center” is usually seen as the compromise between those two poles.
Someone tell me: what’s the ‘centrist’ view on earmarks? Can someone identify the centrist position on government corruption? What’s the centrist platform for improving the economy?
How many people are there that have no strong opinion for or against abortion, for or against gay marriage, for or against a strong military, for or against higher taxes, for or against a flat tax, for or against campaign finance reform, for or against stronger gun control, for or against school vouchers, AND no strong opinion for or against Iraq?
Most people have a strong opinion for or against at least a few issues. And these moderates will vote for the candidate that persuades them to see some important issues the way the candidate sees them. Obama didn’t win because he was a centrist, he won because he persuaded a majority of the electorate that:
1) We needed a change from having a Republican in the White House,
2) Electing him would resolve many racial issues, and
3) He had a decent plan to help people through the tough economic times*
* that was a deliberate formulation. Obama never actually explained a policy that would help restore the economy; in fact, many elements of his platform are really, really bad for the economy. But he did promise tax cuts and aid and govt programs to help people survive comfortably through the economic downturn. That’s an interesting glimpse into Democratic Party intentions and assumptions, isn’t it?