Monday, June 25, 2007

Where the Center Falls

This is part 2 in my series of writing about things before they can be linked to online. Whee!

The article was written by E.J. Dionne Jr., and should be up at the site in a few days. The title - "America's Political Center Keeps Moving to the Left".

The gist of the article is that politicians are moving further left, as is evidenced especially by the change from the midterm elections in 2002 to 2006. In 2002, Democrats did their best to show their closeness to the President. In 2006, republicans did their best to distance themselves from him.

Their are other factors for this than a general political shift. The president is at his lame-duckiest, and distancing from the old regime in preparation for change is a fairly common thing. However, this doesn't explain the moves towards universal healthcare made by Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger, or the popularity of the centrist who succeeded Jeb Bush as governor of Florida. These politicians are not liberals, but they are doing more liberal, more progressive things.

The universal healthcare plans are not as comprehensive as they could be, but they are being proposed, seriously, by Republicans. This is a solution that had been engineered by liberals and put forward originally by democrats, and, given time, it has become an idea acceptable to the center.

The fringe proposes, the left makes reasonable, the center adapts and makes change.

This is a good reassurance that change is not just gradual but more or less inevitable, and the work of conservatives vs. liberals is more a debate over when and not if.

1 comment:

V said...

You missed one important aspect of this: one reason the "center" is moving left is that, at least since the 1992 elections (Clinton would have done fine as a moderate Republican ten years earlier) and probably since the late 1970s, the "center" had been moving steadily right.

The triumph of the "new right" is that they have managed, by constant repetition of their fascist frames and sometimes outright lies, to define anything left of Lyndon LaRouche as liberal or bordering on communism.

Even Barry Goldwater (who was as scary a presidential candidate as you could find, in his day) repudiated the Republicans' extremism, before he died.

And now, enough people who are geniunely in the middle on things have started to see the hypocrisy of the political and religious leaders who brainwashed them like that. And they're seeing the social, moral and financial consequences of letting those people take (almost absolute) power for four years.

The "center" is moving left because that's where the hearts of the people are, and because it was temporarily shoved off-center by right-wing zealots. But gravity has a way of moving things back where they belong.