Thursday, November 04, 2004


Why does the "center" apply only to Democrats?

In the post immediately below this one, a moderate Republican says one of the reasons Kerry lost was that he moved too far to the left from the center. He may be correct. Democrats are always being criticized for moving too far to the left. Democrats who attempt to move to the center, such as Bill Clinton, get reamed by more liberal Democrats for straying too far toward the center.

That kind of tension is good for a party, it inspires real debate and real choices. Besides, the Democrats are never going to move in lockstep, and good for us.

But - how come nobody - and I mean nobody - ever advises George W. Bush - or, indeed, any Republican - to move to the center? How come it's okay to be the most right-wing president in our history? How come it's okay to have a Republican party all but shorn of its last few remaining moderates (Specter, I suppose, Chaffee, Snowe and Collins, Pataki, if you must, even Giuliani and Schwarzenegger, if you can stomach them)? How come nobody ever criticizes the Republicans for moving ever rightward? The current GOP is so far from the center, whatever that is, that they couldn't get there with a driver followed by a three-wood. And that's perfectly okay for the pundits and too many voters who should know better.

I guess, when you believe that reality is what you want it to be, you can take wherever you are and call it the center. But the press really should not let the GOP get away with that trickery. Especially if it's as "liberal" as the right-wing whiners of the Mighty Wurlitzer are always complaining.

I really don't know how we got to this stage - where "liberal" is all but a curse word and even centrist no longer means anything. I also don't know how we fight back. But fair is fair, and if the Democrats have to move to the center to win, why shouldn't exactly the same be demanded of the Republicans? No, seriously - why?

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