Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's not center right, nor center center nor center left...

It's a liberal mandate.

David Neiwert of Orcinus:
I keep hearing from a lot of conservatives that McCain lost because he wasn't conservative enough -- that is, he was essentially a center-right candidate. And I think that's the consensus about where he sat on the political spectrum.

So if America is a "center-right country," then why didn't they elect the center-right candidate?

It's all bullshit, of course. As a CAF/Media Matters study found last year: "Media perceptions and past Republican electoral successes notwithstanding, Americans are progressive across a wide range of controversial issues, and they're growing more progressive all the time." In fact, as CAF's Robert Borosage points out, "Voters didn't just elect Democrats, they elected progressives." This is a liberal mandate.

Yet it's probably true that the election doesn't necessarily reflect an all-out embrace of all things liberal. Obama largely succeeded by making clear that he has a moderate temperament on a number of issues, and more importantly, in his style of governance. So a certain caution is probably wise.

No, this election was about one thing primarily: a sweeping repudiation of movement conservatism.

The breadth and depth of Democrats' victory was a loud shout from the American public: We have had enough of this crap.

Specifically, we've had enough of two things: conservative governance, and conservative politics.


Steve Bates said...

Oh noes! What if a liberal mandate were to lead eventually to a liberal man-marriage?

John Dean, in his book Conservatives without Conscience, argues persuasively that American conservatism simply isn't all that old... I'm estimating less than a century for what we call movement conservatism... and is most certainly not part of the founding tradition of our nation. By any reasonable measure, all of our founders, of whatever political leanings in their own time, would be considered liberal by today's standards. Most of movement conservatism would probably be anathema to them... and remember, they were the rich guys of their day.

Conservatism in the 21st century is a kind of greedy hoax perpetrated on the American public using fear and false patriotism. The sooner our electorate can be disabused of the notion that there is anything traditionally American in the framework of movement conservatism, the better off we'll be in our pursuit of realizing our founders' dreams.

low-tech cyclist said...

I think that, most of all, Americans wanted to elect people with an interest in actually fixing the problems we face, rather than creating more of them.

And that's why all this 'overreaching' crap really is crap. It's not like libruls want some bag of librul goodies, in the same way that conservatives wanted specifically conservative goodies. We want to do things that make this country work for the vast majority of Americans.

We want to end a war, contain health care costs through a universal health care system, and do something about climate change before the world is our toaster. We want to make sure that, when our economy is doing well once again, the gains are widely shared instead of hoarded by a few. We want to reclaim a world where America didn't spy on its citizens and torture aliens. Stuff like that.

There's no way to 'overreach' with respect to such things as these.

ellroon said...

Steve, I read about a study that deliberately reworded in contemporary language the Declaration of Independence and asked people if they would support it. The resounding response was no, it was way too radical.

Low-tech, I have to laugh at the words being thrown at us: 'overreaching, radical, messiah complex',etc. Tripped over 'goose-stepping' this morning. Project much, don't they?
The theme of their demands is that when the Republicans were in power, liberals must come to them. When Democrats are in power, we must share and move to the center. They insist that the country is more on the Republican side even though this elections was devastating to them. Nothing seems to get through their very thick skulls...