Jul 21 2009

America Has No Love For The Left Or Right

Published by at 10:00 am under 2010 Elections

Welcome RCP Readers , and thanks for the better title for the post RCP!

America is coming to its senses. It is learning a harsh lesson,. and that is the political fringes are no place to find answers to our problems. The fringes are, at best, stopped watches. They stumble or co opt good ideas and claim them as their own (only Dems love children, only the GOP defends this nation). America had been a right of center conservative nation for decades after Ronald Reagan built a coalition around centrist common ground. That was the good ‘ol days when we bounced around the center, tilting a little left and then a little right.

By the time George W Bush became President the battles over the common ground issues on the right had all been won. There was a short suspension of progress under Clinton, but even he could not hold the tide back for ending things like life long welfare. When he went too far left, the nation gave him a GOP congress to counter balance him and get back on the correct path.

After Reagan we had years of tax cuts and roll backs. We had years of increasing our national security, we had years of free market reforms, we saw abortion go from a glorified right to an abhorrent action of last resort. Abortion was never going to be outlawed, there is no push for that in the country. But it was curtailed and pulled from public funding. From ending teenage abortions without parental consent to ending the infanticide of late term abortions, the center right view of abortion as an abomination that is required in certain tragic situations was the guiding force in the nation. 

As Bush tried to squeeze out the last of the common ground opportunities left he began to grate on the fringes inside  the governing right of center coalition. His wonderful, market based Medicare/Medicaid prescription drug benefit is the perfect example of what is wrong with the ‘true conservatives’. They hated this safety net program which slashed emergency room health care for people, increased the quality of life for all seniors, and had the well-to-do pay their own way. It was the perfect combination of government and private industry – and the purists hate it. From that point on the purists railed against every person to the left of their extreme views. 

The center right Reagan coalition was torn asunder by the purists on the far right. Instead of building bridges they burnt the whole thing down in a fit of rage and name calling, all in a lame effort to demonstrate their supposed superiority.  And the nation walked away from them and tried out the far left, not being told it would be far left under Obama. The sad fact is the far left had risen to power through the simple force of tenure. Only in government do the most inept rise to the top. The rest go into private industry to really succeed in life. In DC the last vestiges of liberalism had taken over Congress. The nation was in for another round of fringe failures.

We now have America turning away from the liberals in DC, as their own version of fringe kookiness plays out in disastrous failure to fix the economy and create jobs. With the horrific economic record under their belts, the Liberals once again are trying to take over health care, when most people are happy with the quality and speed of their care, but are tired of the rising costs (which reduces access). Instead of fixing the cost problem, the Democrats want to do to health care what they did in creating jobs – leave it to bureaucrats. The nation is not happy with this fringe concept. They want costs reduced, not bureaucrats running costs up and quality down.

The result is clear in the polls only 6 months into the liberal bite at the governance apple:

Just as Obama intensifies his efforts to fulfill a campaign promise and reach an agreement with Congress on health care reform, the number of Americans who say they trust the president has fallen from 66 percent to 54 percent. At the same time, the percentage of those who say they do not trust the president has jumped from 31 to 42.


The president’s party has taken a similar hit since the last Public Trust Monitor poll, with only 42 percent of respondents saying that they trust the Democratic Party, compared with 52 percent who do not. The party’s numbers are nearly the inverse of March’s survey, in which 52 percent said they trusted Democrats and 42 percent did not.

But America is not ready to rush back to the ‘true conservatives’ who spent years bad mouthing everyone who did not bow down to their self proclaimed superiority:

But whatever the problems faced by Obama and his party, they still earn higher approval ratings than other Washington leaders or the Republican Party, according to the Public Trust Monitor poll. And the loss in trust in Democrats did not correspond with a gain for the GOP: Trust in Republicans fell from 40 percent in March to 36 percent in the recent survey.

David Brooks notices the trend as well:

It was interesting to watch the Republican Party lose touch with America. You had a party led by conservative Southerners who neither understood nor sympathized with moderates or representatives from swing districts.

They brought in pollsters to their party conferences to persuade their members that the country was fervently behind them. They were supported by their interest groups and cheered on by their activists and the partisan press. They spent federal money in an effort to buy support but ended up disgusting the country instead.

It’s not that interesting to watch the Democrats lose touch with America. That’s because the plotline is exactly the same. The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes.

This ideological overreach won’t be any more successful than the last one. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday confirms what other polls have found. Most Americans love Barack Obama personally, but support for Democratic policies is already sliding fast.

Approval of Obama’s handling of health care, for example, has slid from 57 percent to 49 percent since April. Disapproval has risen from 29 percent to 44 percent. As recently as June, voters earning more than $50,000 preferred Obama to the Republicans on health care by a 21-point margin. Now those voters are evenly split.

America is fed up with the holier-than-though purists on both ends of the political fringes. That is why centrists will begin winning more and more elections. They are not ‘moderate’ or ‘squishy’ or easily swayed. They are just as dedicated to their causes. The difference is they build coalitions which solve problems, not ivory castles of purity and arrogance.

When coming together to make things work became the enemy of the pure, this nation lost its way. When it was treasonous to join arms across the aisle America stopped to exist and was replaced by two warring (and emotionally stunted, vain, uncontrolled and corrupt) political parties.

There is nothing wrong with center left and center right joining arms in common cause. We do it every day in the military and in business. The wing nuts who demand their side win, damn the impact on the nation, are the real faux patriots. They only believe in their superiority over the good of the nation, or at least they have some strange need to.

Their time is coming to an end.  The fastest growing and largest political affiliation in “Independent”. The country is rejecting these fringes and their anti-American desire to be right no matter how many have to lose to make it happen. The Dems would not look to tax cuts to stimulate the economy and create needed jobs – to much like the GOP. And the GOP will not allow fixes to immigration, health care and other issues if it has even the slightest taint of Democrat blue.

It is childish and pathetic.

And it needs to end.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “America Has No Love For The Left Or Right”

  1. danonwis says:

    I think that is well put. While you seem to skew toward the right of center and I would tend to describe myself as left of center, I get the feeling if a true centrist party formed, dedicated to taking the best ideas of either side of the spectrum, we would both quickly become a part of it.

  2. Mike M. says:

    AJ, I have to disagree in part with your analysis.

    One factor that enters into the equation is that the American electorate seems to be willing to let the Left have a stint at the controls every 12 years. Twelve years of Reagan and Bush the Elder…then two years of pure Democrat rule under Clinton. Twelve years of a Republican Congress…then two years of pure Democrat rule under Obama.

    Another factor is that the Washington Republicans have forgotten HOW to form a coalition. They either refuse to do so, or try to ally themselves with the Far Left (e.g. Bush the Younger letting Kennedy write No Child Left Behind legislation). The key to successful compromise is to follow the Reagan formula – figure out what you want and how many votes you have, then start making the MINIMUM number of concessions required to get a majority. Reagan didn’t try to sway the radicals, he focused on the Blue Dog Democrats. He could pick them up without anyone having to toss his principles under the bus.

    That being said, my observation is that some of the moderates are every bit as intransigent. Their attitude is that everybody HAS to deal with them…and they WILL have their pound or two of flesh. Adn a double dose of groveling to boot. Principled Moderates can be negoiated with, but the Mercenary Moderates give the entire group a bad name.

    And BOTH parties have a serious problem with administrative competence. This is a Very Bad development, especially for the Republicans – they traditionally had an advantage in this department. Bush the Younger lost this, and I suspect that being at a high level in his administration will be a career-ender for a lot of people. Not that the Democrats do better – they reliably do worse, and I would bet that being in the Obama administration will be a ticket to the unemployment office come 2013.

  3. AJStrata says:


    Sorry for the delay in getting your comment through – you shouldn’t see any more delays unless you add lots of links.

    I agree with you. I think most people would join up.

  4. crosspatch says:

    Noticing another trend in the weekly generic Congressional ballot out by Rasmussen today. Republicans are favored now by 4 points overall but the most telling news is this:

    Voters not affiliated with either party heavily favor GOP candidates by a 41% to 21% margin, showing little change since last week.

    Now the problem with the center unaffiliated is that their voter turnout is less than the kool-aid drinkers on either side. If someone like Palin could get that segment of the electorate energized, then the Dems are toast.

  5. Terrye says:

    Wasn’t David Brooks the man who said Palin was a cancer on the GOP?

    And I think the Republicans are doing better than that poll indicates AJ. Obama is under 50% on health care issues now in about three different polls. Republicans are actually starting to look better to people.

    I do think that some people on the right pushed it too far, just like some on the left. But I don’t think people like Brooks helped at all.

  6. Terrye says:

    And AJ, a lot of those Independents are libertarians and conservatives. I mean, very conservative. They feel that the GOP went to far to the center for them. Do not make the mistake of assuming that Independent=moderate. Sometimes it does of course, but not always.

  7. AJStrata says:

    Terrye, the far right is not even a large fraction of the independents. Trust me on this.

  8. Mike M. says:

    Maybe not, AJ, but the libertarian faction is considerably larger. And they have little fondness for what the Republican Party had become by 2008.

  9. AJStrata says:

    Nope Mike M. the libertarian faction is a fraction of a small fraction of the center. When people are asked the libertarians only make up around 9% of the population (then add in polling error). As the RCP notes the only way polls show higher numbers is if the pollsters assign people to the category because of like minded views.

    Libertarians are as about as numerous as Greens.