Let's shift the center
One of the recurring themes in political discourse over the past few years has been from progressives who find Obama too near the center -- if not actually a bit too far right -- even as his political opponents scream, "Socialist!"
It's a laughable accusation, and the exact opposite has a few progressives finding it hard to stomach voting for the man.
It's not the article that's interesting here, but the comments. In this Atlantic Monthly piece (http://bit.ly/RhJt6w) author Conor Friedersdorf lays out his reasons for not voting for Obama, which swirl around the use of drones and alleged unconstitutional actions of aggression against American citizens and Libya.
If that lies outside his comfort zone, that's certainly his business and quite understandable, but many of the comments that follow lay out in more pragmatic terms why, if you want a country that's as free from ideologues as it can get, voting for Obama is just another step in the transformational shift that could be ahead of us.
It's not over until the day after Election Day (or several weeks later, if you're George Bush and Al Gore), but what it seems we're witnessing right now is the self-destruction of the Republican Party and a message that they need to restructure from their win-whatever-the-cost strategy that they've glommed on through a deal with the devil in the form of the tea party and the Bushies before them. That's an important thing to achieve for the future of the country regardless of your views on any specific Democrat milquetoast.
The transformational shift would come from establishing the Democrats' left, Obama's left -- which is, honestly, moderate and center most of the time -- as the mainstream, effectively replacing the Republicans as the conservative view. Don't think this could happen? Watch what happens after years of Democrat control and Republican shrinkage -- the Democrats would sink in well as the status quo, and more passionate liberals will wake up to the need for an actual opposition from the real left, and not this propped up straw man that the Republicans have created.
Republican nostalgia is good
Whether they know it or not, there's a real desire within the Republicans to return to the Eisenhower model, an old-style conservatism that wasn't about low taxes and gay marriage, but maintaining the standards of the country and the tools citizens had to elevate themselves and actually take responsibility for their own actions.
Go no further than this David Brooks column (http://nyti.ms/UVdyue) that bemoans the siphoning of intellectual capital from the party to the right as it courts the belligerent white taxpayer. And pay attention to the comments here, once again more revelatory than the actual piece, in which disaffected Republicans who cling to the old style of their political philosophy are revealed as alienated by this party of body snatchers that seems to have taken its place.
More proof? The American Conservative is far from the mainstream of conservatism and, therefore, one of the more intelligent voices from the right that you are likely to find nowadays. In this piece by Daniel McCarthy (http://bit.ly/PnSkB) the crumbling of the GOP is traced through several factors, but the most damning moment of the piece arrives when McCarthy arrives at the party's tactic of employing divisive "us versus them" rhetoric as the disconnect from success. The article charts the mighty fall of the party even as it wins some small victories, and why the Republican Party as it exists now may find its days numbered.
Or perhaps the Eisenhower wing will come to save us all.
John Seven is the Transcript's arts and entertainment editor.