Now consider today’s Republican Party. At a moment when it is poised to present meaningful conservative alternatives to the stale bromides of a bankrupt liberalism, far right activists who demand ideological purity and rigidity on all issues dominate the activist base, and seemingly are succeeding in producing a conservatism that is both not electable and far removed from appealing to the disappointments that are driving so many away from the Democratic Party.
My comment, and now response (since whoever there moderates comments couldn't be bothered) here at this august blog:
The center-right has been successfully demonized as being “radical” and “far-right” so long now that people, like you Ron, take it as conventional wisdom, which is definitely conventional, but rarely wise.
We need to redefine what “centrist” actually means. I believe it is not merely someone who sits in the middle between left and center-right, as that implies a center-left mindset – and that satisfies no-one. Not the 20% self-described “liberal” and definitely not the 42% of the electorate who claim “conservative”. Even the 35% who currently claim “moderate”, when push comes to shove, will abandon that and go one way or the other. And that will almost invariably end up with a majority of “conservatives” in the electorate. So someone tell me why we should have a party that panders to that middle group and leaves the larger “base” unfulfilled instead of embracing the base and reaching out to the “moderates” and convincing them that their agenda most meets their needs? After all, the moderates are the ones that need convincing and they put themselves there to be convinced. Besides, do you really think a “centrist” party is going to peel off any part of the 20% of “liberals”? When a self-identified group gets near those numbers, it’s the hard-core true-believers. they can’t BE convinced to vote for you.
In essence, Ron, you’re advocating the same policies the GOP has run for nearly ever – chase the “moderates” by being “centrist” and throw a couple bones to the conservatives but generally ignore them as they will always be there. Which was what Bush and the Republican leadership have done since Gingrich was ousted, and continue to try to do this year with neglect and active hostility towards conservative challengers in Florida, Delaware, and Alaska. Basically, be “Democrat-lite” and manage the disaster that liberalism is creating instead of actually averting it. What did that get them in 2006 and 2008?
Oh, yeah, the people will vote for the actual Democrat or Republican rather than the pale imitation.
Let's give the people an actual party for which to vote.