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Silver Linings July 20, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.

The Republican strategy in the upcoming mid-term elections is curious. As political analyst Ed Kilgore writes:

It’s been obvious for quite some time–dating back at least to the fall of 2008–that the Republican Party is undergoing an ideological transformation that really is historically unusual. Normally political parties that go through two consecutive really bad electoral cycles downplay ideology and conspicuously seek “the center.” Not today’s GOP, in which there are virtually no self-identified “moderates,” and all the internal pressure on politicians–and all is no exaggeration–is from the right.

This move to the right is bad for the country. The emergence of ideas that are bizarre, offensive, and delusional does not help our political process; it only poisons the discourse. But there is a good chance that this strategy may backfire. In addition to pushing into the limelight candidates like Sharon Angle and Rand Paul that are too far out of the mainstream to win elections, there may be long-term prospects that Democrats can exploit.

If, as is almost universally expected, Republicans have a very good midterm election year after a highly-self-conscious lurch to the right, will there be any force on earth limiting the tactical radicalism of conservatives going forward? I mean, really, there’s been almost no empirical evidence supporting the “move right and win” hypothesis up until now, and we see how fiercely it’s embraced by Republicans. Will 2010 serve as the eternal validator of the belief that America’s not just a “center-right country” but a country prepared to repudiate every progressive development of the last century or so?

That could well be the conviction some conservatives carry away from this election cycle, and if so, what would normally pass for the political “center” will be wide open for Democrats to occupy for the foreseeable future.

It is difficult to hope for the continuation of the lunatic ravings of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. The embarrassment of them being nominally American outweighs whatever comic possibilities they create. But if they continue to push the rightwing off the political map, the embarrassment might be assuaged by their increasing irrelevance.

Today is Wednesday, one of my optimistic days.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com



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