November 30, 2011

Thomas Sowell: Whoever Won by Seizing the Center?
— rdbrewer

At Real Clear Politics:

Talk show host Michael Medved, for example, apparently thinks the Republicans need a centrist presidential candidate in 2012. He said, "Most political battles are won by seizing the center." Moreover, he added: "Anyone who believes otherwise ignores the electoral experience of the last 50 years."

But just when did Ronald Reagan, with his two landslide election victories, "seize the center"? For that matter, when did Franklin D. Roosevelt, with a record four consecutive presidential election victories, "seize the center"?

There have been a long string of Republican presidential candidates who seized the center -- and lost elections. Thomas E. Dewey, for example, seized the center against Harry Truman in 1948. Even though Truman was so unpopular at the outset that the "New Republic" magazine urged him not to run, and polls consistently had Dewey ahead, Truman clearly stood for something -- and for months he battled for what he stood for.

That turned out to be enough to beat Dewey, who simply stood in the center.

I've been arguing for a while that Reagan won over the Reagan Democrats without pandering to them at all. He was a great leader and a man with real conservative convictions. People knew what he stood for, and they loved him for it. I think the Bushes fostered the modern false idea that one has to be kinder and gentler to appeal to the center to win. And now we have a huge crop of former Bush employees constantly on the airwaves trying to thwart Reagan's conservative message just as Bush 41 did beginning in '89.

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Posted by: rdbrewer at 08:51 AM | Comments (103)
Post contains 286 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Barack Obama is a stuttering clusterf*ck of a miserable failure.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) says 'No' to RINO Romney at November 30, 2011 08:52 AM (8y9MW)

2 I'm a "Sowell" man...

Posted by: J.J. Sefton at November 30, 2011 08:53 AM (UlUS4)

3

She feels your pain America:  Our First lady Michelle Obama enjoyed a lovely evening at Co Co. Sala on F Street on Monday night. A Yeas & Nays source tells us she dined with seven friends for dinner and, of course, dessert -- which featured an edible chocolate sculpture and house-made artisanal chocolates by Chef Santosh Tiptur. We're told Obama's favorite savory was Chef Tiptur's Moroccan Swordfish Sliders with chermoula marinade, fennel salad, aged pecorino and hazelnut coffee dressing. The restaurant owners later posted to Twitter about their excitement of having her as a guest. "It was such an honor to have first lady Michelle Obama dine at Co Co. Sala last night. What an exciting and humbling experience!"


Posted by: Wall-E at November 30, 2011 08:53 AM (48wze)

4
Shark Makes Friends With Kitten?

Posted by: Soothsayer 2020 at November 30, 2011 08:54 AM (sqkOB)

5

Couldn't agree more. Dunno who's likely to follow through, but clear conservatism sells.

Your opinionatin' ain't bad, brewer. It's facts that seem to trouble you.

Posted by: spongeworthy at November 30, 2011 08:54 AM (puy4B)

6 You don't move to the center, you move the center to you.

Posted by: taylork at November 30, 2011 08:54 AM (5wsU9)

7 Seizing the center of a pie at Thanksgiving almost always works.  It's all yours after that.

Posted by: dfbaskwill at November 30, 2011 08:55 AM (71LDo)

8
Everyone loves Regan.  The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.

Posted by: The Peasants at November 30, 2011 08:55 AM (IADp6)

9 Well, this is certainly not good news for me.

Posted by: Mitt Romney at November 30, 2011 08:55 AM (fecOD)

10 Best selling books: "Famous Moderates in US History".... Buy it Now !!!

Posted by: Wall-E at November 30, 2011 08:55 AM (48wze)

11
It's true.

Obama is proof of Medved's perfect centrist politician theory.

Oh wait, no he's not.

Posted by: Soothsayer 2020 at November 30, 2011 08:56 AM (sqkOB)

12 I stood for civility in political discourse in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting, now I protest in the street callin for the death of capitalism, bankers, and their Republican enablers. I matched with John Stewart to bring back sanity, now I hold up signs saying Republicans are holding the economy hostage and comParing tea partierers to terrorists.

Posted by: I am the 99% at November 30, 2011 08:56 AM (yt5iO)

13

Reposting my comment from last night on the thread that included a link to Medved's article.

Conservative Myths about 2008

Not sure I buy Medved's latest attempt at retconning the "retconning."

1) He claims that "the establishment split its support among Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani."  Yet, he presents absolutely no evidence to back up this assertion beyond McCain's being "cut off by major GOP donors" (which is, in itself, not necessarily an accurate picture of who "the establishment" prefers, and in many ways actually SUPPORTS view that Republican conservative stalwarts, as opposed to the establishment, were not supportive of McCain). 

2) He presents the fact that McCain ran ahead of Republicans running for Congress as evidence that McCain was actually pretty durn popular with conservatives.  This is sort of apples and oranges, since Republican candidates for the presidency generally tend to run better than GOP congressional candidates due to more Dems being willing to crossover at the presidential level than the congressional level, where ties with unions and other Dem vote-socialising mechanisms are stronger. 

In 1980, Reagan won 50.8% of the popular vote, but congressional GOP candidates only got 47.6%

In 1988, Bush got 53.4% of the votes cast, while congressional GOP canddiates got 45.3%

1992 and 1996 were skewed because of the Perot factor at the presidential level which had no comparable candidates at the congressional. 

The only GOP presidential candidate since 1980 for whom the congressional vote for GOP has even been close (i.e. within 2%) to the presidential vote was Bush II, both years.  Long story short, the fact that McCain ran ahead of congressional Republicans doesn't actually substantiate the point Medved is trying to make.

3) He relies upon exit polling data, which is well-known to be spurious.  However, if the 34% of voters identifying as conservatives is nevertheless reasonably accurate, then that's an underperformance versus the 40% of voters who yearly identify as "conservative" in annual polls of ideological affinity. 

4) Several of his arguments about individual losses by conservatives are either so ancient as to be irrelevant in the post-Reagan political landscape, or else leave out other relevant factors that play into the equation.

Does anyone really, credibly believe that Goldwater getting hammered by Johnson back in 1964, when America really was at the height of the "big government can do anything" mentality, and modern conservatism was actually a new phenomenon that was just being systematically postulated by people like Kirk, has any relevance to the political scene today?

Pointing to O'Donnell's loss in Delaware as an indicator of anything more than the fact that Delawareans are much more liberal than the country at large is ridiculous.

His point about Rand Paul and Mike Lee is somewhat silly.  Lee actually only underperformed vs. McCain by 0.6%, which seems to me to be more statistical than anything else.  Paul underperformed versus McCain by 1.7% - as a complete outsider against a reasonably popular, well-entrenched sitting statewide elected official.  These are supposed to be evidence that conservatism can't hack it?

And while Medved points to Ken Buck's loss in Colorado as evidence that people want moderates rather than conservatives, the actual fact of the matter is that Buck OUTperformed McCain by 1.7% in the state. 

In fact, there were quite a number of Senate races in 2010 where solid conservatives outperformed McCain's numbers in 2008:

South Carolina - DeMint (61.5%) vs. McCain (53.9%)

North Carolina - Burr (54.8%) vs. McCain (49.4%)

Pennsylvania - Toomey (51.0%) vs. McCain (44.2%)

Florida - Rubio (48.9%, in a three way race!) vs. McCain (48.1%)

Johnson - Johnson (51.9%) vs. McCain (42.3%)

New Hampshire - Ayotte (60.0%) vs. McCain (43.5%)

Shoot, even in Nevada, Angle outperformed McCain by 2%.

Sorry, Mike, but I'm not buying what you're selling.

Posted by: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus at November 30, 2011 08:57 AM (+inic)

14 You seize the center not by acting like a centrist, but by offering the more compelling idea and projecting the most competence.

Posted by: weew at November 30, 2011 08:57 AM (7RbIF)

15 Problem with Sowell's thesis:  Romney isn't "moderate."  He's liberal enough that the same people who continually vote(d) for the likes of: Teddy Kennedy, John F'n Kerry, and Bwaney Fwank elected him Governor.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) says 'No' to RINO Romney at November 30, 2011 08:57 AM (8y9MW)

16 It's not a centerist that will defeat the liberal hordes.

Posted by: Bosk at November 30, 2011 08:57 AM (n2K+4)

17

The center is usually lukewarm mush

Posted by: Jones at November 30, 2011 08:58 AM (8sCoq)

18 The problem with "centrism" if it even exists, is that it's always the conservatives that have to move to the center, while the left keeps moving that theoretical point ever leftward. Fuck compromise. I'll take victory and the permanent marginalization of the left.

Posted by: J.J. Sefton at November 30, 2011 08:58 AM (UlUS4)

19

Johnson - Johnson (51.9%) vs. McCain (42.3%)

where in the map is the state of Johnson?!

Posted by: AuthorLMendez Wants oZfic Gone Whether The Co-Bloggers Like It or Not at November 30, 2011 08:59 AM (yAor6)

20 I detest Medved. It's not just his mushy middle pandering that makes him unlistenable, it's his nasal, smug, "lady voice". He comes on after Rush, and I am always running to turn off the radio before his gay, whiny tones permeate the room.

Posted by: runningrn at November 30, 2011 08:59 AM (u/RSM)

21 You seize the center not by acting like a centrist, but by offering the more compelling idea and projecting the most competence.
Posted by: weew at November 30, 2011 01:57 PM

Again, not good for me.

Posted by: Mitt Romney at November 30, 2011 09:00 AM (fecOD)

22 I call Barney Frank a moderate, but yet I'll call the most left Wing republican in Congress a right wing extremist beholden to the tea party. I will loudly call for Republicans to move to the center because they are so extreme, yet I will urge Obama to ignore them and push farther left

Posted by: I am the 99% at November 30, 2011 09:00 AM (yt5iO)

23 OT:  The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

This administration is transparent as shit.

Posted by: Dang at November 30, 2011 09:00 AM (BbX1b)

24 Maybe 'the center' isn't a center. Maybe it's just halfway to the left.

Posted by: t-bird at November 30, 2011 09:00 AM (FcR7P)

25

@ 19 where in the map is the state of Johnson?!

It's the 54th state of the union, remember?

Posted by: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus at November 30, 2011 09:00 AM (+inic)

26 Wow this is rough. I love Sowell, and I very much like Medved... I think it's difficult to put up Reagan as the exemplar because if we actually had a Reagan running, no one would debate, we'd just accept him. But we don't. We have a pretty lousy field, so we need to think about electability, and part of that consideration is how the candidate will carry some of the center. The center, also, is stupid, doesn't follow elections, and vote by emotion. Further, Medved has often said that he prefers a candidate with hard right principles, but who speaks in a moderate tone as to not frighten voters. A final consideration - given that the nature of reporting on politics has progressed through technology into something we've never seen before, how quickly can we apply lessons from previous ages when this wasn't the case?

Posted by: soopermexican at November 30, 2011 09:01 AM (eFxRh)

27 I detest Medved. It's not just his mushy middle pandering that makes him unlistenable, it's his nasal, smug, "lady voice". He comes on after Rush, and I am always running to turn off the radio before his gay, whiny tones permeate the room.

Posted by: runningrn at November 30, 2011 01:59 PM (u/RSM)

what pisses me off is his quick to be defeated attitude

add to that his flip-flopping. In 2008 Romney was unelectable and McCain was the hero, now in 2012 we must have Romney. WTF?!

Posted by: AuthorLMendez Wants oZfic Gone Whether The Co-Bloggers Like It or Not at November 30, 2011 09:01 AM (yAor6)

28 I also hate how Medved is always saying how smart Obama is and what an amazing speaker he is. SCOMF!!

Posted by: runningrn at November 30, 2011 09:01 AM (u/RSM)

29

It's for the Children:  It's going to be a traffic nightmare today as President Barack Hussien Obama (MMMMM....MMMMMM.....MMMMMM) is in NYC for three fundraisers, coinciding with the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Obama is landing at JFK around 5 p.m., choppering in Marine One to Wall Street, and then attending three events in Greenwich Village, the Upper East Side, and West Midtown. Each neighborhood will be subject to a traffic freeze while the President is on the move. Plus, the area around Rockefeller Center will begin to be shut down around 4 p.m. for the tree lighting at 7 p.m.

Posted by: Wall-E at November 30, 2011 09:02 AM (48wze)

30

I've said it before, and I will say it again - the "middle" does not respond to ideology, they respond to leadership.  Mean what you say, and say what you mean, and they will vote for you, even if you're way to the Right of the general population.

Jim DeMint would cream Obama, whereas Romney would get trounced.

Posted by: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus at November 30, 2011 09:02 AM (+inic)

31 Medved is pratically my self-loathing conservative brother

Posted by: AuthorLMendez Wants oZfic Gone Whether The Co-Bloggers Like It or Not at November 30, 2011 09:02 AM (yAor6)

32
Indifferent Candidate 2012!

Posted by: Soothsayer Medved at November 30, 2011 09:02 AM (sqkOB)

33 You win by inspiring people- people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Moderates by their very definition do not do that. You get guys like Dole, McCain and Romney- no passion, no overarching themes of what they want to do- they just wanted to be President. So it's a soulless endeavor- a risky bet, even with the worst President evah.

Posted by: jjshaka at November 30, 2011 09:03 AM (8g5xG)

34
Indifference '12
You're All Right

.

Posted by: Soothsayer Medved at November 30, 2011 09:03 AM (sqkOB)

35 Again, Sowell speaks the truth.

Posted by: logprof at November 30, 2011 09:03 AM (P1nni)

36
Indifference '12
I'm On Your Side

.

Posted by: Soothsayer Medved at November 30, 2011 09:04 AM (sqkOB)

37 The futility of banking on "centrist" third parties - a response to Ron Fournier's drivel in the National Journal a few days ago, that dealt with this topic somewhat.

Posted by: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus at November 30, 2011 09:04 AM (+inic)

38 "It was such an honor to have first lady Michelle Obama dine at Co Co. Sala last night. What an exciting and humbling experience!"

Posted by: Wall-E at November 30, 2011 01:53 PM (48wze)


--He's also gotta love the bottomless expense account, paid for by us.

Posted by: logprof at November 30, 2011 09:04 AM (P1nni)

39 >>> Talk show host Michael Medved, for example, apparently thinks the Republicans need a centrist presidential candidate in 2012.

When, as a conservative, Thomas Sowell takes you to task by name in his column, you are having a really bad day.

I would love to hear what Medved has to say about this.  I get annoyed by him.... way too much realpolitik mixed with condescension for those who disagree

Posted by: dan-O at November 30, 2011 09:05 AM (sWycd)

40 Great post, rdbrewer. That last sentence is spot-on.

Posted by: Elmo at November 30, 2011 09:05 AM (PLHIl)

41
You all make great points. Let's just flip a coin to settle it.

Posted by: Soothsayer Medved at November 30, 2011 09:05 AM (sqkOB)

42 7 Seizing the center of a pie at Thanksgiving almost always works.  It's all yours after that.

Posted by: dfbaskwill at November 30, 2011 01:55 PM (71LDo)


No way, it's the whole pie or nothing lolololol

Posted by: Meghan McCheese at November 30, 2011 09:05 AM (P1nni)

43 Obama is landing at JFK around 5 p.m., choppering in Marine One to Wall Street The Occupooer in Chief? Dammit, we just had those sidewalks cleaned...

Posted by: Wall Street at November 30, 2011 09:06 AM (FcR7P)

44 34
Indifference '12
Meh

Posted by: real joe at November 30, 2011 09:06 AM (pCnLC)

45 I don't even think Medved does a good job reviewing movies. How did that man ever get a gig in radio?

Posted by: runningrn at November 30, 2011 09:06 AM (u/RSM)

46

I think Medved enjoys disagreeing w/ the base

Posted by: AuthorLMendez Wants oZfic Gone Whether The Co-Bloggers Like It or Not at November 30, 2011 09:06 AM (yAor6)

47 Most Republican Candidates when trying to "Seize the center" usually alienate their base. 


Posted by: Dave C at November 30, 2011 09:06 AM (+Pz52)

48

Posted by: runningrn at November 30, 2011 02:06 PM (u/RSM)

Medved's movie reviews are usually based on how Family Friendly the movie is

Posted by: AuthorLMendez Wants oZfic Gone Whether The Co-Bloggers Like It or Not at November 30, 2011 09:07 AM (yAor6)

49
Indifference '12
If That's Okay With You

.

Posted by: Soothsayer Medved at November 30, 2011 09:07 AM (sqkOB)

50

I hate to be the bearer of bad news (o.k...not really. I have teenage kids...so I am kind of used to it) but there is not one thing that results in an election win. Lots of "centerist" candidates have lost, lots of centerist candidates have won, lots of conservative candidates have won and lost.

Politics and campaigns are about the 3 Ms: Message, Money and Machine.

First, you need a message. Not a 59 point plan. But a core belief that will govern how you conduct yourself in office. Reagan had that, W had that McCain did not. It doesn't have to be a catchy jingle - or 9-9-9 would be winning the day. But it has to be something that people can A) understand and B) appreciate.

Second, once the message is delivered, and it works, you need the money. But it is hard to raise the money without a message. Politics is like any other commerical undertaking.....very few people will willing and knowingly buy crap.

Third, you need the machine. Or a reasonable GOTV effort.

Yes, the large theories of politics are fun, easy to debate and make us feel smarter. It just, that in the end, they usually don't work. The 3 Ms do.

Posted by: Mallamutt, RINO President for Life at November 30, 2011 09:07 AM (OWjjx)

51 The problem with the center is that it's full of centrists.

Posted by: Empire of Jeff at November 30, 2011 09:08 AM (PLHIl)

52 The problem with the center is that it's full of centrists.

*Golf clap*

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) says 'No' to RINO Romney at November 30, 2011 09:08 AM (8y9MW)

53

The problem with the center is that it's full of centrists.

My problem with the center: its empty.

Posted by: Donut at November 30, 2011 09:09 AM (OWjjx)

54 I haven't listened to medved in two years.... Mostly because he was on at the same time as beck.... Has he really declined? That's too bad.....

Posted by: Phoenixgirl (oZfic) is cat piss at November 30, 2011 09:09 AM (V/4CK)

55 Seizing the center is like seizing the low ground.

Posted by: t-bird at November 30, 2011 09:10 AM (FcR7P)

56
Indifference/Ambivalence '12
We Aim To Please

.

Posted by: Soothsayer Medved at November 30, 2011 09:11 AM (sqkOB)

57

@ 51 The problem with the center is that it's full of centrists.

The political center is a lot like the Episcopalians.

You know the old saw about the Episcopalians - they're like the Catholics, but without the congregation?

The political center is like the Left, but without the voters.

Posted by: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus at November 30, 2011 09:12 AM (+inic)

58 24 Maybe 'the center' isn't a center. Maybe it's just halfway to the left.

Posted by: t-bird at November 30, 2011 02:00 PM (FcR7P)

True. I contend that the "center" has been moved far enough to the left that people who are called centrists now are just rebadged liberals. Thats how Mitt gets to call his red ass Republican. It is also why I am now called an extreme right winger, as is the Teaparty.

Posted by: maddogg at November 30, 2011 09:12 AM (OlN4e)

59
You're missing the genius in Medved's theory.

Who else is more attractive to Undecideds than a candidate who is always undecided?

Posted by: Soothsayer Medved at November 30, 2011 09:12 AM (sqkOB)

60 Undecided? Don't know enough or care enough to form an opinion? Vote for us! We don't stand for anything and you can be part of it!

Posted by: Seizing The Center at November 30, 2011 09:12 AM (FcR7P)

61 Vote for me! Because I don't give a fuck.

Posted by: honey badger at November 30, 2011 09:14 AM (OlN4e)

62 For what it's worth, Dewey lost because there was a downturn in farm prices in 1948, and that cost him a couple of key Midwestern states that would have put him over the top.  Truman also got lucky that the two splinter Dem segments (the Dixiecrats and the pro-Soviet Progressives) underperformed compared to what they could have done.  I think 1948 is too long ago to have relevance to 2012.

Posted by: Chris P at November 30, 2011 09:14 AM (LuvqF)

63 For what it's worth, Dewey lost because there was a downturn in farm prices in 1948, and that cost him a couple of key Midwestern states that would have put him over the top.  Truman also got lucky that the two splinter Dem segments (the Dixiecrats and the pro-Soviet Progressives) underperformed compared to what they could have done.  I think 1948 is too long ago to have relevance to 2012.

Posted by: Chris P at November 30, 2011 02:14 PM (LuvqF)

id also add Truman actually had a good economy in 1948

Posted by: AuthorLMendez Wants oZfic Gone Whether The Co-Bloggers Like It or Not at November 30, 2011 09:15 AM (yAor6)

64 But just when did Ronald Reagan, with his two landslide election victories, "seize the center"?

I must disagree for once with Prof. Sowell. 
It wasn't that Reagan was a rightist, it was that Carter was so far left that he lost the center.  Big difference. 

Posted by: pep at November 30, 2011 09:15 AM (6TB1Z)

65 I also hate how Medved is always saying how smart Obama is and what an amazing speaker he is. SCOMF!!
Posted by: runningrn

That's what I fucking HATE!  What easily refutable bullcrap.  You can look it all up in a book they have in the English Embassy.  ( They're in all 57 States. ) But I think it might be written in Austrian.

Posted by: Dang at November 30, 2011 09:16 AM (BbX1b)

66 I've never liked Medved. He's always been a hardcore GOP shill. Whatever the president or senate leader is doing, bet your ass he's all for it.

Posted by: Entropy at November 30, 2011 09:16 AM (UmXRO)

67

I do want the center to vote for us, I do want the indys (there not fake, theyre very real Vic) , but we cant compromise our principles as well as Medved is willing to do each and every time we're in a big battle

Posted by: AuthorLMendez Has App Become Co-Bloggers Enemy #1 at November 30, 2011 09:18 AM (yAor6)

68 @25@ 19 where in the map is the state of Johnson?!

It's the 54th state of the union, remember?

They are a leading supplier of outboards and bratwurst, and the capitol is that place where all the children eat their vegetables and every night is a summer music and beer festival.

Posted by: kurtilator at November 30, 2011 09:19 AM (juh4Z)

69 I have a friend who is the squishy middle. Since he's a registered Independent, he can't vote in WA primaries. During the last election he wore a McCain/Palin on the right side of his chest, and an Obama/Biden on the left. He said "I feel strongly both ways". I am pretty sure he ended up voting for Obama, and now he absolutely cannot stand him.

Posted by: runningrn at November 30, 2011 09:19 AM (u/RSM)

70 All the children declaring that "we conservatives" would just accept Reagan were obviously born after 1980.
He was the "not Carter", and we ended up being pleasantly surprised.
Most people bought into the "Bedtime for Bonzo" bullshit.

Posted by: jwb7605 at November 30, 2011 09:20 AM (+KHIt)

71

During the last election he wore a McCain/Palin on the right side of his chest, and an Obama/Biden on the left. He said "I feel strongly both ways".

sounds like the ones I know. Then they declare themselves superior to both parties, ugh

Posted by: AuthorLMendez Has App Become Co-Bloggers Enemy #1 at November 30, 2011 09:20 AM (yAor6)

72 Chasing the middle is folly. The better strategy is--and has always been--to bring the middle to us by the strength of our ideas and the force of our principles. Objective truth is on our side. However, I disagree the Bush's did the 'kinder, gentler' shtick as a campaign ploy. While I doubt George H. W. Bush gave much thought to domestic policy unless there was a riot--he was strictly a foreign policy president--Bush the younger genuinely believed in what he called compassionate conservativism. Both were moderate Republicans by inclination. It's also important to note the Bush Family represents the best of the powerful, monied Eastern Establishment, with its long and now-fading tradition of classical civic virtue: you give back, you serve your country, you help the poor. They promoted compassionate conservativism because they believed in it, they practiced it.

Posted by: troyriser at November 30, 2011 09:21 AM (vtiE6)

73

LOL, hilarious post.  Earth to wingnuts: Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter and Nixon all won by seizing the middle.  Those just happen to be the most recent seven presidents who were elected to their terms.  Reagan seized the middle when he agreed to hike taxes to shore up Social Security.  When he initially ran against Carter he seized the middle by running against Carter's record.  The notion of Reagan being this arch conservative pied piper is nothing but revisionist mental masturbation on the part of cocooned conservatives. 

FYI, the most recent Republican presidential nominee who ran hard to the right was Barry Goldwater, and he only lost 44 states and 61% of the national vote.  Heh.  The Dewey - Truman analogy is silly.  That was over 60 years ago.  It was so long ago Gingrich hadn't even gotten his 1st divorce.  Plus Truman was the incumbent.  Incumbents are supposed to win reelection. 

The tail ends of the bell curve don't flip elections.  They're decided by the middle.  Sharron Angle, anyone?  LOL.

Consider this a public service announcement.  But by all means don't listen.  Keep pushing back against those RINOs and against the liberal media.  Don't let them boss you around.  Send your messages.  Prove your points.  Nominate a true conservative.  Like Cain.  Or Bachmann.  Or Gingrich 2.0.  LOL.  Make our day.

See you at Barack's 2nd inauguration.  Chow.     

Posted by: David Axelrod at November 30, 2011 09:21 AM (f8XyF)

74 64,

That is accurate.  The economic recovery after the post-war recession began in 1947, and was just becoming "real" to the typical American during the '48 campaign.  But farm prices were depressed after the end of the artificially inflated prices of wartime. 

Truman got lucky that the Dixiecrats didn't break out of the really, really racist Southern vote.  And by that, I mean voters who were single issue segregationist voters, mostly whites who lived in black majority areas.  Even though pretty much everyone was racist back then, most other Southerners weren't single issue race voters.  Twenty years later, Wallace did break out of the hardcore race vote and appealed to Jacksonian Dems.  That sort of performance would have wiped out Truman.

Posted by: Chris P at November 30, 2011 09:21 AM (LuvqF)

75 71 During the last election he wore a McCain/Palin on the right side of his chest, and an Obama/Biden on the left. He said "I feel strongly both ways". sounds like the ones I know. Then they declare themselves superior to both parties, ugh He was kidding around, I think. Well, he certainly isn't laughing now!

Posted by: runningrn at November 30, 2011 09:22 AM (u/RSM)

76 Sean Trende has an interesting analysis at HA today.  Key graph:

In other words, Obama doesn’t just have some “tidying up” to do among various white groups. He has to either improve his image there by about a point a month over the next 11 months, or hope for a Republican nominee so unacceptable to the overall populace that Obama can convince a substantial number of voters who disapprove of him to nevertheless cast ballots for him. Right now, the latter looks much more likely than the former.

And, IMHO, Gingrich would be exactly that sort of unacceptable candidate. 

Posted by: pep at November 30, 2011 09:22 AM (6TB1Z)

77 People want to elect a leader and you can't lead from the center.  Someone in the center can only react to what's coming from the left and the right.  It's like asking someone to pick a number between... (???) and (???)  They need those two numbers before they can give you a number.  And until you say "between one and ten" or "one and 100" they are lost.

Posted by: Dang at November 30, 2011 09:25 AM (BbX1b)

78

For what it's worth...I am not compromising my values or principles to go to the goddamned center. The more the GOP compromised the less we got. Character counted with Reagan, and so far, no one in the running measures up. The Tea Party thinkers are done with the bullshit, at least I am.

DC is a culture built on power not serving. The media makes it sound all rainbows and gumdrops that we have stuffed cheap money in the pot, when in fact it prolongs the inevitable and no one in Washington appears to be paying attention.

Even though a new bill introduced to cut all congressional pensions won't get far, I promise you, I'd vote for the two guys who sponosred it. That might make those good for nothing bastards and bitches sit up and take notice. Term limits might get a look because then you only get those who really want the job and not the culture of perks.

Posted by: defensusa at November 30, 2011 09:26 AM (S0aj8)

79

Most political battles are won by seizing the center.

----

I always took that to mean that you have to get the center to vote with you to form the winning majority.

 

You don't have to move towards them, just convince them to come along for the ride. Perhaps capture would be a better word. 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Buzzsaw90 at November 30, 2011 09:28 AM (SO2Q8)

80 Even though Medved can be great on the radio, especially when he's smacking down some kook conspiracy theorist, I just can't listen to him anymore. To people like Medved it's as though the 2010 elections didn't happen.

Posted by: Paul Zummo at November 30, 2011 09:33 AM (IGkEP)

81 Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

That was as good and well researched a response to Medved's argument as any news article is likely to be. Better in fact.


Posted by: kdny at November 30, 2011 09:34 AM (SrCor)

82 That was as good and well researched a response to Medved's argument as any news article is likely to be. Better in fact.

Seconded.

Posted by: rdbrewer at November 30, 2011 09:36 AM (hzd+G)

83 Breaking News from the most Brilliant person to ever walk the earth...Barrack Hussien Obama...MMMM.......MMMMMM.......MMMMMM. " I support the closing of the "ENGLISH Embassy" in Iran. Well at least he is 50/50. He didn't call Iran the "Persian Empire". I wish I was as smart as the Savior....NOT! Oh and also...Bush is an IDIOT!

Posted by: Wall-E at November 30, 2011 09:36 AM (48wze)

84 where in the map is the state of Johnson?!

Turtling up after a thorough beating.

Wait, what?

Posted by: The Guy who wants More Dick Jokes at November 30, 2011 09:38 AM (1kXSm)

85 They promoted compassionate conservativism because they believed in it, they practiced it. Posted by: troyriser

And it could've worked too except for those danged Democrats #$%^&*

Posted by: DaveA at November 30, 2011 09:41 AM (1kXSm)

86

Bin Laden was right, Satan damn his soul.

People like a strong horse. Especially when the other side is a weak horse's ass.

Posted by: Roy at November 30, 2011 09:42 AM (VndSC)

87 BTW, these former Bush employees?  They're playing right into the hands of liberal Democrats.

Posted by: rdbrewer at November 30, 2011 09:42 AM (hzd+G)

88

>>>The notion of Reagan being this arch conservative pied piper is nothing but revisionist mental masturbation on the part of cocooned conservatives.

Alas, there is some truth to this. But Reagan did run against the old establishment GOP, so you couldn't begin to call him a Rockefeller Republican.

Reagan won the center mostly because the center is full of dipshits. They knew him and were comfortable with him. Women thought he was attractive, and to dipshits this matters.

Reagan swayed a lot of Donks with his Morning in America crap, his sunny outlook. Can't see that happening with this crew.

But we sure dodged a bullet with that Sarah Palin, didn't we?

Posted by: spongeworthy at November 30, 2011 09:44 AM (puy4B)

89 And that is why you are going to love me. I've never backed down on my support for state-run healthcare, never have, never will.

Posted by: Mitt Romney at November 30, 2011 09:44 AM (ycMO4)

90 Question is: How defensive will the Romneybots react to this post?

Posted by: Elize Nayden, Newtist at November 30, 2011 09:46 AM (97AKa)

91 I have no interest in voting for a "centrist", but I think wildly popular, grandfatherly "Ike" did pretty much exactly that.  In fact, he was pursued as a candidate by both parties before choosing to run as a Republican.  Of course, I'm not so sure Stevenson was really a hardcore advocate of much of anything - was almost more like two centrists - with the War Hero having the easy downhill run.

Posted by: Roger at November 30, 2011 09:53 AM (tAwhy)

92 Histories Greatest Moderates:






I got nothin

Posted by: Unclefacts Out Of Commenting Retirement Just For This One Thing at November 30, 2011 10:05 AM (6IReR)

93 Reagan won by persuasion.  He convinced the swing voters and middle-of-the-roaders to give a different approach to financing government a chance.  He stood for traditional American values and strength abroad, a position which had been a bipartisan standard since at least WWII but was being undermined by the McGovernite hippy douchebag left as it took over the Democratic Party.

For decades, Democrats attempted to hide their leftist hearts and run as centrists.  Finally, after a generation had been brainwashed by federally controlled and union-dominated public schools, they embraced their inner communists and haven't been so desperate to hide it.  But Obama didn't win on the big socialist ideas; he won because there was an economic crisis and a long war of which the public was weary - as well as the typical disgust with a two-term President at the end of his second.  Vague and vacuous was his campaign of "hopey changey stuff" until elected, when he reverted to form, having been the most liberal member of the US Senate, as well as amassing the worst attendance record.

But Reagan appealed to common sense and tradition, and attracted the middle to him.  That's how he won.

Who won by seizing the center?  Most did.  Ike did.  JFK fought hard for it and eked out a squeaker.  LBJ let Goldwater be Goldwater on the right.  Nixon won the center, Carter beat Ford for it, Reagan attracted it, Bush the Elder pushed Dukakis to his left.  Clinton won the center. Dubya won the center.  Obama won the center. 

Thomas Sowell has given us some great insight, but he is getting old and senile if he thinks anyone wins without the center in modern American national politics.

Posted by: Adjoran at November 30, 2011 10:14 AM (VfmLu)

94

Is there any other kind of left than 'hippy douchebag' left?

 

I think not.

Posted by: model_1066 at November 30, 2011 10:37 AM (YbQJm)

95

Hey Medved, can you name anyone that fit your model 'centrist' better than John McVain? And that wasn't even 50 years ago to prove your theory wrong. You Ned Flanders looking freak.

Posted by: Schwalbe : The Me-262 at November 30, 2011 10:39 AM (UU0OF)

96 The bipartisan compromisers are not in the political center. Anyone who thinks they are isn't using the right map. This is a better map: http://cobslog.blogspot.com/2011/11/back-to-left-vs-right.html

Posted by: The COB at November 30, 2011 10:42 AM (m2AqP)

97 Medved is an apologist for Roman Polanski.  They should both eat glass and die slowly.

Posted by: Otis B. Driftwood at November 30, 2011 11:27 AM (ymovd)

98 I wasn't aware that FDR was elected in the last 50 years.

Posted by: Chuckit at November 30, 2011 11:51 AM (v0gZl)

99 Obama is a stuttering clusterf*ck of a miserable failure.

Posted by: steevy at November 30, 2011 12:34 PM (7WJOC)

100 Just checked. Yep, Romney still sux.

Posted by: Live Free Or Die at November 30, 2011 12:57 PM (2UR//)

101 So you are saying that we should vote for Ron Paul?

Posted by: Texan Economist at November 30, 2011 01:09 PM (Mr52M)

102 Sad to compete with the piping ads, but I recall a great Reagan line, when asked if he might moderate his views to accomodate independent voters who may have voted for him:  "No, when someone votes for me, I haven't bought his philosophy-- he's bought mine."  And they did, to the tune of 2 national landslides.

Posted by: JewishOdysseus at November 30, 2011 06:41 PM (PYxvn)

103 Bush Senior and Junior/co have been trying to push GOP should be centrist line

Posted by: 4rc at November 30, 2011 07:57 PM (/qJmo)

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