Saturday, May 25, 2013

Democrats and Republicans: The Broad and Narrow Ways?

The prolific and often insightful Ezra Klein has a fascinating column on the simultaneous ideological shifts of the Republican's embrace of the far right and Democrat's acceptance of a broader range of policies. 
He cites policy positions once supported by the likes of President G. W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and John McCain as being given over to the Democrats. 

A couple of excerpts: 

"Over the last few years, the Republican Party has been retreating from policy ground they once held and salting the earth after them. This has coincided with, and perhaps even been driven by, the Democratic Party pushing into policy positions they once rejected as overly conservative. The result is that the range of policies you can hold and still be a Republican is much narrower than it was in, say, 2005. That’s left a lot of once-Republican wonks without an obvious political home."


"If you imagine a policy spectrum that goes from 1-10 in which 1 is the most liberal policy, 10 is the most conservative policy, and 5 is that middle zone that used to hold both moderate Democrats and Republicans, the basic shape of American politics today is that the Obama administration can and will get Democrats to agree to anything ranging from 1 to 7.5 and Republicans will reject anything that's not an 8, 9, or 10. The result, as I've written before, is that President Obama's record makes him look like a moderate Republican from the late-90s."

The political consequences of such a shift obviously do not work in the Republican's favor. If nothing else, electoral competitiveness demands that the pendulum begin shifting back from such an extreme position.

Read the entire article here.

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