July 02, 2003

Will the Country be Pulled Left?

Ramesh Ponnuru is concerned:

Conservative and Republican interests converge quite frequently, but not entirely. The resurgence of the Democratic Left is one of the places where they don't. It is something that would indeed help the Republican party, but not the conservative cause.

One of the reasons that parties benefit when the other party becomes extreme is that it allows it to hug the center. But if Republicans are moving to the center and Democrats to the left, that means both parties are moving leftward-that the center of gravity of American politics is moving leftward. Isn't that, too, part of the story of 1972?

One reader of Ponnuru's piece responds that the model might not be '72 but '64 (and could thus yield a reverse Great Society); the same reader also speculates that Dean may be able to move closer to the center in the general election. That may be partially true, but he's dug in rather deep on taxes and foreign policy.

In any case, Dean's success may be a misleading indicator of the Democrats' movement, as I discussed yesterday. And Dean hasn't won anything yet; there are plenty in the Democratic establishment, worried about marginal races elsewhere on the ballot, who don't want Dean to be the nominee. Expect an attack from the gun lobby, for starters, for his mild challenge to their orthodoxy.

Posted by John Tabin at July 2, 2003 06:03 PM