The punditry classes on the left and the right decry the increasing partisanship in America. It is indisputable that there is such a thing. The “far right” is routinely targeted by our Democrat activists with bylines (the mainstream media) as the raison d’être for every ill in America while it ignores the similar rise of the “far left”. The political successes of Bill de Blasio (Warren Wilhelm, Jr. D-Sandinista) in New York and the near beatification of Elizabeth “Fauxcohontas” Warren ( mother of Occupy Wall Street) combined with many in the Democrat Party who think Hillary Clinton (the surrogate mother of Obamacare) isn’t left enough indicates the Democrat lurch to the left is real.
The Tea Party caucus is often targeted as a small group of legislators who hold the majority of the “moderates” in the GOP hostage. I don’t really know what group corresponds to the Tea Party for the Democrats. There are so many pressure groups in the Democrat coalition, there seems to be a different cause du jour – from the Congressional Black Caucus to the whiter than whitey white Occupy Wall Street “movement”. I don’t think there will ever be a Tea Party on the left because where the Tea Party believes and holds to conservative principles, the Dem factions are generally so unburdened by principle, as long as it whatever it is equates to more collectivism and more government, they will reliably vote for it – and do so without question.
The conventional wisdom held by the political intelligentsia on both sides is that as the two major parties have become more “extreme”, the “middle” has grown in size and importance. It is now an article of faith that to win national elections one must win the “middle” – with the middle being the so-called “independents” and “moderates”. The increase in hardened partisanship is offered up as the cause of this increase in population of the mushy middle – but what if it isn’t? What if the partisanship is really a consequence of both political parties fear of leadership? What if the parties are wrong in holding to ideas that to “win the middle”, they have to moderate, tone down, parse, evade, lie and generally market themselves and their beliefs as inoffensively and milquetoast as possible in order to get elected?
There seems to be much evidence that an increase in partisanship is a result of a larger percentage of people who are unhappy with the lack of principled leadership evidenced by both sides. People are sick of politicians saying what they need to say to get elected and then governing in different manner. It is a sad commentary that there is no shock when a politician is ensnared in a scandal – we actually expect our elected leaders to be dishonest because we believe that is the way Washington works. Only in an environment like this could people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, two people totally devoid of accomplishment and character, be elected to two terms or be viewed as a legitimate candidate for president by their party.
Partisanship is a consequence, not a cause.
In business, there is something known as the “first mover advantage”. Investopedia defines this as ”a form of competitive advantage that a company earns by being the first to enter a specific market or industry. Being the first allows a company to acquire superior brand recognition and customer loyalty. The company also has more time to perfect its product or service.” The same is true in politics.
Perhaps the best example of the first mover advantage was the election and subsequent landslide reelection of Ronald Reagan. Reagan was once known as an “extremist” – just as Ted Cruz is known today.
The question remains if the GOP will present the leader the “middle” of America appears ready for or will they bow to the conventional wisdom of Karl Rove and his establishment acolytes and select a “moderate”? Will they take the risk or continue to play it safe? With the weakness in the Democrat field it seems that 2016 is the year to strike. I mean look at the opposition – Hillary is past her sell-by date, Biden is a perverted circus clown, O’Malley is a tax and spend governer from a blue state, Cuomo is mired in scandal… and Linc Chafee? Really? Former “moderate” Republican Linc Chafee?
The sooner the GOP recognizes that an increasing middle isn’t caused by an increase of partisanship, increased partisanship is a consequence of the rise of a disaffected middle hungry for leadership, the faster it can build an enduring tradition of leadership and America can reclaim its rightful place as the shining city on the hill.