No Surprise: Republicans Moving To Far Right While Democrats Moving Towards Middle

The Republican Party has moved to the far right in recent years–far to the right of Barry Goldwater and even Ronald Reagan–while the Democrats have moved towards the middle. The voteview blog has analyzed recent presidents and the result is exactly what we already knew:

Our findings here echo those discussed in a prior post that Republicans have moved further to the right than Democrats to the left in the contemporary period. Indeed, as seen below, President Obama is the most moderate Democratic president since the end of World War II, while President George W. Bush was the most conservative president in the post-war era.

On the other hand, in many ways Obama has had success at passing liberal polices in some areas where other Democratic presidents have failed. This success might be partially because of his moderation, and that a more liberal Democrat might have had fewer successes.

Gingrich vs. His Imaginary Elites

Newt Gingrich talks of being a historian, but like most conservative “thought leaders,” he tends to get most of his facts wrong. Responding to Gingrich’s statements often seems a waste of time because, beside the repulsive moral code he promotes, he bases his arguments on premises which are out of touch with reality. Besides, it is questionable as to how long he will remain a meaningful candidate.

Ben Adler has a theory that Gingrich gets his facts wrong because, “Gingrich still seems to live in the last decade that he was relevant: the 1990s.” This theory works for Ben’s current post. I bet that he wouldn’t argue with my belief that, while this might be somewhat accurate in the example Ben discussed, there are also many other statements from Gingrich which have never been true, at least in our reality. Maybe there is some alternative universe out there  in which Gingrich sometimes gets history right.

I have never lived in New York, but simply taking occasional trips there and following the reality-based media which Gingrich seems to avoid, it was clear that Gingrich’s latest attack on Manhattan elites was factually wrong. Ben Adler explained:

On Friday he reiterated his hatred of people who live a more environmentally efficient lifestyle. Speaking in Las Vegas ahead of the Nevada caucus, a contest he is sure to lose, Gingrich attacked “elites” in Manhattan who live in high rises and “ride the subway.”

This is the perfect distillation of Gingrichism on many levels. First it shows the stupidity and ignorance of a man Republicans praise for his intelligence and knowledge. Riding the subway is much cheaper than owning, maintaining and driving a car. The truly rich in New York take cabs, car services or drive more often than the poor. Not everyone in Manhattan, or in a high-rise, is an elite: Gingrich has apparently never ventured north of 96th Street and seen who lives in the high-rise projects in Harlem.

Gingrich still seems to live in the last decade that he was relevant: the 1990s. Back then his despised media elites mostly lived in Manhattan. (Of the ones who live in the city. Plenty of them live in the suburbs and it’s unclear whether Gingrich thinks that makes them real Americans.)

Now, journalists and other underpaid urban professionals increasingly live in Brooklyn and Queens, but Gingrich’s demagoguery is behind the times. It’s also outdated because the reason writers have been largely pushed out of Manhattan is the influx of ever-wealthier bankers, the sort of people Gingrich says we should worship as job creators. It’s time for Gingrich to start loving Manhattan instead of hating it. Then again, some of the financiers work for private equity firms, and since Gingrich is running against a private equity executive, he has decided that those capitalists are inherently different and worse than all others.

Check out the full post for Adler’s suggestions as to future elites which Gingrich might attack.

How about elite disgraced former members of Congress who are backed by wealthy benefactors enabling them to run for president? With all his attacks on elites, Gingrich is an elite even if not elite (or sane) enough to ever get elected president.

Gingrich has scheduled a press conference for tonight, after the Nevada caucus which he is expected to lose. This has led to speculation that he might be withdrawing from the race. Following his threats to remain in the race until the end, I doubt this is the case unless his contributions are drying up. Perhaps this is a means of getting more coverage for attacks on Romney and an attempt to remain relevant until we reach southern primaries which might be more hospitable towards Gingrich. On the other hand, maybe we shouldn’t pay much attention to his past statements that he plans to remain in the race. Sticking to commitments has never been Gingrich’s strong point.