Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Can't Believe It's Not Centrism!

Republicans have taken notice that Obama’s new “centrist” pivot seems to involve a lot of “investment”, i.e. more government spending.  What they don’t seem to realize is that swing voters probably won’t be able to tell the difference between real centrism and the fake stuff.

Please, GOP politicos, by all means try to convince the public that Obama’s additional spending is more of the same stuff that voters rejected in November.  But don’t be surprised when the public scoffs at our opposition as shallow partisanship.

You see, swing voters are not especially ideological. You might think this is an uncontroversial and uninteresting idea until you start to apply it.  I usually argue the “irrational independents” line from the position of supporting more conservative candidates instead of the empty-headed supposed moderates our party organizations often try to promote, but this knife cuts both ways. When we hear that Obama is attempting to shift to the center, we must remember that this shift needn’t be more than cosmetic in order to be effective. Obama’s “new” ideas  only need to pass a superficial test of sounding plausible to those voters who are least likely to have established ideas about the proper size and scope of government.

The public will see Obama talking about specific “investments” in particular things that they like, such as education and R&D.  The public will hear about business tax breaks recently enacted in the Great Tax Compromise. (Of course, they will not hear about Obama’s previously longstanding opposition to those ideas.)  The public will see Obama’s new corporatist “jobs” panel (or whatever they’re calling it) headed by sycophant CEO Jeff Immelt of General Electric. Obama is “pro-business”, you see!

You can criticize Obama’s policies, but you can’t do it from a perspective that even smells of ideology.  The swing voter will tune you out quicker than a “Best of Ashlee Simpson” video marathon.

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