Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In response to a new Quinnipiac poll showing that teabag pinup Marco Rubio has erased formerly beloved right-centrist governor Charlie Crist's lead in the race for the GOP Senate nomination in Florida, Steve Benen writes:

... Daily Kos fielded a poll in late November and found that Crist would be in a very strong position to win the Senate seat -- if he switches parties and runs as a Democrat. It prompted Markos to conclude that Crist's "cleanest path to a Senate seat" is "switching parties and making an earnest transition on the issues."

It's doubtful that Crist would make the switch (as Steve notes, he's been tacking to the right, to salvage this race) -- but doesn't the fact that he could switch very credibly, along with the current news of Obama's Hooverite spending freeze, suggest the logical future of the two-party system in America: an old-style Republican Party and a Tea Party Party?

You'll say that's where we are already. I understand. But I'm imagining a future in which candidates of the "left" party don't even pretend to be neo-New Dealers at campaign time -- they just talk the way Crist talked until he tried to go wingnut; they talk the way Clinton governed (or Bloomberg governs, or Schwarzenegger governs).

It's clear that liberalism is unwelcome in our governance. I just wonder why it even persists in our political rhetoric. I suppose it's because a few of us throwbacks still hope for it. Older voters have fond memories of it. Popular programs like Medicare and Social Security have liberal roots. But I wonder if we'll get to the point where even talking liberal is beyond the pale, the way communism is beyond the pale in our political culture, and right-centrism will be the left edge of our political discourse.

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