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November 12th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Center-right is not the U.S., it is the GOP

Jennifer Donahue
NHIOP Political Director & Harvard IOP Fellow

The main Republican talking point coming out of the shock and awe election last week is that we are a "center-right country." Tell me then, how did Barack Obama get elected by an overwhelming electoral sweep and a decisive popular vote differential? How did the Democrats keep and grow control in Congress?

David Brooks outlined on Tuesday the split between the "reformists" and the "traditionalists" in the Republican party. The center-right tension exists within, not outside, the Republican party. With 51% of people polled saying they want to see a more activist government, the highest number since 1992, surely we are at least a center-center country right now.

A 2007 PEW center poll found that from 1994 till now, 12 percent more Americans feel the "government should care for those who can't care for themselves... even if it means greater debt."

As a political analyst, I like evidence. I like to describe what is, not what is "brandable". The idea that we are a "center-right" country is wishful spin, considering that we voted differently.


Filed under: 2008 Election • Jennifer Donahue
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are Republicans that exclude non-republicans and that has proven to be wrong way now and in the future.

    November 12, 2008 at 7:41 pm |
  2. Chuck Jones, Pittsburgh PA

    Anderson – Is anyone else annoyed with the fact that Sarah Palin is always on TV each day giving interviews to the same "Elite Media" which she heavily criticized during the campaign? I would like to hear more from McCain who was the front runner. He has gracefully conceited but SP is certainly soaking in every opportunity to stay in front of the cameras. I think that is very much like a DIVA and McCain’s camp was likely correct about her ambitions.

    November 12, 2008 at 7:00 pm |
  3. Marquis

    Very much a wishful spin look at the results of election day.America is center left.

    November 12, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  4. Rockford

    As a political analyst, I like evidence. I like to describe what is, not what is “brandable”. The idea that we are a “center-right” country is wishful spin, considering that we voted differently.

    Not on prop 8 in California!
    Also... as bad as Bush was this should have been 70/30... not 54/45

    Oh... I don't think the Republicans are in as bad a shape as we think... see Carter 76... or the first congress election after Clinton 92... where we are remains to be seen.

    November 12, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse NY

    How did gay marriage get banned in CA and other states that voted for Obama? How did affirmative action get overturned in several states? Obama got elected with 51% of the vote, but only 32.7% of those eligible to vote. Think about it. More than two-thirds of Americans who could have voted didn't vote for him. Don't read more into this than the fact that Obama ran against Bush and won. He had the advantage of a perfect storm in the economy. Don't play taps for conservatives yet.

    November 12, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  6. Cindy

    Umm...need it be said again! It was the economy stupid, OK along with the hate of all things Bush. If you go by the exit polls over 60% only voted for Obama because of those two things. They didn't care about him or his policies. They just wanted to punish the party in control at the time of this mess.

    Cindy...Ga.

    November 12, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  7. Sandra

    Obama ran his campaign in the center, acting very much like Reagan, but I fear he will run his presidency much more like Carter.

    November 12, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  8. Joy, Fort Gordon, Georgia

    I agree we are not a center right nation and I ask when were we ever a center right nation. I am a left winger as many other people that I know and we are part of this nation as well. The reality is that this nation is neither a center right or a center left it is just plain in the Center, because when it comes down to ideology and political affiliation this nation is pretty much evenly divided so we must work from the center to have an effective governement and working nation. It all just sounds like right wingers are trying to calm themselves about the ridiculious notion that there is going to be some radical liberal takeover of the nation, I personally would not mind, but it will not be a realistic way to run this country and Obama is smart enough to run the governement from the center.

    November 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |