White House’s Move to “the Center” Ignores the Lessons of 2004
The advisers are deeply concerned about winning back political independents, who supported Obama two years ago by an eight-point margin but backed Republicans for the House this year by 19 points. To do so, they think he must forge partnerships with Republicans on key issues and make noticeable progress on his oft-repeated campaign pledge to change the ways of Washington.
Were these people in a collective coma during the 2004 election? John Kerry won independents and won self-identified moderates — and still lost the election.
Karl Rove’s insight was that the electorate has become so polarized that chasing “the middle” is a fool’s errand. Bush/Cheney won by delivering what the Republican base wanted: tax cuts, bombing/invading Muslim countries, and most importantly — keeping the gays in their place. And it worked.
For two years, the White House has pursued a strategy of trying to find the middle ground of every issue, and the result was a lot of watered-down policy and an ass-kicking at the polls.
Unless they get serious about motivating what’s left of the Democratic base — they are guaranteeing a wipeout in 2012.