Do these people REALLY believe what they’re saying?

One of the biggest myths (okay, okay, one of the biggest LIES) being fobbed of by the Right in our modern political discussion is the “fact” that America is, as they put it, a “Right-of-center” nation.

How this horseshit ever even gained credence is beyond me. Probably one of THE biggest points against this idea has to be the last presidential election. Barak Obama is painted as everything from a left-leaning member of a left-of-center party to an out-and-out Communist……and he not only wins, he wins EASILY! No doubt some on the Right will suggest that Obama was the beneficiary of people’s desire to be part of a “historical first”: the election of the first non-white to the highest office of the nation. But does that really answer everything that happened in 2008? No, because not only does Obama win, he carries in a health majority for his party. This is difficult, if not impossible, to explain if you honestly buy the idea of ‘America: Home of the Right’.

The truth of the matter is a lot simpler: America is the home of the “What’s in it for me?” voter. The noise in politics is made up of the outer edge of the political spectrum, while the vast majority resides in the center, watching that outer edge. They’re waiting to see which side is going to offer them the best deal, the next Big Idea, and when things go wrong, the best explanation for What Went Wrong and How It Can Be Fixed. For a while, the Right was making headway in painting the discussion over health care reform as a struggle between “individual freedom” versus “overbearing Big Government”, that was interested in “taking away” what they define as “the best health care system in the world”. They made the case that they were the ones who would offer that vast center the better deal by keeping things the way they were. Mind you, most of those in the center are smart enough to know that “the way things are now” equals “pretty fucked up”, but they were hearing how change would make things worse and that was enough.

The problem for the Right is that the world didn’t end with the passage of the health care reform legislation. Hospitals didn’t close. Doctors didn’t run to other occupations. Drug companies didn’t start shuttering their facilities. In short, hey, things aren’t any worse than they were! That’s when things started going the wrong way for the Right. When “Armageddon” didn’t happen, when things kept perking along like they always had, and worse, there was a chance that quite a few in that center might benefit, the polls started shifting. Even at the height of the shouting matches, the anti-health care reform folks could claim a slight majority, but nowadays that’s gone. Things have already shifted back to a near-even split and the people in favor of changing things have only had a couple of weeks to start showing what the center might gain from reform. With large portions of the health care reform legislation due to kick in before the end of the year, it seems unlikely that the screaming heads of the Right are going to find their audiences growing.

No, far more likely is what is happening in the Senate race to fill Barak Obama’s former Senate seat in Illinois. US Representative Mark Kirk, a member of that near-extinct species, the moderate Republican, started out stampeding to the Right. He was one of the ‘loud and long’ crowd, vowing that he’d make it one if his top missions to repeal the bill. Then he started hearing from the people of Illinois. They not only didn’t fear the bill, they liked it! Not too long after that there was a sudden shift in the wind and Rep. Kirk became far less strident in his support for the “kill the bill” crowd. I will venture a prediction that, despite the pledges they’re now making, a lot of the most vocal legislative protesters against health care reform are going to get quiet too…..or they just might find out what unemployment feels like. Just remember, the center wants the better deal, and the voice that protests the loudest against that is the one most likely to draw their ire.

Just a warning, folks on the Right.

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