Surviving In The Center

FirstRead delves into the question of the conservative movement's direction:
One of the more profound changes in American politics is how much more conservative the nominees inside the Republican Party have become. The Tea Party and Jim DeMint are now closer to the representing the center of the GOP, not George W. Bush and his “compassionate conservatism.” This has presented longtime Republican moderates/centrists with a dilemma of what to do, and we’ve seen three different responses so far, which were on display in some form this past Tuesday. One path was demonstrated by John McCain, who decided to shift his positions (on immigration, Supreme Court judges) just enough to the right. He easily won his primary on Tuesday. A second response was exemplified by Lisa Murkowski, who essentially stayed as she was. She appears headed for a defeat in the too-close-to-call GOP Senate primary in Alaska. And a third trail was blazed by Charlie Crist, who decided to leave his party. He’s currently engaged in Florida’s three-way Senate contest. Who charted the right course?
This rightward movement inside the GOP appears likely to pay big dividends this fall. Republicans are energized, Democrats are not (right now), and the economy is hardly humming -- all of which are a recipe for significant Republican gains in November. But when we head into the 2012 presidential election, when the electorate expands, you got to wonder if a Republican Party that doesn’t have room for a John McCain of 2001-2007, a Charlie Crist of 2007-2008, or a Lisa Murkowski of 2010 can reclaim the center of American politics and the presidency, even if they gain control of Congress in the fall. Then again, the center will judge the GOP on not just how it conducts itself if they get the majority, but on the results.
It occurs to me that allowing a political party to veer too far leftward or rightward will result in loss of power. As a someone who is relatively centrist in his political beliefs, I may be biased in that thought, but it doesn't mean that I'm wrong...

Polling data supports the notion that the majority of Americans fall somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum, with a minority falling to the outer fringes. So, for a party to ignore what the majority of Americans are thinking will not work to further that political party's interest (or power).

Cartoon: found at The Lone Draftsman