Republicans should run against the center 

That’s the advice I offered in one of my first Examiner columns in May. Key paragraph:

“So I think Republicans today should be less interested in moving toward the center and more interested in running against the center. Here I mean a different ‘center,’ not a midpoint on an opinion spectrum, but rather the centralized government institutions being created and strengthened every day. This is a center that is taking over functions fulfilled in a decentralized way by private individuals, firms and markets.

That’s the advice I think Republicans—or conservatives—have taken by (in the case of political leaders) endorsing Conservative nominee Doug Hoffman over Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava in the New York 23rd congressional district special election and by voters (in the case of those who, according to polls, in October switched from Scozzafava to Hoffman up to her withdrawal from the race October 31). Far from being the crazed impulse of an angry lunatic fringe, these were rational responses given the alternatives, including the fact that on some important issues—the Obama stimulus package, the unions’ card check bill to eliminate the secret ballot in unionization elections—Scozzafava stood to the left of every Republican in the House of Representatives.

This is not a warrant for conservatives and tea partiers to oppose all Republican moderates, especially in states and districts where, unlike New York 23, conservatives have no chance of prevailing. But it is a warning to Republican leaders and candidate recruiters that moving to the center—backing candidates who support the big government policies of the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders—is not an automatic path to victory.
 

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Michael Barone

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