Saturday, January 27, 2007

Relieving the tension with Ann Coulter

So National Review is hosting a conservative confab that reportedly is well attended. I guess that's something. Here's something I don't quite get, though:

There was some tension, I thought, between Ingraham's praise for the Dems for finally learning to present themselves as less avowedly liberal, and her call for Republicans to present themselves as more avowedly conservative. One can view this as the difference between a party that's been in the wilderness for a while and a party that may (or may not) be entering the wilderness.

Take it as true, and it surely is, that Dems are presenting themselves as more conservative, or "less avowedly liberal" might be better. While it's true that there might be tension, it's only one of at least four possibilities. You have to know or assume where the public is along this continuum, annd then you have to know where the parties stand relative to some theoretical middle line between "conservative" and "liberal." Of course it's conventional wisdom that "moving to the center" is the thing to do, but you don't know whether the intellectual center is the same as the public center (the public may be to the right or the left of the theoretical midpoint, once you determine where the theoretical (and for that matter public) midpoint is) and you also don't know how far from the theoretical middle the two parties are: Manhattan media and Dems say the Republicans are far right extremists, and the REpublicans say the Dems are far left extremists. Both could be right, both could be wrong, or one could be more, er, correct than the other.

(Sorry if I suckered you about the Ann Coulter thing. I don't know if she's even at the conference, although it's a good bet.)


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