By Cheri Jacobus - 05/14/09 05:11 PM EDT
Such is the case with the Democrats and their cheerleaders in the media, with their cries that the GOP has moved far to the right and marginalized itself. In fact, it is the Democratic Party that has sped far left, creating the huge policy gap between the two parties. The political center is no longer the halfway mark between the two parties.
After federal spending in the Bush years that unnerved conservatives, the GOP now remains true to its core principles of restrained spending; smaller, more responsible government; and a strong national security. But the ascension of Barack Obama to the White House with Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) clenching the Speaker’s gavel has ushered in an era of unprecedented leftward movement. It’s true the parties are much further apart than a year ago — but not because the GOP lurched right. It’s because the Democrats lurched left and moved the goalposts. The center did not move.
Rank-and-file Democrats who voted for Obama could not have fathomed a $3.6 trillion budget. It’s not likely they could get their heads around the notion that a U.S. president would travel the globe trashing his country, while dismantling national security in various other ways. Nor could they grasp the magnitude of the Obama takeover of the private sector, coupled with massive unemployment on his watch and now the rumblings of the failure of his astronomical stimulus bill at the state level.
Voters may also take umbrage at seeing the man they thought would change America for the better expose government secrets that save countless lives as if this were no more than a game of poker.
Democratic voters did not sign up for this white-knuckled roller coaster ride.
Republican strengths are national security and fiscal responsibility. Both issues are what encourage moderate Democrats and independents to consider voting Republican. Fiscal and national security issues unite the center-left and center-right, and are music to the ears of conservatives. These are the issues of grown-ups — the lynchpins of the GOP’s 1994 success.
But GOP navel-gazing needs to end, and communication with America needs to begin in earnest. Poll after poll indicates that while the public approves of Obama personally, his draconian, far-left policies do not engender that same enthusiasm. Republicans can seize that pinprick of light, no matter how small or faint, and recognize their party represents the hearts and minds of a growing number of Americans — if the GOP engages them.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.