Barone Seeks the Omphalos


Don't go into the center, stay away from the center, Michael Barone warns:

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.

Maybe a pun should not be unpacked, but I wonder whether the government-institution center might in time become the opinion center. I've never had a gig writing a textbook, so as far as I know, nobody is writing up the Bush-Obama Bailout for the permanent records as a hugely controversial and unpopular movement. I'd doubt the White House histories of either president or the personal finance works of the future will record it that way either. And I consider all those issues, of race, gender, life, war, private affairs, etc., in which once controversial interventions by activist judges, presumptuous legislatures, callow presidents and others eventually assumed the mantle of Conventional Wisdom.

Now it may be the case that Conventional Wisdom ain't worth what it once was, and I think in general I'd agree. But I've counted up the Republicans and the Democrats with both hands, and it still looks like they're only giving two choices.

So how can they avoid the center? It's like advising the Moon to get away from the Earth.