The Conservative Revolution

THE CONSERVATIVE REVOLUTION….In their book Off Center, Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that although the Republican Party has moved far to the right of the political center, it has nonetheless managed to hold onto power by adopting a variety of hardnosed and cynical electoral strategies. The problem with this thesis is that, in practice, Republicans haven’t actually moved all that far to the right. Charlie Cook sums it up this way:

There is a growing divide between those members of the GOP Conference who want confrontation with Democrats and those who seek compromise. According to one influential Republican, “We cannot govern from the right,” but added, “you cannot control this caucus from the center.”

I think that’s just about right. As Cook’s source puts it, the Republican caucus has indeed moved radically to the right, but at the same time they all know perfectly well they can’t govern from there lest they be tossed out of office en masse. It’s just another piece of evidence that the “conservative revolution” is, and always has been, a myth.

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