HOW WOULD WE KNOW?…. Ali Frick has an interesting item this afternoon, noting that every conservative Republican in the country seems to have been given a new talking point to repeat ad nauseum. As Joe Scarborough recently insisted, “The country is not center left; it is center right.”

Ali added, “By insisting that — despite all appearances to the contrary — Americans favor conservatives, the right wing is trying to handicap the progressive agenda before it has a chance of being enacted.” Quite right.

But I have a question for the conservative pundits and Republican lawmakers who’ve been hammering this point the past several weeks: if the country were to move from center-right to center-left, how would we know? What metric would we use? At what point would even the most closed-minded, sycophantic Republican hack have to say, “Fine, you’re right, it is a center-left country”?

Would a Democratic Congress do it?

How about a Democratic President with a Democratic Congress?

How about a Democratic President, Democratic Congress, and a Democratic majority among the nation’s governors?

How about a Democratic president, Senate, House, governors, and polling data showing Americans support universal healthcare, are pro-choice, oppose the war in Iraq, and support the Democratic agenda on everything from the environment to the minimum wage to international diplomacy?

To hear prominent conservatives tell it, this wouldn’t be persuasive enough to shake their view of the ideological landscape. It would still be, they say, a center-right country.

I’m genuinely curious what it would take for them to think otherwise. My hunch is, no evidence would be sufficient. They just know it’s a center-right country, and have no reason to trust their lying eyes.

That’s hardly a reason, though, for anyone to take their opinion seriously.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.