December 30, 2003

The Incumbent's Advantage

I've never cared much for Dick Morris, but I have to give him credit. This piece in the New York Post makes a lot of sense.

An incumbent president tends to catalyze opposite reactions among the moderates and the extremists in the opposition party. Because he is adopting policies which help the nation and echo the demands of the broad center, he attracts moderates in the other party. But as he pursues the core policies of his own party, he generally triggers greater hostility from the true believers on the other side.

Thus, President Bill Clinton's policies of reforming welfare and balancing the budget attracted moderates among Independents and Republicans. But his position on core Democratic issues like gun control and abortion drove the right-wing extremists crazy.

Characters like Dick Morris are master manipulators. The Democrats, the wingnuts I should say, like the Clinton-haters before them, are letting themselves be played like flutes.
In the Clinton White House, we consciously used this theory to help the right dominate the Republican Party so that the centrists throughout America would vote to re-elect the Democratic president.
Karl Rove is a smart man. I'm sure he consciously uses this, too.

It only works because the leftists (like the right-wingers in the 1990s) go along with it.

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Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 30, 2003 11:59 PM
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