Maybe we're already home
In his Saturday NYTimes Op-Ed (registration/surrender of first born required), Nicholas Kristof somehow cannot seem to recall the existence of the Democratic Leadership Council and the three presidential campaigns run by its early leaders (all three of which, need I add, earned a plurality of the popular vote). Instead, he trots out yet another version of why the Democrats have to move to the right: it worked for Tony Blair (and he was there to see it in person!)
Of course, the medicine Kristof prescribes was fit for a Labor Party "caught in its own echo chamber of militant unions and anti-American activists, and it so repulsed voters that it seemed it might wither away entirely."
That's no diagnosis of the current Democratic Party.
Gary Langer's nearby Op-Ed helpfully cautions against misreading the prominence of the "moral values" response in Tuesday's exit polls because
the exit poll, co-sponsored by the national television networks and The Associated Press ... asked voters what was the most important issue in their decision: taxes, education, Iraq, terrorism, economy/jobs, moral values or health care. Six of these are concrete, specific issues. The seventh, moral values, is not, and its presence on the list produced a misleading result.
But it's the additional data that Langer cites to cast doubt upon the exit poll results that interests me here.
The makeup and views of the electorate in other measures provide some context for the moral values result. The number of conservative white Protestants or weekly churchgoing white Protestants voting (12 percent and 13 percent of voters, respectively) did not rise in 2004. Fifty-five percent of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Sixty percent said they supported either gay marriage (25 percent) or civil unions (an additional 35 percent).
Got that? On the two hot-button moral issues of the day--abortion and gay marriage--55% and 60% of Americans support the Democratic presidential candidate's position, respectively.
Where is there to move?