When the editor of BuzzFlash was a young man on a car vacation with his family, he stopped at a site of historical interest. It was a marker that was in the middle of a cornfield in Illinois. At that time, the modest cement obelisk allegedly was the point that signified the population center of the United States.
That meant that to the East and West, North and South, the population of America was supposed to start at the marker and spread out from that spot.
The odd thing about the experience of visiting the site was that no one lived around it, not a soul. It was a population center without any people.
That seems to us an apt metaphor for the Republican, media, and entrenched Washington Democrat myth that there is an elusive center to American political thinking that somehow the Democrats are too radical for. The Washington Post, once again, repeated this myth (which is the raison d'etre of the DLC) in an article on January 28th: "The blogs-vs.-establishment fight represents the latest version of a familiar Democratic dispute. It boils down to how much national candidates should compromise on what are considered core Democratic values -- such as abortion rights, gun control and opposition to conservative judges -- to win national elections."
The assumption behind this WP analysis is that most Americans support "conservative" judges. First of all, we have not seen any polling that indicates the majority of Americans support "conservative" judges. Second of all, we don't even know what a conservative judge is anymore. Alito is more of a partisan, extremist judge than a traditional conservative judge. Third of all, the recent poll that showed a majority of Americans supported Alito was not based on a knowledge of his positions; it was based on a perception of the scripted performance during the hearings, including the infamous on-cue tearful exit of Mrs. Alito (which was recycled from the Clarence Thomas hearings.)
Many Americans do like the "image" of Sam Alito. Yes, that's true. He looks amiable and harmless enough. (See the BuzzFlash analysis: Governing by "Soap Opera": The GOP Fine Art of Demagoguery vs. the Dazed and Confused Democratic Leadership Appeal to Reason) But they would, by a large majority, disagree with his radical judicial perspectives and rulings.
So let's do our own set of poll questions here and speculate how, if the American public had the actual information in their brains about Alito's positions, they might respond:
1) Do you believe that a President of the United States should be allowed to break the law?
2) Do you believe that the balance of powers enshrined in our Constitution should be changed to make the President much more powerful, giving him the right to interpret the law as he sees fit?
3) Do you believe in altering our Constitutional system of checks and balances?
4) Do you believe that the federal government should be prohibited from regulating the individual possession of machine guns?
5) Do you believe that the Federal Bench should inhibit voting rights?
6) Do you believe that the police can strip-search a ten-year old girl even though there is no warrant to perform such an action and the girl is not implicated in any legal activity?
7) Do you believe that the Federal and local governments have a right to violate your privacy?
8) Do you believe that the Federal government should be prohibited from enforcing laws that clean up our environment?
9) Do you believe that the Federal government should be prohibited from protecting the health, safety and welfare of its citizens?
10) Do you believe that a Supreme Court nominee who lies to or misleads Congress during his hearings should be confirmed?
Now, we suspect that if you asked the above 10 questions, more than 75% of Americans would answer "No," meaning that they would oppose Alito. That's because Alito would answer "Yes" to all these questions, if he were to answer them truthfully in a confession booth. (See http://www.savethecourt.org/site/c.mwK0JbNTJrF/b. 1359291/k.8C02/Alitos_Record.htm)
75% of the American public. It's pure speculation based on common sense, but that's a landslide against the judicial policies of Alito.
The problem with polling that the media, Republicans and entrenched Democrats use to justify the "myth of the Center" is that they are polls based on misinformation. In most of the polls, when people are informed of actual positions or facts that they are unaware of, their responses shift dramatically away from the "perceived center" all the way over toward many of the positions advocated by the so-called "fiery liberals."
Even on the question of choice and Roe v. Wade, 2/3's of respondents shifted against Alito when informed of his anti-choice judicial convictions in a recent poll.
So, just what is the "center" that the Reid/Biden/Salazar (etc.) Democrats fear? The "center," if we mean a landslide majority of Americans, would be opposed to Alito if they ever got to know his actual rulings and positions on issues.
It's an information gap, not a political reality. In fact, the political reality is that the Democrats could come out as champions of the vast majority of Americans if they stopped getting scared off by the bogeyman of the mythical, non-existent "conservative" center.
In short, properly informed, the American "center" would overwhelmingly reject the reality of Alito's judicial and anti-Constitutional stances. In fact, they would probably be appalled. Substance and the truth would triumph over fraudulent Republican image marketing.
But the DLC Dems continue to do battle with a myth, instead of trying to downstream reality to the American public and change the polling results, which inevitably happens when Americans are informed of the truth.
Like that marker in a cornfield in Illinois (and it has moved much further west now), the center of America may not be populated at all.
America is always a country that has prided itself on evolving, growing, changing. How could there be a permanent center anyway?
That's the purpose of democracy. Through great public debate we develop governmental policy for the common good of the nation -- and it morphs over time.
To abandon that principle to a myth is a cowardly thing to do.
There is no "center" support for Alito's actual positions. There is no "center" support for "neo-conservative" activist judges.
There's just support for an image the Republicans created for a "show hearing" of a harmless guy with a wife driven to tears.
Think what America could be if its red-staters were simply told the truth.