All of this springs from the biggest myth of the day: The notion that one party is far more extreme than the other. Ambinder claims that GOP “extremism” attracts a larger share of voters than liberal “extremism” does. He writes that the “GOP has become more openly conservative (and therefore closer to the real views of their base voters) in the past 20 years.”
By offering that Republicans have become “more openly conservative” the insinuation is that they’ve been batsh**t crazy but are only now being honest about it. It’s been generally accepted by the media that the GOP has gone full Bircher while the Democrats are still a reasonable left-of-center entity. By believing their own press releases, Democrats saw no more need to debate.
Never mind that the liberal consensus on social and economic policy is far to the left of where it was a decade ago. Never mind that only one of these parties unilaterally instituted reforms that sit outside the tradition of American governance. To a liberal pundit, a voter who favors low taxes or a balanced budget or traditional marriage is a fanatic. Is “I don’t like Obamacare” really a radical idea? That seemed to the leading get-out-vote issue.