Saturday, July 07, 2007

The new American revolt against conservatism?

Republican Presidential candidates usually run to the right to be nominated, then head for the center in order to be elected.  I’ve noticed an odd trend in the current American campaigning, where leaks of a hidden past of supporting ‘liberal’ ideas like abortion rights are being used to prove that the candidates are actually more centrist than their current official pronouncements might lead you to think.  They still all follow the hell-and-brimstone script handed to them by the Christian Right, but the perception appears to be that Americans, tiring of all the conservative moral battles, are headed leftwards, and candidates like and Giuliani and Thompson want to introduce a touch of ambiguity over just how right-wing they really are. 

The more cynical view is that faux centrism is just being used to perpetrate the same old right-wing politics, with no real change on any of the important issues.  Leaning to the center on the hot-button ‘lifestyle’ issues – and I don’t mean to belittle their importance – allows people to vote towards the center without affecting the continuing American move to the right on class issues.

Speaking of ambiguity, is hidden American liberalism going to skip over the woman President, and the gay President, and head directly to the first known bisexual President?  I’m reminded of Lenny Bruce riffing on Rock Hudson.  Of course, all the speculation seems derived from Andrew Sullivan – has there been a bigger blight on American opinion in recent years? – and it bears the whiff of a political dirty trick inspired by support for one of the other candidates.