But who's the second smartest?
Errr... uh... Okay, so that's probably Digby at Hullabaloo.
But somewhere in the top ten (fifty? one-hundred?) is.... your trusty Catharine.
I have been saying for the past two years that this notion of America as a "center-right nation," according to ruling Republicans, is just plain crap. And now, thanks to this editorial in the Washington Post by conservative Tod Lindberg, my assertions have been confirmed, not only by Lindberg, but by conservative think tank, the Hoover Institution, which has finally concluded through 12,000 interviews, that America is currently skewing center-left.
Not that we should get cocky or anything. As Lindberg points out, the biggest mistake a party can make is getting full of itself and moving far too far from center, whether it be right or left. But Republicans who fail to see that America is no longer a bastion of political and social conservatism will continually fail to secure a voter base strong enough to win at the national level. And, so far, most conservatives have resisted the notion that the Reagan era (and to a lesser degree, the Clinton "New Democrat" era) is over.
The nationwide protests over California's Proposition 8 are a perfect example of the left-leaning trend in modern American politics. Can you imagine such a reaction four years ago? Or even two? This proposition to strip gay Californians of the right to legally marry was an enormous misstep by conservatives that will, I believe, have repercussions stretching well into several election cycles. Republicans badly underestimated the reaction of opponents to Prop 8, and their willingness to embrace the ideas of hope and change in their refusal to go quietly back into the closet. Also, many, many gay people, including many celebrities, had already married and were planning on marrying. Having a future right denied is one thing. It is entirely another thing to have an already-granted right revoked. Another misperception on the part of conservatives and evangelicals was the willingness of the straight community to come together in solidarity with gays to overturn this heinous piece of legislative crap.
It remains to be seen exactly how Prop 8 will play itself out. It is flatly unconstitutional, and similar legislation has been shot down by the California Supreme Court. This time, though, the American political landscape might be right for a permanent change in the way we think of homosexuality as a nation. Just as you don't have to be black to understand that Jim Crow was wrong, you don't have to be gay to know that denying homosexuals their civil rights is equally wrong.
Hope and change. This is what 53 percent of the population voted for on November 4th. We have hope and, according to the Hoover Institution, we have changed. Let's see what good can come of that.
P.S. Thanks to David Sirota, who led me to this editorial via Twitter.