As the wingnut right amplifies its hate-filled, intolerant messaging and the various one-hit-wonder tea party candidates continue to trick voters into believing that "famous for being famous" is a qualification for national office, it's easy to fall off the reality wagon and label the United States as a center-right or maybe even far-right nation. It's not.
Everyone from the president to otherwise smart, reasonable political insiders have, time and again, been suckered by that stupid, narrow and misleading Gallup ideological self-identification poll. You've probably seen it around the blogs. It shows a significant plurality of Americans self-identifying as "conservative." Specifically, the latest numbers show 42 percent identifying as "conservative," 35 percent as "moderate," and only 20 percent as "liberal."
We're a center-left nation. We've been a center-left nation since, well, forever. Anyone who tries to tell you differently is either misinformed or lying or taking that Gallup poll way, way, way too seriously.
Consequently, we're perpetually accosted by timid politicians and pundits who are afraid to speak from the center-left: where most Americans are firmly planted. Instead, everyone from cable news morning show panelists to members of Congress spend considerable time and resources trying to sound like conservative Republicans, simply because they believe that's where the folks are -- the entire Overton Window subsequently and artificially shifted to the right despite the reality that it's at least several notches to the left.
Naturally, I'm not suggesting everyone is center-left, but let's do the list.
A majority of Americans, 54 percent, believe abortion should remain legal. (The pro-life label is also misleading, so we'd do well to ignore polls containing that frame. After all, who in their right mind would admit to a pollster they're "anti-life?")
A super-majority, 65 percent, of Americans refuse to sacrifice civil liberties for additional anti-terrorism measures.