The Mourdock/Lugar race captivated a lot of national attention, as it pitted the classic entrenched establishment Republican against the more conservative candidate in a critical race. It was seen as a bellwether for the climate of the coming campaign. And because the more conservative candidate won, the Democrats have their ready-made line to begin peddling: “It’s further proof of how far to the right the Republican Party has moved.” Nonsense.
Consider that we have a president who has pushed for socialized medicine, the demonizing of the wealthy, radical sexual experimentation, and you quickly realize that the reality is that the Democrats have moved dangerously towards the left – towards European socialism. What the Mourdock victory actually demonstrates, then, is that Republican voters have decided that “reaching across the aisle” to socialists is not nearly as acceptable as “reaching across the aisle” to moderately liberal Democrats used to be.
That isn’t because Republicans have become dramatically more right-wing than they used to be. It means that Republicans are turning to more conservative candidates who will resist the temptation to compromise with the left, given how far left that now has become.
Charles Krauthammer’s assessment on the Fox News Special Report panel pretty well sums it up:
"I think it's a generational issue," syndicated columnist and FOX News contributor Charles Krauthammer said about the Lugar-Mourdock Senate primary in Indiana.
"I think Lugar is a lion of the Senate. I think he's served very well, he's been very important in foreign affairs over these years but that doesn't appeal to voters. He's been in there for very long time. He's had a lot of moderate opinions. He's not a Tea Party favorite and I think his time will likely will have come. I'm not sure that there is anything he could have done differently in campaigning. He is who he is after all of these years. His generation of the sort of somewhat right-of-center Republicans is an eclipse," Krauthammer said.
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The left will seize on that last line about right-of-center Republicans not being acceptable anymore. They will run with it and talk about how that proves their assessment that Republicans have gone off the right end. But that’s not what Krauthammer is saying. He’s not saying that the Republican Party has shifted its ideology or platform to the right. It’s that they are choosing candidates who are more committed to upholding that ideology and platform in legislation, and are less likely to compromise with those on the left – who have pushed their own ideology and platform far leftward.
It’s an important distinction to make, because the media will skew perception as best they can to match the Democrat narrative on this. If you lament the increasing polarization of American politics, recognize who it is that’s moving away from the other: the left is going further left, the right is holding steady.