Commentary Magazine


Contentions

A Pose by Any Other Name

This statistic is from Bret Stephens’ excellent piece in today’s Wall Street Journal:

The number of Americans who self-identify as liberals continues to fall, to 21% in 2008 from 22% in 2004, according to CNN. (The number of self-identified conservatives held steady at 34%.)

But that’s because the liberal talking points of 2004 have been completely embraced by the moderates of 2008. Just as the moderate talking points of 2004 are finding favor among the conservatives of 2008. Forget what voters call themselves — this is what it means when a country slides to the Left.

A 2007 study found that 71 percent of Republicans polled identified as conservative. That’s 16 percent more than in 1997. Which means we’re an increasingly conservative country right? Not really. The same study also found that over the ten years, Republicans became more likely to support gays in the military and universal healthcare, and less likely to be “free-marketeers.”

A Rasmussen poll conducted this last July found that libertarians favored Obama to McCain 53 to 38 percent. These are the people who supposedly reject hand-outs as paternal, and larger government involvement as criminal. Yet they overwhelmingly went for the candidate who plans to set up free pre-school for every American three-year-old, and heavily subsidized healthcare for any American who wants it.

This phenomenon is the political equivalent of the shift we’ve seen in religious identification over the past few decades. The self-proclaimed Christians who don’t go to church, the Jews who don’t attend synagogue, the whole “spiritual but not religious” a la carte approach to belief. You can keep calling yourself anything you like, I suppose, as long as you keep updating the term to fit your fancy.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.