Please lend me your imagination for a moment. I'd like to draw a picture of the United States Political Arena in terms of it being a football field.
The extreme Liberals are defending the goal line on the left. The extreme Conservatives are defending the goal line on the right. Anyone who anchors at a point between the two 30 yard lines is essentially a Moderate. He or she may not be exactly sit at the political center but they can clearly see where it is.
Occasionally we have to deal with the loons. Those individuals who have gone past the end zone, changed clothing in the locker room and walked over to the convenience mart to get a blackberry lemonade.
Then there's Ralph Nader and Ron Paul. Each man standing on the opposite side of an empty hockey arena, wondering where everyone else is this evening. Each man is incredibly intelligent and talented. Neither communicates well with anyone more than one degree away from his ideology.
Now that we've established what the game looks like, let me take a moment to paint the picture of my beliefs and ideals. I refer to myself as a slightly Conservative Republican. I tend to anchor on the Conservative 40 yard line. On certain issues, I might drift as far left as the Liberal 40. On others I might go as far right as the Conservative 20.
My conundrum is that during the past couple of years I have increasingly been feeling like a political orphan. A Republican Party which once welcomed my ideas and ideals, now seems to be increasingly pandering to neo conservative hucksters who have no real concept of how to contribute towards an effective and properly functioning political party.
I've grown tired of the terms "Tea Party" and "Reagan Test" being bandied about all over the place. Mainly because the individuals who are most often in front of a news camera while referencing these terms have virtually no concept of what they actually mean.
If the ghost of Ronald took one look at the "Reagan Test" being talked about by 2012 politicians, the old boy would laugh himself silly. Reagan himself could not pass this Reagan Test and he wouldn't waste his time trying. The man would simply crumple it into a little ball, toss it into the recycle bin and then roll his eyes at the individuals who had dared to place it in front of him.
As for the misuse of the term "Tea Party" ... In spite of what Knee Jerk Liberals fear and Extreme Social Conservatives have wet dreams about, this movement is not a resurgence of the old Moral Majority. The rank and file individuals who truly subscribe to the Tea Party philosophy aren't really impressed by the fact that this woman has never been divorced or that man has a nine point system which could reduce the Federal Government to no more than a dozen agencies that employ only ten thousand people. The vast majority of people who identify with Tea Party principals constantly focus on common sense ideas and sound fiscal management. In their mind, the cheap parlor tricks on the extreme right are just as repulsive as cheap parlor tricks on the extreme left.
Whether the critter is a donkey or an elephant, there have been way too many instances where the tail has been wagging the animal. This has to change on both sides of the aisle. If it doesn't, a lot of problems are just going to sit there and fester. And a lot more people are going to start feeling like political orphans.
If they fester too long, the orphans in the center might just decide to form their own political party. There have been a handful of attempts in the past couple of decades. A few of them did quite well for an election cycle or two. What happens if they get it right this time and start something that takes root? With these people amounting to more than twenty percent of the nation's voting population, we could be looking at a serious game changer.