Robert Reich in the Huffington Post:
Why are Democratic presidents so much more easily intimidated by the “move to the center” rhetoric after midterm losses than Republican presidents?
Because Democrats think in terms of programs, policies, and particular pieces of legislation. It’s easy to reverse course by compromising more and giving up on legislative goals. Bill Clinton never mentioned the words “health care reform” after the 2004 midterms.
Republicans think in terms of simple ideas, themes, and movements. It’s far harder to reverse course on these (look what happened to the first George Bush when he raised taxes), and easier to keep them alive: Republican presidents just continue looking for opportunities to implement them.
Republicans are also more disciplined (ask yourself which party attracts authoritarian personalities and which attracts anti-authoritarians). This makes it easier for them to stay the course. Their base continues to organize and fulminate even after midterm defeats. Democrats, on the other hand, are less organized. Electoral defeats tend to fracture and dissipate whatever organization they have.
We can forgive the 2004 gaffe (I assume he meant 1994).
But isn’t there something funny about Reich claiming that the GOP is full of authoritarian personalities, even as the Democrats have just enacted a law that orders Americans to buy health care? Which party is asking that government do a whole lot less and which is asking it do a whole lot more? Which party wants the government to boss people around more? Which party is more likely to attract people who find this sort of thing compelling? Which party wants to get rid of the union secret ballot? Which party wants to restore the “fairness” doctrine? Which party wants the government to be able to ban smoking, regulate salt, and ban political speech? Which party attracts people who like campus speech codes? Which party attracts movie stars who vow to be servants of Obama? Or educators who expect likewise of their students?