Agenda item #1: Annoy the other party

“The profound man … does not set his mind either for or against anything. What is right, he will follow.” – Confucius

Unfortunately, profound men and women have little chance of getting elected to the White House, thanks to our primary system that makes candidates appeal to their party’s most obnoxious factions before slaloming back to the center to pick up the independents in the middle.

The funny thing is that, if you look at every poll on party identification, independents are growing and growing. But the hyperpartisans are so well-entrenched that the primaries — at least the GOP primaries, since the Democrats won’t have a race in 2012 — are going to be full of candidates pandering to the most hateful elements.

Andrew Sullivan already came up with the best headline for this piece (The Ability To Win Has A Liberal Bias) and pulled out the money quote:

The underlying theory behind the talk radio critique of Daniels is basically that you can’t trust a man who disarms liberals with his seeming reasonability, and what you need instead is somebody who takes the fight to the left at every opportunity. This is an excellent description of the qualities required … to be a good talk radio host. But when applied to the presidential scene, it amounts to a kind of politics of schadenfreude, in which actual conservative accomplishments count for nothing, the ability to woo undecided voters is downgraded or dismissed, and all that matters is how much a prospective candidate irritates liberals.

But the rest of the original is a good read:

Mitch Daniels and the Talk Radio Right – NYTimes.com.

To an extent, you could say the left does this sort of thing as well. But if the Democrats were searching solely for candidates who annoy the right, Barney Frank would’ve been a big-time contender. Instead, the Democrats nominate people who deviate from the party line. And the “talk radio right” finds a reason to hate them anyway.

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