John Judis and Ruy Teixeira take a look at the demographic and ideological characteristics of self-described independents and their potential role in the presidential election. It’s clear that the post-partisan rhetoric from Barack Obama that’s annoyed a lot of bloggers has tremendous appeal to this segment of the electorate. And though I, too, find it annoying I think you have to agree that if he really does manage to use this kind of rhetoric to mobilize an unprecedented number of independents to go caucus for the first time on behalf of a candidate who was right about Iraq from the beginning, backs ambitious new programs on climate change and media reform, big new regulations on health insurance companies and new subsidies to people who have trouble paying for insurance, etc., etc., etc. that that’ll be a pretty impressive achievement.
It’s always worth recalling that George W. Bush talked the talk about repudiating the harshness of Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay. That duped the brain-dead press and they, in turn, helped dupe a substantial element of the public. But the policy agenda from Bush was always very right-wing, just as Obama’s platform is quite progressive.