Back when I was a student of political science, we spent a lot of time discussing the bell curve theory of American politics. The idea was simple. Americans are supposedly arrayed along an ideological spectrum. The vast majority of voters are in the center, while small numbers lurk out at the edges. So, the theory goes, the winning party will be the one that finds a candidate to plausibly occupy the center position.
I think that theory is out the window.
There is no way rational voters could have looked at the choice offered by John McCain and Barack Obama and concluded that Barack was closer to the ideological center than McCain. ...(more)