For Americans who've grown accustomed to hundreds of cable channels and unlimited choices on the Internet, politics is the last place people are expected to be satisfied with a choice between Brand A and Brand B.
It should be obvious soon, if it's not already, what folly it is for Republicans to pursue a base strategy rather than reach out to the center. I heard Larry Kudlow (whom I tend to like) on the radio this weekend saying the minimum requirements for a Republican candidate are: pro-life; supply-side tax cuts; and strong on national defense. I'll go along with strong-on-defense as non-negotiable, but pushing to outlaw abortion nationwide, as opposed to emphasizing persuasion and federalism, is a recipe for electoral defeat. And mindless tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, regardless of the fiscal situation and without an interest in broader tax reform, is the same.
Professional partisans in Washington try to ignore this shift, perpetuating the myth that the independent movement is a chaotic grab bag. In fact, the movement has a coherent set of underlying beliefs: Independents tend to be fiscally conservative, socially progressive and strong on national security. They believe in putting patriotism over partisanship and the national interest over special interests.