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For many years, I've alternated between being amused and being frustrated by the blithe (and completely erroneous) assumption by both the media and other segments of the Left that the "progressive" viewpoint is the mainstream American viewpoint, and that those who don't happen to share it are somehow "extremists." The risible title of Jonathan Alter's book on the 2012 campaign, The Center Holds, is a good example. Somehow, we're supposed to believe that the leftmost president in our history represents the Center.

Of course, Alter probably believes that he himself is in the Center. So it follows (I guess) that anybody he agrees with must also be.

He's wrong on both counts.

It's to laugh. No Republican governor has ever, to my knowledge, suggested (as New York's Andrew Cuomo did a while back) that anybody who disagrees with him or with her on abortion, gay "marriage," and other controversial issues needs to move out of his state. Nobody, to my knowledge, has recently been fired from their job or banned from opening a restaurant in a great American city for expressing a personal opinion in favor of gay "marriage." The growing intolerance of the American Left- and I'm talking now about the mainstream views of the Democratic party, and the positions of its elected officials-represents the most frightening foray into American totalitarianism since at least Joe McCarthy, and a far greater threat both to the Bill of Rights and our American system than "Tail gunner Joe" ever did.

Democrats crow continually that polls ever since Roe v. Wade was handed down have shown overwhelming public support for it. That is true. On the other hand, they have also shown overwhelming public opposition to the legality of abortion for the reasons for which most abortions are performed (the disconnect can be explained by the simple fact that most Americans-thank God- aren't lawyers, and- not being acquainted with the details of Roe- identify it simply with the notion that abortion should be legal at all.) The American public is divided fairly evenly between those who consider themselves "pro-choice" and those who consider themselves "pro-life." Yet the rhetoric of the Left continues to suggest that a position held by such a substantial portion of the American public is somehow "extreme."

Similarly, a (shrinking) plurality of the American people seem, at the moment, to favor gay "marriage." But the margin isn't all that big. Nevertheless, the Left continues to imply that supporters of traditional marriage are somehow not only extremists, but ipso facto bigots and "homophobes" deserving of discrimination and even persecution.

It ain't so, of course. Gay activists- at least the responsible ones- freely acknowledge that many opponents of marriage redefinition don't hate gay people. But it would ill suit the political interest of "progressives" generally to concede the point. In fact, a case can be made that overthrowing two thousand years of legal and social tradition regarding marriage is- whatever else might be said about it- far more radical than seeking to maintain it. And certainly attempts to use governmental power to vilify and punish people because of their views on the issue is the very definition of extremism, if not out-and-out un-American.

But for some reason, Republicans let Democrats get away with the suggestion that they are somehow "extreme," whereas the extremists who do and say such things are "centrist." This is very strange.

An article in USA TODAY yesterday by a feminist Leftie chortled with joy because some bozo who writes for the National Review apparently suggested that any woman who has an abortion should be hanged. Now, I certainly don't agree with that sentiment. But does anybody see what's wrong with her suggestion that if it were carried out, it would be "the greatest bloodbath in American history?" The abortions themselves already are not only just as great a bloodbath, but a greater one by far. After all, most women who have had one abortion have had more than one, and often have had several!

Granted, the Republican party has its share of whackadoodles. They are especially prominent here in Iowa, where both parties are top-heavy with extremists. But why let Democratic extremists- who even nationally form at least as large a percentage of the party rank-and-file as the do in the Republican party, and arguably more so- get away with claiming the middle ground?

Well, last night, Republican senatorial candidate Joni Ernst debuted an ad which finally called opponent Bruce Braley's bluff.

Ernst is a fairly moderate Republican by Iowa standards, though she was forced during the primary race (Braley was unopposed) to take some positions with which one suspects she was less than comfortable. Certainly she has cause to regret them now. Braley has made the claim that Ernst is "too extreme for Iowa" a mantra. The claim often been based on outright lies and distortions of Ernst's record, such as the claim that a pledge she signed not to raise anybody's taxes without some sort of reduction elsewhere somehow favors oil companies and companies which send their jobs overseas. He insists (wrongly) that Ernst is a Tea-Party type.

Not that it's done him much good. Ernst has a comfortable lead in recent polls.

Well, Iowans (like Americans generally) aren't exactly wild about President Obama's ill-disguised intention to use executive power to declare what amounts to amnesty for illegal aliens as soon as the election is over. Bruce Braley voted to give him that power, and was also a key supporter of Obamacare.

And the new Ernst commercial, which began by citing Braley's "dishonest negative campaign," reminds Iowans about Braley's record on those issues, and ends with a line I've been waiting all campaign to hear, and never thought I would:

Bruce Braley. He's TOO EXTREME for Iowa.

And I couldn't resist a fist-pump. It's about time!


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