I was reading an article (hard copy) in the paper today where Obama adviser John Podesta suggested that the right had abandoned the "middle" on the healthcare debate and that Obama would not have a very hard time reclaiming it. I think he's right, but not just on healthcare.
As a conservative minded person, I think I share the concerns of many when I say that there really isn't a reasoned voice speaking for our side of the debate. Many Republicans talk about how the base is energized and that this speaks trouble for Obama, but that is misleading. The left was energized after Bush's first term, but the general electorate was turned off by their over-emphasis on exiting Iraq and a general concern that Kerry was being directed by pacifists (i.e., "Kerry will make us less safe"). Now, supposedly the right is energized, but the people that are energized are not like me, don't think like me, and don't represent my views.
The counter to that is something that sneaks into my thoughts every once in a while. The media get to draw their own bad guy. "Look, the right has big pointy horns to kill homosexuals with, and big mean claws to impose religion onto the secular culture. And when they're done, they're going to drink a beer, watch NASCAR, and shoot their guns into the sunset." You and I know that this is a misrepresentation of real conservative thought, just as barefoot hippies throwing red paint on people wearing fur coats or professors who believe we should return all the land to the Native Americans are not a proper representation of the left. Most of us fall in the middle.
That then brings me back to my original concern that while these town halls are showing disagreement with Obamacare, the manner in which that disagreement is shown is leaving open the middle. Yelling and screaming with posterboards about death panels will get you on TV, but it won't get you votes.