Over the past four years, politics in the nation’s capital has been consumed by the fight between the president and tea party Republicans. But because Obama is far closer to the center than the tea party is, what counts as middle ground in Washington is more conservative than the political center nationwide. In this setting, even centrist proposals face mighty legislative hurdles.
Beyond the capital’s divisions, citizens across the country resist the “liberal” label — even though polls showthat they tend to hold liberal positions on individual issues. Political scientists call this “symbolic” vs. “operational” ideology.
See the Post's graphic for some examples.