Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reality Check for Movement Conservatives--Again

McCain lost because he's a RINO.

If the Republican Establishment forces us to accept another nominee who isn't a true conservative, Obama will win a second term.*

Reagan showed how to do it: never give an inch on true-blue conservatism, and you'll win every time.

Well, except the facts prove otherwise.

Michael Medved, a true conservative who has long excoriated the conservative passion for rigidity that rejects coalitions and compromise, lays out the electoral facts in today's WSJ. When Reagan won, which he didn't in 1968 or 1976, he won by capturing middle-of-the-road votes. McCain lost because he didn't do as well as Dubya with moderates, though he actually did better than GOP House candidates, indubitably a predominantly right-wing bunch. Goldwater was as true blue as they come, and as articulate about principles as they come, and the election went to the guy whose operatives made stick the parody of Goldwater's slogan, "In your guts, you know he's nuts."

Here's the summation:

In short, the electoral experience of the last 50 years does nothing to undermine the common-sense notion that most political battles are won by seizing and holding the ideological center. In the last two presidential elections, more than 44% of voters described themselves as "moderate," and no conservative candidate could possibly prevail without coming close to winning half of them (as George W. Bush did in his re-election).

We offer this for all those whose frustration leaves them grasping for straws like Ron Paul (Islamists hate us because we have a base in Saudi Arabia? Really? In Pakistan they hate us for that? And you'd rather wait to be attacked than prevent an attack? Really? And this is not appeasement that you're advocating? Really?). There's a reason that only one voter out of twenty supports this charming little nutcase (we extrapolate his 10% in GOP polls at approximately half of the electorate, an estimate that generously overstates the Congressman's support). It's that he's just as nutty as Dennis Kucinich.

*How exactly does the Republican establishment get its way when the nomination is decided with primaries and caucuses? By sending Stepford voters to the polls? By stealing elections? By ordering its brain-dead sheep to do as they're told? Is the length of memory of a conservative really less than four years?


Dr. Love said...

There are several potentially problematic assumptions in a) your interpretation of the polling data you cite and b) the extrapolation.

1) "Many polls canvassing likely GOP voters have Ron Paul around %10, therefore only 10% support him."

In reality, the direct correlation of that data to overall party support for any candidate doesn't tell the whole story. While it is likely true that nearly all of that 10% probably do support RP, that doesn't mean they are the only ones who do so. Many will have thrown their lot in with other candidates for any number of reasons which might possibly include things like tactics (he'll never win, so I'll go with Newt) or media-led (mis)characterizations ("isn't he just a fringe candidate?"—well, you make him one by only giving him 90 seconds to speak in a debate or by only offering questions which pigeon hole his positions).

2) "10% of Republicans would vote for RP if nominated" is an implicit assumption here as well. With regards to any other of the candidates, you might (fairly) assume that, for instance, that someone supporting Newt would likely still vote for Romney if he were nominated. While this might not entirely be the same case with Paul, the principle still holds and there would undoubtedly be some carry-over.

3) "No Democratic voters would vote for RP or could be described as supportive of RP." Not only is this assumption problematic in pure principle, but it's also highly unlikely. It could easily be the case that RP would win more D votes than any of the other current GOP candidates.

I'd also like to take up your Reagan analogy for a moment—there is more there than just the lesson of his ability to build consensus. There is also the fact that he had a history of well-publicized and rather eccentric opinions before he became president (a point which Fred Barnes has been rather vocal about lately). Let's see now, where am I going with that...

Dr. Love said...

PS You knew I would bite on this!

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Dr. L, we object to your use of quotation marks around statements that we and others didn't make.

We offer a prognostication: your predictions about how the electorate will respond to a Paul nomination will never be put to the test in reality. If they were, they'd make Goldwater look like Reagan. We abuse Rep. Paul loudly and repeatedly not in fear that he will prevail but in hope that his hapless supporters will stop wasting their political lives.

As a counter to your perpetually untestable hypotheses about what a Paul nomination would do to the general electorate, we offer an untestable hypothesis as to the gentleman's frame of mind:

Ron Paul wants to fail politically. Evidence: he has done so consistently over his entire career, using his office as a place from which to influence no one in Congress or other corridors of power. Reason: Paul does not want to be held responsible for the [awful] outcomes of his positions were they to be enacted. He is above all focused entirely inward, a man who insists on being true to himself, even if that means being a politician who never impacts the body politic except as an eccentric in the electoral sideshow.

KevinAK said...

You did make the statement that Ron Paul only has 10% in the polls:

"(we extrapolate his 10% in GOP polls at approximately half of the electorate, an estimate that generously overstates the Congressman's support). It's that he's just as nutty as Dennis Kucinich."

How does the GOP get it's members to vote for RINOS like McCain? By advancing the lie that voting for and independent candidate is a "wasted" vote. SWNID has this claim knowing that it is a lie. I voted for a RINO in 2008. I won't make the same mistake next year.