Columns

Choosing from the Party’s Center

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Democrats regularly insist the GOP has been captured by right wing extremists and only hard-line conservatives can prevail in the primary process.

How, then, do they explain the last two presidential nominees – Romney and McCain?

Both candidates vanquished more moderate, centrist rivals – Rudy Giuliani in 2008, John Huntsman in 2012 – as well as besting many competitors on their right. Republicans generally choose nominees from the broad mainstream at the center of the GOP, never selecting the most conservative or liberal alternatives. George W. Bush beat McCain to his left and Gary Bauer, Alan Keyes and others to his right; Bob Dole topped centrist Lamar Alexander and right-wingers Pat Buchanan and Phil Gramm.

The party last chose an anti-establishment, right wing firebrand fifty years ago – and Barry Goldwater’s landslide defeat showed the dangers of that course.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Ben  •  Jun 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Michael, the views that you have expressed here are exactly why the Republican Party isn’t winning any elections recently. Firstly, you forgot to mention Reagan and Nixon (to a lesser extent), who where both staunchly conservative and won in decisive elections. Reagan had to fight against the GOP establishment for his nomination, even though the GOP was, as in 2012 and 2008, trying very hard to get a moderate / centrist to the ticket. Ronald Reagan, who you would have labeled as an extremist and unelectable if he ran today, won the presidency twice in two of the most lopsided and overwhelming electoral and popular vote percentages, despite the fact that in his first election for president, he faced Jimmy Carter, a well funded incumbent president who was what you would call, a moderate. Previously, Reagan had ran for the Governorship of California, and won two landslides there as well. More importantly, since Reagan’s reelection, Republicans have only nominated moderates and centrists as their candidate for the presidency, and as a result, they have only won the popular vote twice in every election since 1984. Doesn’t this suggest that maybe, Republicans should run a Conservative for once?

  2. Scott  •  Jun 10, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Romney lost the election because he failed utterly to turn out the conservatives.The next Republican candidate (if we still have elections in 2016) needs to spend significant time on talk radio reaching conservatives. Romney despised conservatives. The conservatives smelled that, refused to vote, and Obama kicked Romney’s butt. Time to trash can the current “moderate” GOP leadership.

  3. Mart  •  Jun 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    The center is far to the right of McCain and Romney. We need a true conservative.

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