Open Letter to the Republican Party, #3

A few days after the recent presidential election we posted Open Letter to the Republican Party, #2. There we complained that too many candidates in the GOP are flat-out crazed — religiously obsessed, sexually repressive, anti-science creationists, theocratic fanatics, etc. You know who they are.

Unfortunately, those people comprise a significant portion of the party’s voting base, and they have ever since Nixon recruited them from the Democrat party. Our last Open Letter discusses that history, and there’s no point in trying to undo the past. We have to live with the situation.

But now we’re addressing the sane members of the party — those who advocate only the GOP’s traditional concerns: the Constitution, the rule of law, national defense, free enterprise, limited government, low taxes, balanced budgets, and individual rights. We still have such people, lots of them, but they’re stumbling all over themselves, often with both feet in their mouths, trying to appear rational and acceptable to a majority of the electorate while simultaneously pandering to the social conservatives in the party’s base. We suspect that’s the problem plaguing people like Marco Rubio (see Marco Rubio and Creationism) and maybe a few others who have national potential, but they’re not going anywhere if they continue to pursue their current course. So what’s a sane Republican candidate supposed to do?

Herewith, we suggest that if they can get nominated with a minimum of pandering, the math dictates that they should then engage in a Sister Souljah moment — “a calculated denunciation of an extremist position or special interest group” — and openly disown the fanatical portion of the base. It’s a winning strategy, as we will now explain with a thought experiment.

Imagine that the electorate consists of three equal groups of a million voters each — one million are the GOP base, another million are the Dem base, and the third million are the so-called undecided voters. The undecideds aren’t idiots (well, they’re no more so than the voters in each party’s base), but they’re not hard-core ideologues who favor one extreme or the other. They don’t like extremism. They tend to vote for the candidate who seems competent and who doesn’t frighten them as being what they perceive a dangerous fanatic. We suggest that this middle third of the electorate is more important than the party’s base, and here’s why.

Suppose a candidate takes our advice and publicly renounces the social conservative issues in rather vigorous terms. Don’t misunderstand — we’re not advocating that the candidate should embrace the other party’s views. All we suggest is that he should say something like this:

In my personal life, I agree with and live according to most of the views of the social conservatives. But those are strictly private matters and they won’t play any part in my administration’s policies. I won’t advocate or sign any laws that impose my private morality on the American people, nor will I have anyone in my administration who wants to do so. Those issues are personal matters and they should be the private concerns of the citizens. They are not the government’s business.

Okay, fine. Now what will be the electoral results of such a move? Obviously, some of the GOP’s base will be disheartened and will stay home on election day. How many? Let’s say half of them, so in our imaginary scenario that’s half a million votes our candidate doesn’t get. Now what?

Now our candidate has a clear shot at winning the whole undecided block of a million voters, or at least most of them. There are undoubtedly more of them then there are the stay-at-home base voters, or at least that’s our best guess. And there’s another advantage to this:

By winning the undecideds, we not only get those votes, but we take them away from the Dem candidate. That’s right, because the undecideds won’t necessarily stay home — they’ll probably vote for one side or the other. If we don’t get them, the Dems will. It doesn’t work that way with our disgruntled base voters. They may stay home, but they’ll never vote for the Dem candidate. We won’t get their votes, but neither will the opposition. It’s quite different with the undecideds. Each of those we get we’ve also taken away from the Dems. Viewed like that, the undecideds are twice as valuable as the base.

So how would our hypothetical election work out? Half of the GOP base stays home, so we’ll get only half a million base voters. Plus a million undecided voters (or nearly so). That gives us about 1.5 million. The Dem candidate will get the million in his base, but that’s all he’ll get. See how it works? We lose part of the base but we make it up — and more — by winning the undecideds. And we win the election in a landslide. Well, we could.

Bear in mind that our strategy doesn’t require a candidate to abandon the GOP’s social principles, but he does have to strongly reassure the voters that he won’t make those principles compulsory. If we can convince the undecideds that a Republican victory doesn’t mean that the government will be run by a pack of wild-eyed theocrats, then we have a shot at winning. Otherwise, we’re history, and deservedly so.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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40 responses to “Open Letter to the Republican Party, #3

  1. Charley Horse

    No time for that here in Tennessee. The Republicans have
    another huge crisis on their hands….how to force employers
    to allow their employees to bring their AK-47s to work with them
    and at the same time not lose the $$$ that the employers
    contribute to the Republicans or violate some silly constitutional
    ideal…you know…those silly property rights.

  2. I can see the Tea Party fanatics rejecting any compromises and forming a third party. They have the bible belt sewn up and a few other states are teetering on the edge. If they elect enough congresspeople and the capture enough electoral votes from these states they could possibly deny either mainstream candidate the magic 270. This means according to the Constitution the House of Representatives names the President. Can’t happen? After what we’ve just seen, anything is possible.

  3. But now we’re addressing the sane members of the party

    Both of them?

    I actually made somewhat similar suggestions, perhaps a bit more drastic, in a recent post on my blog. As an independent, I would like to see a responsible Republican party giving me a real choice of candidates.

  4. Good idea, Curmy. In your scenario, you would most likely pull some votes from the Democratic base as well, especially those who vote Democratic because they are pro-choice but lean toward fiscal moderation.

    Now, who in the Republican Party has that kind of flexibility, along with the stature, experience, intellect and temperament to be “presidential”? Just about every Republican with national recognition falls short in one or more of those qualities, or has already tattooed his forehead with the word “Theocrat”.

    Got anyone in mind?

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    Could you take the same letter and substitute the words ‘creationist’? As a group of ideologues, both conservatives and creationists are constrained to their standards (beliefs), and compromising them with reality or other parties is heresy.

    he does have to strongly reassure the voters that he won’t make those principles compulsory.

    Yep, and Ken Ham will be happy keeping creationism out of public schools.

  6. Heaven forbid the Republicans should nominate a reasonable candidate.
    http://www.alan.com/2012/11/24/obama-campaign-was-much-more-worried-about-huntsman-than-romney/

    The best idea I have heard to date (I think it was from David Brin) is for both parties to recruit recent military vets, especially officers, and run them for any public office they can get. In a few years there will be a fine crop of well-educated candidates ready to move up to higher office.

  7. Curm surmises: ‘So how would our hypothetical election work out? Half of the GOP base stays home, so we’ll get only half a million base voters. Plus a million undecided voters (or nearly so). That gives us about 1.5 million. The Dem candidate will get the million in his base, but that’s all he’ll get.’

    Election day arrives and BLOOIE! Hypothesis explodes in red faces. It’s like reading the old Far Side cartoon with three blackboards at the front of the lecture hall, filled with a long equation completed at the bottom of board 3, and the professor bent over at the bottom of board 2 writing: AND THEN A MIRACLE HAPPENS.

  8. If history is any guide, a Republican will be elected president next time anyway. There has only been one instance since Roosevelt that one party has held the presidency for three terms, and only one instance where a party held it for one term. The norm is two terms for each party, alternating.

    If republicans depose Grover Norquist and become independent thinkers with respect to taxes, and reach a compromise which is successful in improving job growth while bringing down the debt, the republicans that participated in getting the deal done will have no problem being re-elected. They can all claim victory, dems as well. Divided government that works is the best anyway – it helps keep extreme bills on either side of the political spectrum from being enacted, while supporting legislation that appeals to the broad middle of the electorate.

    The social agenda is one of those extreme positions which is held in check by a healthy two-party system.

  9. Ed, on the three term presidency to one party as a maximum, I wonder if further concerns in the electorate due to the more out there on the fringes
    Tea Party office holders might effect the GOP’s chances in the next election cycle and onward to 2016.In either event, I liked the letter above.

  10. Excellent personal statement. The problem, IMO, is that such a statement cannot just show up in the Presidential race. At that point, a GOP candidate must either make it in the primaries and thus lose them, or intentionally hide their view until the general election. If they do the latter they will likely be labeled a hypocrite or political manipulator, and such a statement coming exactly when a politcal ‘move to the middle’ is expected for pragmatic reasons will not be taken seriously by voters on the right, left, or middle. Either way, they lose.

    To really be effective, such statements need to be made part of the GOP national platform now, 2 years before the next run, with great fanfare. Then the state GOPs need to adopt them, also 1-2 years before the next election. That way, the candidate making such a statement is just being Republican. Normal, expected, platform-following. Not odd, not traitorous to social conservatives, etc. Give the GOP voters time to get used to the idea, so that when a candidate makes such a statement in the primary, it is no big deal.
    All IMO, of course.

  11. Does anyone know what to make of the GOP anymore? It really appears that the inmates are running the institution. Rather than trying to muzzle or force out the religious, social conservatives maybe the sane, small gov’t, personal freedom republicans would be better off leaving and forming a new party.

    Any thoughts?

  12. Holding the Line in Florida

    Where or where has Teddy R. gone or at least Ike? I reckon they couldn’t be elected dog catcher in today’s Republican party. Teddy would be considered one of them dul-gurned Socalists! Teddy was always one of my favorites! Let’s go Bull Moose!!

  13. Charley Horse

    Holding the Line in Florida…Have you seen this?
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/early-voting-curbs-called-power-play/nTFDy/

    Former Florida GOP leaders say voter suppression was reason they pushed new election law
    Former GOP chair, governor – both on outs with party – say voter fraud wasn’t a concern, but reducing Democratic votes was.

  14. Ceteris Paribus

    Sure there are sane Republicans who could lead the party, but name one that can get past the gatekeepers of their own state primaries. When I came to Kansas a decade back I was gobsmacked to see a Democrat, Kathleen Sibelius, take the governor’s seat away from the Republicans in this otherwise very safe Republican state.

    It happened because in 2002 the Republican governor ticket was so wacko that even dyed in the wool Republicans could not stomach their party’s anointed nominee.

    In 2006 Sibelius won a second term. And the Lieutenant Governor slot on her ticket was filled by the former Republican state party chair who saw the handwriting on the wall and joined the Democratic Party.

    Moral of the story is that as long as the Republican Party selects candidates by party caucus, or closed primaries in which only a minority consisting of the most demented Republicans bother to participate, their national candidates will continue to come from their considerable stable of whacked out lunatics.

    One progressive reform that several states have adopted is to run open primaries, where the top two vote getters, regardless of party label, are put on the ballot for the general election. Where this prevails, there is at least a chance that one reasonable candidate can attract the votes of enough sane Republican voters to cause the local Republican machine lunatics to sit up and take notice and start to support candidates worthy of their party heritage.

  15. Eric said exactly what I was going to say. The independents don’t vote in the primaries, and thus the candidates are essentially forced into taking those extreme, red-meat positions that the kooky wings of the party will vote for. It’s evident in both parties, but more evident right now on the right because there hasn’t been a serious Democrat primary in four years. The fact that Rick Santorum was legitimately thought of as a serious candidate for more than a week is evidence of this.

    Any more reasonable Republican candidate will be gone from the primaries in the first month because that candidate would be branded as “too liberal.”

  16. Heres Romney on creationism.He’s a little squishy on whether he’ have encouraged creationism in public schools or voucher schools as W did.
    However, his comment is basically how I might view things.
    “In fact, Romney went even further explaining how as a devout Mormon he reconciled his faith with science: “True science and true religion are on exactly the same page. They may come from different angles, but they reach the same conclusion. I’ve never found a conflict between the science of evolution and the belief that God created the universe. He uses scientific tools to do his work.” ”

    From; Creationism: Why are Republicans afraid of science?
    Ask Senator Rubio | Washington Times Communities
    Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

  17. “Whacked out lunatics”? Are you kidding? Romney was as white-bread, nonthreatening, middle-of-the-road conventional big government statist as there exists in that party. Any candidate offering truly different ideas (smaller government, greater civil liberties and privacy, lower spending, end to foreign adventurism) was laughed off their ballot.

    We had no real choice in this election. None. Bush III versus Bush III.

  18. abandonwoo: “It’s like reading the old Far Side cartoon… with a long equation completed … and the professor bent over …writing: AND THEN A MIRACLE HAPPENS.”

    There are many great “Far Side” cartoons, but this isn’t one of them. Give credit where due — it’s Sidney Harris’s cartoon. Actually, the last step of the equation reads, “and then a miracle occurs”. Google it.

    It’s also a good parody of the Discovery Institute.

  19. Not this horses–t again. Republicans should become more like Democrats, according to people who vote for Democrats. Then they’ll fall all over themselves to vote for them, right?

    It’s like the last six years never happened. If the GOP was really dominated by Christ-crazed creationists, you can’t explain the nominations of Mitt Romney and John McCain.

    Meanwhile there has been no Federal budget in three years thanks to the Senate Democrats, coupled with deficits never seen in fifty years “paid” for by the Federal Reserve printing money to keep the interest rates low. What could possibly go wrong with keeping that up? Unemployment that’s never budged despite trillions thrown at the problem.

    In the meantime, we’ll pretend that Republicans want to steal your birth control and ignore that the President signed both the Bush tax cuts and the Patriot Act into law, after we stopped pretending to care about such things. And now he’s focused on repealing those tax cuts for some people, bringing in a whopping $79 billion, enough to cover hours of Federal spending–when he has not been able to garner a single vote in the Senate for his budgets. And we’ll pretend that Proposition 8 wasn’t voted in by Democrats.

    And the Republicans should try to nominate more people like Huntsman, whose strategy was to insult his base, meanwhile taking policy direction from people who hate everything they stand for.

    Unf–ckinbelievable.

    SC, if you like being a court jester for progressives, you’ll never fail of an audience. They love to see a circular firing squad, and any conservative who dumps on other conservatives is lauded by them. This phenomenon is called “strange new respect” and John McCain used to have it once upon a time. Huntsman will soon lose it, if he ever gets nominated for anything just as McCain did.

    I’m not a conservative, I don’t particularly care if you choose to betray your ideals or not by dumping on the only people who even pretend they want to put any of them in practice. Doesn’t mean it’s amusing to me to see you do it.

    Since my perspectives are shared by maybe 0.1% of the population I am never going to get to vote for someone who represents me. But one party pretends to care about free markets and restraining the growth of government, and occasionally puts someone in who actually tries to accomplish those things, and the other party vilifies people who believe in those things.

    The liberties you care about are liberties that your progressive audience does not even recognize as such. The liberties that social conservatives supposedly threaten are only hypothetically threatened, or it’s just made up out of whole cloth like Mitt Romney and birth control.

  20. Senor Curmudgeon,

    If you aren’t aware of this site and its author Rick Moran, I recommend him to those of the Republican persuasion. As a person of the Democrat persuasion, I appreciate his positions usually as being even-handed and thoughtful.
    http://rightwingnuthouse.com/

  21. Charley Horse

    Gabriel Hanna…10 paragraphs promoting Republicans
    and not mention Palin, the Republicans fascination with
    vaginal probes or the Teabaggers surely must have been
    an oversight…
    Ironically…Romney did get 47% of the popular vote…

  22. GH said…

    Republicans should become more like Democrats, according to people who vote for Democrats. Then they’ll fall all over themselves to vote for them, right?

    That’s the flaw in the reasoning. Suddenly a whole bunch of people who vote for the big government democratic socialism will suddenly become small limited government voters if only the GOP would kick its religious faction out of the party? Yeah, right. That won’t happen.

    There was a time I thought this. Then I watched a uber-moderate McCain get slaughtered by a new socialism demagogue. This time around the same self-righteous incompetent class warfare socialist who never had a real job beat another moderate, and a highly successful businessman, Romney.

    The problem is a majority of the voting electorate prefers the new socialism — pervasive big government democratic socialism that taxes “the rich” heavily, that spends and borrows on a massive scale, that redistributes wealth and hands out all kinds of free goods and services, and that controls economic activity through extremely heavy handed regulation that essentially gives government ownership rights over corporations and businesses, without the hassle of actually assuming ownership and accepting blame when they fail as a consequence of government actions. The useful idiots won’t know what hit them until its too late.

  23. I would have thought hard about voting for Huntsman, and so would a lot of other Democrats. Romney certainly never had a possibility of getting my vote, and he was certainly better than some of the other candidates (Bachmann, Perry, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Googled). John Huntsman came out and said he believes in the science of evolution and climate change. If that is insulting the base, then there are some serious issues with the Republican base (but we know that already).

  24. Suddenly a whole bunch of people who vote for the big government democratic socialism will suddenly become small limited government voters if only the GOP would kick its religious faction out of the party? Yeah, right. That won’t happen.

    You and Grabriel both seem to want to claim that the social policies of the GOP are not the issue while simultaneously arguing against changing them. GH pretty stridently attacks SC for his suggestion that the party divorce itself from those policies. That seems strange.

    And, incidentally, the difference between repealing and allowing the Bush tax cuts is a 39.6% vs. a 35% top-bracket income tax rate, respectively. Anyone who sees 35% as a bright shining star of free market capitalism but 39.6% as socialism incarnate is,frankly, nuts nuts nuts. The difference is a relatively minor change to our overall tax policy either way, and you’d have to be a complete partizan zealot to say that a 4.6% rise in the top income tax bracket is the difference between a capitalist and a socialist state.

  25. Gabriel Hanna

    @eric: you’d have to be a complete partizan zealot to say that a 4.6% rise in the top income tax bracket is the difference between a capitalist and a socialist state.

    Who are you talking to? No one said this. Like Megalonyx, you prefer to engage strawmen and stereotypes.

    Like ceteris parabis, who thinks the Tea Party are social conservatives, you guys simply cannot engage with the people who disagree with you as human beings, only as stereotypes and strawmen. (ceteris is also choosing to ignore that what he calls “vaginal probing” has always been routinely done by Planned Parenthood ANYWAY, since it is a common medical procedure. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003779.htm ) It’s because you cannot be bothered to listen when people say for themselves what they think. You’ve decided in advance you don’t need to respect them, assume invidious motives instead of the stated motives, and dismiss anything they might say while accusing them of being Christian racists who threaten our ladyparts.

    Neither Romney nor McCain ran on social conservative issues. They did what you said the Republican party should do, and you just pretended, and still pretend, it didn’t happen, because to do so would require actual engagement with what they did run on.

  26. Gabriel Hanna

    @Tomato Hunt:If that is insulting the base, then there are some serious issues with the Republican base (but we know that already).

    No, those things are not, and Mitt Romney said he accepted those things too; didn’t change your mind about anything did it?. What Huntsman said was “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” And that WAS insulting. All he had to do was leave out that last bit.

    If Huntsman hadn’t run against his base you’d be talking about him just like you do Romney. Just like you do McCain now.

    Meanwhile, the Democrat base is not much better on evolution or global warming. But you think that progressives like you are the only Democrats who matter. You can’t even show enough respect to the people who are otherwise on your side to find out what they think. I never see progressives asking how they can get their own base to take science seriously, because progressives don’t think any of those people matter.

  27. Gabriel Hanna

    I keep meaning to say this and forgetting to. 30% of conservative evangelicals voted for Obama in 2008. Just sweep it into the memory hole with the Obama tax cuts, the Obama Patriot Act, Obama’s warrantless wiretapping, Obama’s crackdown on marijuana users, Obama’s extrajudicial killings of American citizens, all of which you ceased to care about when your guy started doing it.

  28. Gabriel Hanna says: “Neither Romney nor McCain ran on social conservative issues.”

    That’s true. There are many explanations for McCain’s loss, with some truth in all of them. The economy was, at the time, in a bit of a crisis, which the Dems naturally exploited to their advantage. Also, Obama was a bit of a pop-culture phenomenon, whose negatives weren’t adequately publicized. I can handle that election result as a one-time fluke — if that’s all it was.

    But the Romney loss is far more of a problem. For that one, the economy should have been an issue that favored the GOP — and Romney especially, yet that didn’t fly. Obama’s campaign was rather nasty and divisive, but there’s really nothing new about that. Unfortunately, the Romney campaign failed to deal with it effectively.

    However, my post focused on something else — that the GOP brand was soiled by all the attention paid to the kooks in the party. Their existence was endlessly exploited by the Dems, and I can (at least partially) attribute Romney’s loss to that. Anyway, that’s what I was writing about. I’d like to take that issue away, so it won’t be an issue next time around. If we still can’t win, then that’s it. The country has changed.

  29. Gabriel Hanna continues to take me to task — even on threads on which I have not posted, to wit:

    Like Megalonyx, you prefer to engage strawmen and stereotypes.

    My dear fellow, much as I generally enjoy your intelligent, thought-provoking, and engaging posts, you might nonetheless consider the following:

    (a) review my history of posting on this forum, and attempt again to detect their generally jocular and, I daresay, friviolous nature and intent

    (b) consider whether you might perhaps be making out of me something of a strawman, as your post here would seem to indicate.

    Egad, man, you appear to be taking some of my comments rather too seriously! And — I merely suggest, not firmly assert — perhaps take yourself a tad too seriously on occasion as well?

    I nonetheless continue to greatly value your contributions on this most excellent of blogs — but at the moment, I can’t help but ask myself of you, “Whoa, what’s up with you?”

  30. Gabriel Hanna

    @SC:he GOP brand was soiled by all the attention paid to the kooks in the party. Their existence was endlessly exploited by the Dems, and I can (at least partially) attribute Romney’s loss to that. Anyway, that’s what I was writing about. I’d like to take that issue away, so it won’t be an issue next time around.

    SC, there will always be kooks on both sides! For every Akin I can show you a Kucinich. A media establishment that strongly identifies with Democrats, in every poll ever done, focuses on one and ignores the other. You don’t need to help them. You cannot make all the kooks go away.

    Romney and McCain went out of their way to condemn the kooks. The Republican party withdrew support from Akin. It didn’t help. They get tarred even with what they reject. And you are helping.

    Look at the coverage of the Tea Party vs the coverage of Occupy Wall Street. The rapes and other crimes committed at the Occupy rallies got only local coverage, as did the hazmat teams that had to clean up after the Occupy rallies. Unsubstantiated allegations of Tea Party racism were uncritically repeated by commentators with national audience. Just one example.

    40% of Democrats are creationist. 40% reject global warming. These numbers are better than among Republican voters, but not enough to brag about. Why are you helping Democrats defeat the people who agree with some of your principles? What are Democrats doing for what you believe in? Your beliefs are considered selfish and racist by your progressive commentators, and if there were no creationist monkeys to fling feces at they’d vilify you the same way they vilify them.

  31. Gabriel Hanna

    @Megalonyx:Egad, man, you appear to be taking some of my comments rather too seriously! And — I merely suggest, not firmly assert — perhaps take yourself a tad too seriously on occasion as well?

    Perhaps I do. Forgive me that I care about the things I care about, and do not assume an ironic pose. Forgive me too for refusing to use snark as an excuse for saying things that are not true.

  32. Gabriel Hanna says:

    Romney and McCain went out of their way to condemn the kooks. The Republican party withdrew support from Akin. It didn’t help. They get tarred even with what they reject. And you are helping.

    Wow — two grumpy days in a row! You must be on the verge of a great breakthrough in your work.

    What are Democrats doing for what you believe in?

    Absolutely nothing. Well, nothing positive.

    Your beliefs are considered selfish and racist by your progressive commentators, and if there were no creationist monkeys to fling feces at they’d vilify you the same way they vilify them.

    I’m used to it.

  33. @Gabriel H: Well, you certainly are on a tear. It’s true that I probably would have still voted for Obama over Huntsman, but it could have given me a real choice. (Romney, for various reasons, was not a candidate I could ever vote for.) If ~1.5% of the voting population had that same choice, it could be enough to swing an election. That’s my opinion, or at least what I pretend is my opinion, and what I pretend is my own business.
    I think you also misunderstand my purpose tho. I want to see the Republican party make a strong comeback. The Democratic party needs a strong Republican party to keep it in check. No doubt we disagree on how that should happen, and that’s is to be expected.

    Thank you too, for the invidious caricatures. I will be sure to redirect them toward the next hapless Cdesign Proponentist that wanders by. Pity them! ;-)

    PS: It’s good to have you back, Gabriel. I missed while you were away.

  34. You and Grabriel both seem to want to claim that the social policies of the GOP are not the issue while simultaneously arguing against changing them.

    Just for the record, speaking for myself in particular, the bolded is pure BS and an untruth with no basis in fact. And the entire sentence is a straw man.

  35. Tomato Addict — thanks for pointing me toward the Bruce Bartlett article. I too found it very interesting, especially the implication of how Rupert Murdoch banned Bartlett from his entire publishing empire, including the Wall Street Journal.

    Remember the TV series, Max Headroom? Its forewarning of total media control was quite prescient.

  36. @RSG: Alas, Max Headroom was a show I desperately wanted to see when it came out, but some I never had time (or cable). I ought to correct that deficiency.
    I guess it was around the same time that I never missed a Monty Python episode, but those were on public TV.

    I think I’ve read a few Bartlett articles before, but with this one (that one) I am adding him to my RSS feeds.

  37. Neither Romney nor McCain ran on social conservative issues.

    McCain and Palin both went out of their way to make comments about scientific research they thought were wastes, saying they would cut. The Dems hadn’t brought it up. It was a nonissue – until they brought it up. It was on nobody’s mind, and nobody asked them to comment on it, it was an issue entirely of their own choosing. But their comments made them look like they would inject partisan politics into science, a position very much associated with social conservatives.

    Romney answered questions about abortion, both in the primary and general. He could’ve done what SC suggested and said he had no intention of regulating people’s individual choices – he didn’t. He very clearly took the GOP platform position (pro-life) in the primary and then waffled in the general. He very clearly said he’d nominate SCOTUS judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade. This likely impacted the vote of women and moderate men. Tell me if you think this is untrue. I would agree with you if you said that Romney didn’t want to make social issues a part of his campaign. I would agree with you if you said he personally didn’t think they were that important. But I find it laughable if you want to say that social issues weren’t part of the GOP campaign. They were, whether Romney wanted them to be or not.

    Romney and McCain went out of their way to condemn the kooks. The Republican party withdrew support from Akin. It didn’t help. They get tarred even with what they reject.

    Romney and the GOP called for his withdraw in mid-August. Then the GOP went ahead and funded his campaign in late September. Akin was the only candidate Romney appeared in ads supporting. Do you think moderates are stupid?

    You’re absolutely right – a token, symbolic rejection followed quickly by renewed financial and publicity support will not help. If the GOP wants to convince moderates that they reject social conservative idiocy like Akin’s, they’ll have to actually reject them. Not simply look shocked and horrified when the man is unpopular but then renew the shoveling of money into his campaign six weeks later.

    Your beliefs are considered selfish and racist by your progressive commentators

    Which commentators? I don’t consider myself a progressive but – not me. And apparently not Tomato or Megalonyx.

    Jack Hogan – okay, let’s keep it simple. Do you agree with SC’s proposal that GOP candidates should make the statement he gives above, or not? If not, why not? Do you disagree with the principle of keeping morality private?

  38. If you read this post by Nate Silver … http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/in-silicon-valley-technology-talent-gap-threatens-g-o-p-campaigns/

    … then scroll down to the reader comments and select “Reader Picks”, you will get a whole series of liberal critiques of the Republican party. I’m not asking anyone to agree, but look at what they are saying. Half of the top ten comments are critical of Republicans on science and education, and 2 of the top four mention evolution directly. This is a snapshot of how educated liberal voters view the problems Republicans have to overcome.

    Yes Curmie, I know Democrats have their problems with science too, but it’s not such a huge image problem as it is for the Republicans.