Wednesday, February 13, 2008

McCain too liberal? Try Republicans for Obama!

Many conservatives seem upset with John McCain, who they percieve as being too liberal. Yet I have to wonder just how much influence such conservatives have in the Republican party anymore.

Conservative Talk Radio endorsed Romney, but the voters didn't follow their advice in sufficient numbers for Romney to succeed. Gallop polls suggest that as many as 1/4 of Republican's nationally are voting for Huckabee, who may be conservative on social issues like abortion, but is more like a big government Democrat on everything else.

John McCain has won the lead in the primaries, because many Republican voters put him there. Changes are happening in the Republican party. Instead of worrying about John McCain, perhaps conservatives should be more concerned about the Huckabees, or even worse...

Obama Republicans?
[...] If one great communicator -- the eloquent Ronald Reagan -- could build a coalition of disaffected Democrats that swung both of his presidential elections his way, can an almost-great communicator -- the fiery Barack Obama -- build a coalition of disaffected Republicans to swing the Democrat primary election his way?

It's possible, says Brian F. Schaffner, an assistant professor of political science at American University in Washington, D.C. "Obama definitely has the potential to win over some Republicans in the same way that Reagan won over some Democrats," says Brian F. Schaffner, an assistant professor of political science at American University in Washington, D.C.

Even though Obama probably takes more liberal positions on many issues than does Hillary Clinton, Schaffner says the perception among Republicans is that he is more moderate.

"This is a matter of style over substance," Schaffner notes. "Obama speaks so often of bringing the parties together and working with Republicans, he seems less polarizing to Republicans than Clinton, who has long been demonized by that party."

The Pew Research Center corroborates Schaffner's inkling. It recently produced a report showing that Obama is perceived as more liberal than Clinton among Democrats, yet is seen as more moderate than Clinton among Republicans.

One Republican who isn't afraid of Obama's liberalism is John Martin, who directs the grassroots Web organization "Republicans for Obama."

A Bronx, N.Y., native who was very active in the Young Republicans in college, Martin, 29, is in law school but serving on active duty in Afghanistan as a U.S. Navy reservist. E-mailing from Afghanistan, Martin said his group has more than 400 members since he last checked and that the Web site's server received so many clicks the day Obama won Iowa that it crashed.

Lisa Kinzer, 30, is another rock-ribbed Republican who's gone Obama. The Norman, Okla., native has been a registered Republican for 12 years. She has nothing against President Bush. But she does have a problem with the GOP's 2008 candidates. [...]

So while Republicans are busy shooting themselves in the foot, arguing about who is a "real" conservative or who is a "RHINO", and generally trashing their own party and tearing it apart, swing voters, conservative Democrats and even some Republican's may be looking elsewhere to cast their vote in November.

I find it incredible that Republicans would actually believe that Obama is more conservative than Clinton, when Democrats believe exactly the opposite. In fact, his record shows he was the most liberal senator in 2007. The most liberal, out of 100 senators.

One could simply dismiss it by claiming that Republican's have "air heads" in their party too. I don't doubt it, but that might be too easy a way out. It ignores the simple fact that voters don't find a split and quarreling party attractive to vote for. Obama is an excellent speaker, and people who follow their emotions more than facts are easily swayed. But I think it also points to the fact that many Republicans, and people who are tempted to vote Republican, are more liberal, more flexible, than the Hard Right.

If the party is going to have a Big Tent and win elections, it can't be totally ideologically rigid. It will have to encompass more diverse views within the party. That is in fact what a coalition does; and it is with coalitions that Republicans win elections. Where is our coalition?

If Republicans don't unite soon and get their act together, they may find they no longer even have a place on the stage. A new coalition needs to be formed, and those who cannot or will not compromise with their fellow party members may find themselves left out all together.

Related Links:

You Gotta Hand It To Obama

A riff on "redefining conservatism"

The GOP is not the "Conservative Party"

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