Warning to the GOP: The way rhetoric is being used in the Republican primary campaign, there may come a point where moderates may simply decide they cannot vote for a Republican candidate. No, this isn’t just a personal reaction. You can bank on this being a problem if trending continues.
Why would moderates vote for a political party that has increasingly used the word “moderate” as a filthy political word? We’ve now seen a parade of candidates use it. And the phrase “going moderate” has now become a major attack phrase by conservative talkers, some columnists and politicians.
Now we have — I kid you not, not joking, this is not ironic, this is not from the Onion but from Talking Points Memo — Senator Rand Paul attacking former Sen. Rick Santorum for being a moderate? Is this a SNL post or reality? Reality:
Well, you know you’re starting to see that some of the conservatives have gone here and there and they’re looking for someone who they think is their champion. But before they settle on Santorum they need to realize he was a big supporter of Medicare Part D, the expansion of Medicare, a big supporter of No Child Left Behind, I’ve seen him asked directly about the Department of Education, he’s for it. … We still believe in eliminating the Dept. of Education, that there is no function on the federal level for that. But Rick Santorum’s a big supporter of the Department of Education; he in fact voted to double the size of the Department of Education with No Child Left Behind. So I call him a big government moderate and I think conservatives need to be wary before thinking Santorum can be their champion.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has made the word “moderate” part of his stock attack speeches:
Among observers, it’s widely considered an attack, but Newt Gingrich says calling Mitt Romney a “Massachusetts moderate” isn’t going negative, it’s merely an “accurate description of who he is.”
While the Republican presidential candidate has loudly touted that he would run a positive campaign, and has instructed staffers and supporters not to criticize fellow Republicans, Gingrich has not backed down from calling Romney a “Massachusetts moderate,” a seemingly pejorative phrase first offered up last week as Gingrich defended himself against Romney’s charges that Gingrich isn’t conservative.
“When a Massachusetts moderate says I’m not conservative, it makes me want to laugh when he goes down that road,” Gingrich told radio talk host Tony Powers.
Oh. And by the way.
Some conservatives charge that Newt Gingrich is really a
(HIDE THE KIDS,
KEEP THEM AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER
COVER THEIR EYES IF THEY’RE CLOSE TO THE SCREEN)…moderate.
If the economy slightly improves and President Barack Obama can present himself as someone who doesn’t think moderate is a dirty word or a word that reflects mushy, uneducated people who just don’t get the glories of strict ideological thinking, why would many moderates vote for the GOP? They will vote for the party that doesn’t necessarily respect them, but seems to include them in their tent.
And right now, the GOP is not just not doing it but broadcasting that fact.
Prediction: If Mitt Romney wins the nomination he will indeed try to edge back to the center to look a bit more…(PUT A HANDKERCHIEF AROUND THE DOG’S EYES…
IF YOU’RE READING THIS ALOUD PUT COTTON IN THE EARS OF CORN..
BE SURE TO DELETE THIS POST WHEN YOU’RE DONE SO IT”S OFF OUR COMPUTER.
NOW THIS IS EVEN MORE SHOCKING THAN THE CHARGES AGAINST JERRY SANDUSKY BUT HERE GOES:)moderate.
Because it’s hard for either party to win if they don’t win over moderates and centrists and independents as well as those in their base’s choirs.
Which is what some in the Republican Party seem not to want to do.
Graphic via shutterstock.com
UPDATE: Here’s Joe Scarborough about how an easy Romney win might upset conservatives. The “m-word” again.
“I will tell you this. I know this sounds crazy, but if I’m just looking at the field right now: keep your head down, don’t blow yourself up in Iowa, because there’s going to be a lot of teeth gnashing and weeping after the guy that’s got a 24% ceiling wins Iowa and the conservatives split,” Scarborough added. “Cause everybody’s going to start looking and saying OK, who is the conservative? We are not going to allow a guy that has the 24% of the moderates in the Republican party voting for him, while this conservative party pushes another, let’s say, Gerald Ford to the finish line. By the way, I need to explain this. This isn’t necessarily what I feel. I need to explain this. I’m telling you, as I predicted, crazy never wins in the Republican party, and it doesn’t.”
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.