Friday, January 18, 2008

Electability

Rudy Guiliani. "Electablity" can be a very ill-defined and transient property.
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Six months ago, the corporate media pounded us with mention of "America's Mayor". Conservatives were under all sorts of pressure to throw their principals to the wind and vote for Rudy Guiliani. Now, his campaign is in serious trouble.

"Electability" is a term that is getting thrown around quite a bit. What it ought to mean is "the ability to put together a coalition that can win elections". What it has come to mean from liberal Republicans is a liberal Republican. What it has come to mean from too many conservative Republicans is "someone I feel comfortable with on style".

Liberal Republicans like McCain and Guiliani CAN attract some crossover voters. The problem is that they would lose conservative voters. Their potential crossover appeal is great, but their potential coalition-building appeal is not, so their potential electability is lowered.

Some people though, use "electability" as a code phrase for "someone whose style I like". Those who like Ken-doll looks and great hair might say Mitt Romney is "electable" while bald and wrinkled Fred Thompson is "unelectable". Older southern conservatives love Thompson's gravel-voiced persona and insist that Thompson is the most "electable". Folks in Sunday School Class at First Baptist look at each other and agree that Mike Huckabee is the most electable, since the others have personal histories or even religious beliefs that they are not comfortable with.

In each of the above examples, the word "electable" is mis-used to mean someone whose style that people in their demographic personally feel comfortable with, not someone who is in a position to build a winning coalition. And again, it is the latter definition that is the correct one.

Armed with this understanding, I maintain that the only thing that keeps Ron Paul from being the most "electable" is a very stubborn section of the Republican Base for whom style trumps substance. They may agree with Paul on virtually every issue, but they don't like his style. Unfortunately, it is some of the things that these voters don't like about him that give him tremendous crossover appeal. Ron Paul is the only guy in the race that can get 18-34 year olds to vote Republican 15 years early. What I mean is, many of them may vote GOP after they turn 40, but Paul can get them to vote for a GOP candidate (him) right now, at age 25.

This was brought home by observing a Fred Thompson supporter trying to win over a young Paul supporter at a recent county committee meeting. "Fred Thompson is the only conservative in the race with the personal traits of a strong leader" the elder said to the younger. This of course, was an admission that Paul was a strong conservative. It was not Paul's substance that the elder objected to, but his style. "But we are Americans" said the younger, "We don't need to be led, we need to be free".

11 Comments:

Anonymous Bandito said...

Mark, you wrote:

"Armed with this understanding, I maintain that the only thing that keeps Ron Paul from being the most "electable" is a very stubborn section of the Republican Base for whom style trumps substance. They may agree with Paul on virtually every issue, but they don't like his style."

It's not just a matter of style, as perceived by a "very stubborn section" of the Republican base. A key issue is Paul's views on international policy, most especially his insistence that WE are to blame for 9-11; that we invited it.

That, above all, is why the laissez-faire minded conservatives like myself are turned off.

If he were simply articulating a position against "nation-building" while still acknowleging that we were attacked and that islamic terrorism has a long history which has not been caused or prompted by the West or the US, he'd get a better hearing.

That said, even if he did have a foreign policy that more closely matched that of the Republican base, he would still be near the bottom of the pile, because the Republican voters are just a bunch of RINO lever-monkey's on crack, taking their cue from RINO pundits like Hannity. They no longer want limited government.

8:31 PM, January 18, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Bandito,

It is nice to talk to another limited government conservative. I agree they are all too rare.

Who are you backing may I ask? If they drop out, you might want to take another look at what Paul's views are. He blames the terrorists for terrorism, and the neocons for a bad foreign policy that gives the terrorists credibility among ignorant groups that are their recruiting base.

I mean, he voted for Afganistan because they harbored a group that attacked us. Iraq was not in on 9/11. All we could say was "they might have weapons of mass destruction and since they don't like us they might use them on us". That is pre-emptive war, and it sucks as a policy.

If there was someone in your neighborhood who maintained that he had the right to go in and take over any house on the block where he thought someone might be acquiring weapons that might be used to hurt him we would probably declare the guy mentally ill, but that has been our foreign policy.

4:33 AM, January 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A key issue is Paul's views on international policy, most especially his insistence that WE are to blame for 9-11; that we invited it."

Motive, motive, motive. You don't blame the murder victim for his death, but you do look for the killer's motive. Get it?

I don't know how Paul could say any plainer that he doesn't blame Americans for 9-11. In fact, those empty suits running around talking about how "they hate us for our freedom" are closer to blaming Americans than could be said of Paul.

5:33 AM, January 19, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

Mark & Anon,

In the debate a few weeks back I understood that Paul blames the U.S. and our policies for 9/11. If you will remember that is what brought out the exchange between Paul and Giuliani. So Bandito and other conservatives should be concerned about Paul's foreign policy.

Now to Paul bringing in voters in their 20's to vote Republican. Historically younger people don't vote and I don't see that Paul is bringing a large coalition of young voters to the polls. If he is, why isn't Paul getting more than single digits in the primaries?

6:39 AM, January 19, 2008  
Anonymous Bandito said...

Mark,

In answer to your question, I was a Tancredo man, followed by Hunter, who I expect will be out before Super Tuesday. Thompson would be a "hold my nose" vote, but he will likely be out too.

But I wasn't responding with my viewpoints of Paul as much as stating how I think MOST conservatives and other Republicans view him. And it's clear that it's his foreign policy that alienates the vast majority of Republican voters, not mere "style."

Frankly, I expect the voters will choose one of the worst RINO's of the bunch, and there will be some serious independent or 3rd party action.

10:03 AM, January 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this scathing article from one of your own.


http://nwanews.com/nwat/Editorial/61298

I must say it is a great article. Now they give him coverage!

12:35 PM, January 19, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

After a poor showing in Nevada Duncan Hunter is dropping out. Now we wait for Fred Thompson to do the same after a not so great showing in S.C.
How long before Ron Paul drops out, Feb. 6th?

5:21 PM, January 19, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

When's Rudy dropping out? Paul is beating him like a yard dog in every election, and has more cash on hand too.

5:42 PM, January 19, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

Mark,

Rudy will drop out after Super Tuesday with more delegates than Paul could get in 3 election cycles. Money don't buy delegates.
If McCain holds on in S.C. and it looks like he will, this is a McCain/Romney battle.

6:01 PM, January 19, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

All we know for sure is who has more now, and that is Ron Paul. In addition to the four he picked up in NV it looks like the Iowa totals are going to be more favorable to Paul than the election percentages indicates due to concentration of support. He is on track to get at least 2 and perhaps as many as nine from Iowa.

6:44 PM, January 19, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

Mark,

As this thing goes along we are seeing nothing is for sure. Who will get what delegates? Thats the million dollar question.

It looks to me after S.C. and a win for McCain we are headed for a brokered convention. If we do, McCain will have the establishment behind him and win the nomination.
If that happens I will vote 3rd Party for the first time in my life. So long RNC & RPA!

6:15 AM, January 20, 2008  

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