Thursday, October 18, 2007

Republicans "out-conservative" each other

This is off Reuters News:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It's not enough for U.S. Republican presidential candidates to be conservatives. They've got to be bigger and better conservatives to win the hearts of right-wing America.

As Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain fight for votes, some of the hardest punches are from those accusing one another of being newcomers to lower taxes or opposing abortion.

"The Republicans have had to 'out-conservative' each other," said Lee Miringoff, pollster at the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, New York.

That contest heats up this week, when several candidates seeking the Republican Party's nomination in the November 2008 presidential election visit with conservative Christians at a "Values Voter Summit" in Washington.

But just being conservative isn't enough, said Doug Muzzio, professor of political affairs at New York's Baruch College. "It's how conservative are you, and how long have you been conservative?"

Appealing to the right is always a vital strategy for candidates seeking the Republican nomination, but the battle over conservative credentials is particularly sharp in this campaign because several of the top candidates have distinctly liberal-leaning records.

What is interesting about this story is that we have the top GOP presidential candidates doing everything they can to convince the base that they are more conservative than the others. It is a seriously blatant, pandering towards the hard-lined and Religious Right voters that the candidates are currently engaged in, regardless of how moderate, or liberal, their political and ideological records were in the past. The problem here starts when the GOP candidate is actually nominated, he is going to have to explain, to the moderates and independents, the hard-lined campaign promises and statements that nominee originally made to the base and Religious Right. How do you reconcile the two opposing political viewpoints between the hard-liners and the moderate/independents? And the more that these GOP candidates attempt to "out-conservative" each other, the harder it is to shift their political positions to the center for the general election.

No comments: