The old media and many commentators, including many Republican savants, have been saying that candidates endorsed by Tea Parties cannot win in November. The old-guard Republicans whine that RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and “moderate” Republicans have been defeated in primaries when “they are the only candidates who can win.” The conventional wisdom says that idealistic conservatives are “Too far right” or “Extremist” in some elections and will not appeal to independents and certainly not to moderate Democrats.
That’s usually been true for the purest conservatives. But now Dick Morris, the shrewd liberal-turned-conservative and former political advisor to Bill Clinton (and a featured speaker at the upcoming Virginia Tea Party convention), says these unique times have generated a new paradigm. In his column of Sept. 15, “The Myth of Conservative Vulnerability,” he said:
….(T)he conventional media warns…that conservatives cannot be elected and bemoans the victory of true believers saying that it is equivalent to handing seats to the Democrats and the liberals. This reasoning, which made sense in other times, is badly flawed in today’s political climate.
When social issues like abortion, gays, and guns dominate the political discourse, moderates have a big advantage. Voters in these times tend to measure themselves on a left to right spectrum and find those flanked sharply to their right to be extremist on these issues and reject their candidacies.
But these days, social issues are in remission and economic/fiscal problems have, understandably, taken center stage. In this environment, purists of the right have a big advantage because nobody doubts the sincerity with which they embrace the goals of limited government, low taxes, and reduced spending. Politicians of all stripes–including most Democrats–vow allegiance to them as does the overwhelming majority of the electorate. In this environment, the distinctions of left and right give way to the difference between sincerity and insincerity, leaving the voters to judge….
He’s right. Look at the five principles of the Richmond Tea party:
- Constitutional adherance
- Limited government
- Fiscal restraint
- Virtue and accountability
- Free markets
Not a divisive thing there, nothing to turn off anybody but extreme leftists.
I think November will surprise the old guard, especially if we roll up our sleeves, get out our wallets, display our signs, and help in any way we can to help candidates who support Tea Party principles.