Skip to comments.Election 2006: Some in GOP still don't get it
Posted on 12/11/2006 11:06:46 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez
Our view: In Arizona and nationwide, voters rejected rigid ideologues in favor of those who promised moderation, dialogue.
The picture that emerged from last month's elections, at both the state and the federal level, showed a majority of voters weary of hard-line, intransigent ideologues on the far right.
We know that, because voters turned both houses of Congress over to the Democrats and for the first time in many years gave Democrats 27 of the 60 seats seats in the Arizona House of Representatives.
They also re-elected Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, giving her a 27 percentage point victory over her ultra-conservative challenger, Republican Len Munsil.
And so there is some irony, to put it kindly, in the comments from some Republicans who believe the party suffered because its candidates were not conservative enough. That line of thinking suggests that what voters really wanted were tougher, more rigid conservatives. If that were true, then candidates like Republican Randy Graf, an aggressive conservative who was running for Congress in District 8, should have trounced his Democratic opponent, Gabrielle Giffords. But the opposite happened. Voters told Graf to take a hike and sent Giffords to Washington.
It is remarkable, then, to hear Republicans like Bill Montgomery, who did so poorly in his race against Attorney General Terry Goddard, declare: "The Republican Party took a hit because we strayed from the principles that make our party so strong and that serve to unify our membership, which consists predominantly of fiscal and social conservatives."
This is the same as saying Republican conservatives should stick to the principles that made them unpopular and that voters, for the most part, rejected.
Montgomery was quoted by reporter Daniel Scarpinato in a Star story last Wednesday. We are more inclined to agree with Steve Huffman, a Republican moderate who ran a primary against Graf and lost.
"I think the most important conversation we have to have right now is: 'Are we where the voters are?' " Huffman said.
It's an important, practical question that suggests that candidates should be responsive to voters' concerns. It makes perfect sense, and if other Republicans were to accept reality they would see that there was nothing mysterious about the election results. Voters rejected the fringes and moved toward the political center. The Republicans in District 8 who rejected Huffman didn't get it.
Many of them would undoubtedly agree with Montgomery, a political novice, who told Scarpinato, "I've always had a problem with the term 'moderate.' If you always take the middle ground, I don't see how that's a virtue. That's not leadership."
On the contrary, we would say that it is both a sign of leadership and a necessary asset to realize the wisdom in compromising on 10 or 20 percent of the issues in order to achieve success on 80 percent of the others.
Compromise is not a dirty word, nor is it fatal to try to understand another viewpoint in the hope of negotiating an issue that gives both sides some of what they're seeking. A case can be made that compromise is a sign of wisdom and maturity.
The point that hard-liners like Montgomery miss is that public service does not require rigid adherence to a personal ideological agenda. It requires an ability to remain flexible enough to respond to the people who elected you as their representative, not their emperor.
Failure to accept the fundamental message of the last election will eventually dilute Republican power at the state level as sure as it has at the national level. Voters want a change, not a restatement of the same old manifesto.
You can try to figure out where the votes are, and position yourself there, or you can try to persuade the voters. To do neither is a losing strategy.
What we learned from this past election, is that the votes that win elections are in the center.
This is all silliness. The exit polls already answered this question. The voters were asked the most important issue that drove their vote that day.
It was not abortion. It was not guns. It was not immigration. It was not the economy and It Was Not IRAQ.
It was corruption scandals. Period. Full stop.
There is no ideological message whatsoever to be found in the election. None. It does not say you need to move to the right. It does not say you need to move to the left.
It says only that the GOP should not have had corruption scandals. Get rid of them, find some dirt on the Dems and get explicit indictments, and it all turns around without the party moving in either direction.
Oh please, spare me this deranged spew. If only the GOP were more "far right" and ideological. If they were, we wouldn't have had massive spending and unsecured borders. And somehow I doubt voters would send a message about being against "instransigent ideologues" by voting for the worst ideologues ever to populate Congress in the form of Pelosi and her far left extremist pathological, stand for nothing, agendless, visionless caucus.
But this writer knows damned good and well voters voted the way they did because the media portrayed for them one side of American's condition domestically and its position in the world and on Iraq, all of it negative, while reporting nothing about a record economy or the success we've had fighting terrorism and rebuilding Iraq. That is the long and the short if this election and this writer knows it because he/she/it helped to brainwash voters into voting against the president and party who helped give them the best conditions they've enjoyed in a long, long time. It's hardly as this delusional idiot claims that voters were voting against partisan extremes by voting for extreme partisans. Give me a break.
Hi ya Luis!
"On the contrary, we would say that it is both a sign of leadership and a necessary asset to realize the wisdom in compromising on 10 or 20 percent of the issues in order to achieve success on 80 percent of the others."
You know, moderate Republicans love to tell us conservatives to compromise on that 10 to 20% in order to get 80%, but they never deliver even 10 or 20% of the 80% they promise. I'm looking but I don't see no stinking 80% of fiscal restraint and small government ANYWHERE.
What I relearned and had reconfirmed from this past election is that Americans are generally politically ignorant and really do not have a great deal of decent choices.
It's all theatre.
You don't have to look very hard for that, unless you're relying on the MSM: Rep. William Mollahon, Rep. William Jefferson, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Senator Harry Reid, etc. But the media all ignored these scandals to focus solely on the GOP's indiscretions, nearly all of whom resigned while the above named Demo Low Lives won re-election and are still in Congress. THAT is why the GOP paid the price for ethics in this election while the Dems. had theirs utterly ignored and were rewarded with Congressional control instead. We live in a country that's now a combination of Orwell and Alice in Wonderland.
Oh by all means let's do follow the mob. After all, there's no way all those people could be wrong is there.
And besides, it's not the job of elected leaders to, well, lead. They've got to follow the whims of the majority and make sure they get what they want.
Then they've got to see that they get it good and hard.
It never fails to irritate me to see the tendentious use of "moderate"--as, for instance, in "moderate Republican" or (as used here, the obverse) "Republican moderate."
In such expressions, the writer (or speaker) invariably considers the noun to be something of disrepute; the adjective "moderate" confers upon it an aura of semi-respectability.
It is, of course, enormously condescending. Better to be openly despised than to be treated as a credit to one's kind...such as it is.
People are not as stupid as you claim that they are.
People know that the economy is good, and they know that the war is not as good as they hoped it would be.
Kid yourself if you want, just be ready to watch years of DNC control of government if you do.
As has been illustrated ad nauseam for the past six years, nearly every attempt at bipartisanship by the Bush White House has been met with cries that it wasn't nearly enough (prescription drugs, No Child Left Behind, etc). Ironically, the one compromise that Bush did that was truly Solomonesque -- allowing Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research for the first time, but only on existing lines -- has become a rallying point for the Democrats because Bush refused to allow human beings at their earliest stage to be treated like rats bred for lab experiments.
If the question is "'Are we where the voters are?'" why don't YOU, Luis, tell us where YOU think they are -- and what the GOP has to do to meet them. And none of this bullschtuff about not being ideologues or being open to dialogue, because that's the kind of nonsense that led to that worthless Iraq Study Group report. Be specific, if you actually have issues that pique you. Let's see if you're up to the task.
LOL, I couldn't get past the first line, which was, of course, a baldfaced lie.
By their own yardstick, the Republicans did not achieve their objectives. The remedy available to voters was to put the other fellow in - many of them were lulled by the fact that "Blue Dog" Democrats claimed to share their values. It was a lie, of course.
"The center" = the ignorant, mindless, soundbite-susceptible chattering class.
Yeah, let's go there.
Of course the DNC has scandals, but social conservatives reject even the mere mention of impropriety even as its leadership is mired in it.
On the other hand, the DNC says "so what, we're only human?", and the voters accept them.
The long and the short, if you're going to set yourself up as the party of family values and morals, you best hold up to scrutiny.
I admire Bill Bennett, but it's unfortunate that the man who wrote a book called "Virtues" turns out to have a problem with gambling.