Broken World, Current Events — April 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm

The Season of Republican Discontent


POLITCO recently ran an interesting story highlighting a concern of many Congressional GOP lawmakers regarding a relatively lackluster 2012 Presidential Candidate field. Here are a few highlights:

  • “I don’t see anyone in the current field right now, and people say that to me, as well” commented California Rep. (and CMC alum) David Dreier, Chairman of the House Rules Committee.
  • Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) weighs in “I talked to Gen. Eisenhower and he’s thinking about it. He thinks his age might be a factor but, if necessary, he’d come back and run.”
  • “We think we can beat the president, but we have to have somebody to beat him with” said West Virginia Rep. Shelly Moore Capito.

Bottom line: The GOP nomination is very much up for grabs. President Obama will probably break another record for most money spent in a re-election campaign.  Someone like Chris Christie, the current governor of New Jersey would energize the base, but let’s remember that an energetic base doesn’t always mean a successful candidate.

Look no further than the unsuccessful Presidential bid of Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin. Palin’s social conservative credentials energized the Republican base and even planted seeds for the emergence of the Tea Party movement, but did not result in a victory at the polls.

Ultimately my sense is that a GOP candidate that makes the national debt, limited government — and a more moderate but acceptable candidate on social and energy issues — will play well to the base, minus evangelicals and have one of the better opportunities to pick up moderates.

But this is not the only way for a candidate to win. Poll after poll shows stronger concerns on the social/moral direction of the country. There are a number of Americans who are concerned with the moral direction that the country is taking. For instance one could envision the sort of cross-cutting pragmatic politicians with strong social values appealing to blue collar democrats — think Reagan Democrats — and red state Republicans.

Ultimately the a successful GOP candidate will need to exploit some of President Obama’s weaknesses (that he’s out of touch, a slow decider, etc.) and minimize some of his significant strengths (that the government and economy has not fully collapsed on his watch, his management of the war, health care, etc.).


  • What are “strong social values”, I wonder?

    • I second that question.

      • Good point gentlemen. I suspect Laushkin is referring to conservative ‘moral values’ issues like restricting abortion and preventing gay marriage. Perhaps he can clarify for us if he catches these comments.

  • what I meant was that a candidate who had a strong social values appeal could still do well in 2012 (which would buck conventional wisdom). I meant that polls seems to indicate that someone would have a lot of room to run a campaign on social values.

    Though many Americans are tired of the traditional battle lines on abortion and marriage, many of them are still concerned about the state of the family and abortion issues.

    This is especially interesting when many blue collar dems. would have similar social values to many evangelical and conservative catholic voters.

    Though not traditional you could see a sort of pragmatist with a strong social values appeal doing rather well (as the recent late Huckabee polls pointed out).

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