The Republican’s Dilemma

There are really two elections for president. The first election gets you nominated. The second gets you elected. They are very different elections with a very different electorate.

The 2012 presidential election is a long way off. There’s no way to know who the candidates will be (though President Obama as the Democratic nominee seems certain). The Republicans have a problem.

OK–first things first. Yes, I am a registered Democrat and probably more liberal than most. In that regard what I’m about to tell you is delicious.

However, this isn’t going to be a heavily partisan post. The Republican dilemma is real and the Republican leadership knows it.

There are really two elections for president. The first election gets you nominated. The second gets you elected. They are very different elections with a very different electorate.

Primaries attract less participation. Most people feel they’re not that important. That concentrates power in those who are motivated–often with narrowly defined issues that are very important to few.

Simply put you need to be farther right to win the Republican nomination than to win the general election. You need to be farther left to be nominated by the Democrats.

Today that motivated far-right wing of the Republican Party is the Tea Party. From where I sit they seem intransigent in their positions.

That’s why Mitt Romney has been forced to run away from moderate programs he endorsed while the Massachusetts governor. The same seems to be happening with Tim Pawlenty who was governor in Minnesota.

True moderates are scared to run because conciliatory talk about budget compromises or social programs will surely bring out “friendly fire” from the right! It’s already happened to Newt Gingrich!

Though the far right needs to be courted to get the nomination they really aren’t as necessary in the general election. It’s not as if these disappointed right-wingers will ditch a moderate Republican to vote to re-elect President Obama.

Candidates are left with a “Hobson’s Choice.”

Like I said, the election is a long way off. I’ll be interested in seeing how the Republicans intend to extricate themselves from this trap of their own making.

10 thoughts on “The Republican’s Dilemma”

  1. Republicans run their party like the Westminister Dog Show. They obsess about Perfect Conservatism the way dog fanciers obsess about the perfect conformation of a beagle’s snout with respect to its ear length. I expect they’ll soon be demanding pedigrees, blood and urine samples of their candidates.

    1. Your comments made me chuckle. My elderly (87) mother is a stanch “blinders on her eyes, cotton in her ears” Republican from MN. The Republican candidate could be an axe murderer (only kidding) and she would vote for the person. She complains that she is tired of seeing “him” on TV so much, but she is a political news junkie…what does she expect! This is going to be a longggg campaign..wish me luck!

  2. I too am a democrat and I get angry when Republicans say we do not love our country or respect our founders. Let us all work together to make this a better country by being respectful of our right to have freedom of choice.

  3. GF – your colleague Ed Page (Courant) asked a question on FB to this issue, and it quickly became an ugly argument. I PM’d him this:

    “You asked if there was a viable Republican Candidate for 2012. I say that historically, when running against an incumbent, the other party runs “sacrificial lamb” candidates (Dole, Kerry), unless there is REAL vulnerability (Carter, Bush Sr.). The REAL Republican contenders will wait till 2016.”

  4. If the economy continues to tank this election will be for the Republicans to win or lose depending on whom they nominate just like 2006 was for the Dems. Had they put almost anyone but Kerry up there, they probably would have clinched the vote. So far, the pool of candidates the GOP has revealed is lackluster.

    1. The Democrats have THEIR Nut, and he resides in the White House. He is STILL overseeing wars (as well as Gitmo) he campaigned to end. He has even started a Libyan “Non War”!Real/under unemployment is over 15%, $$$$ Trillions were wasted on govt give aways – leaving unheard of nation debt. Gas is over $4. His health care policy is no longer supported, even by many Democratic Nuts. He showed his diplomacy skills, with his recent inept handling of the Israeli issues.

      At least we Finally know that the (hopefully one term) NUT is actually an American!


      PS: I really enjoy Geoff’s Blog site (daily reader since 2003); less so though when it ventures into politics. I dislike the resulting name calling, ala your reference to Republican NUTS. Funny – NOT!

  5. Somewhere there must be a good Republican candidate, but I know not who. I do know that I do not like things the way they are. Seems to me not much is being accomplished. I quite seriously don’t think Obama has any business meddling in the Palistinian/Israeli border dispute. Why is everything the U.S.’s business? I think you are right that primaries don’t get a good voter turnout; but they should. Primaries are very important in getting your candidate on the slate.

  6. Some great points in the comments section, especially in regard to Obama’s reelection chances.

    9% unemployment, $4/gallon gas, unpopular ObamaCare, continuation of unpopular and ostensibly unnecessary wars, new unpopular and totally unnecessary war Libya, and an out-of-touch elitist who has played nearly ten times the number of rounds of golf in two and a half years as Bush played in his entire eight years (not an exaggeration — where’s the media, like they were with Bush?). Gee, sounds like a winner to me!

    So who really are the nuts? The party doubling down on failed policies and yet continuing to blame Bush two and a half years later? I believe an accurate definition of insanity is trying the same things yet expecting different results.

    Obama IS Carter. The inflation and our weakened position on the world stage is Carter redux — maybe Carter on roids. Obama is anything but a shoe-in.

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