Friday, December 21, 2007

A Conservative Viewpoint
- An Early Prediction In The Race For President

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

There are two jobs that would drive me crazy: a pollster and a campaign manager. With the 2008 elections less than a year away these folks are working overtime trying to make some sense of a diverse electorate. Candidates today depend on polls to assist them in developing their message so that it sells- perhaps too much so. It is no longer enough for candidates to be themselves. Voters are fickle. Someone that supports a candidate one day may oppose them the next. No wonder a candidate’s survival often depends on double-talk, amnesia, and evasiveness.

There are three distinct groups of political ideologies in America today: conservative, moderate and liberal. Thirty- six percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives, 35 percent as moderates, and 26 percent liberals. There are approximately 72 million registered Democrats, 55 million Republicans and 42 million Independents. To capture a national or statewide election a candidate must have crossover appeal. For regional and local candidates, incumbency is difficult to overcome. Crossover plays a smaller role. The voter base is more stable. It’s easier to define a message that resonates.

There are five groups of conservative voters:

Enterprisers: consist of primarily patriotic, affluent, white men who favor an assertive foreign policy and limited social welfare.

Social Conservatives: A broader group, they support some government intervention, especially concerning the environment. They are primarily white Southern females.

Pro-Government Conservatives: very religious and socially conservative.

Upbeats: the name speaks for itself- don’t necessarily identify with any party but overwhelmingly supported George Bush in 2004.

The Disaffected: cynics unhappy with their own financial situation. Many don’t vote.

On the other side liberals, with their 26 percent of the electorate, are less diverse in ideology than some of their Democratic brethren. They’re generally well- educated, affluent and highly secular. They’re liberal on social issues like abortion and gay rights. They oppose an assertive foreign policy. They’re strong environmentalists and solidly support giving to the poor. Their passion provides an effective, united voting block. Eighty one percent of this group supported John Kerry.

Conservative Democrats: religiously and socially conservative. Often have a more moderate approach to foreign policy. Sixty- five percent voted for Kerry.

Disadvantaged Democrats: primarily minorities and heavily female. They don’t trust government or business, yet support programs for the poor. Eighty- two percent supported John Kerry in 2004.

What do Republicans need to do to hold the White House in 2008? The four major candidates- John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee- can’t win without first capturing the conservative vote.

For Huckabee that doesn’t appear difficult. He’s a Southern Baptist minister, attractive to conservative voters and Evangelicals. Assume he’s the nominee and gets the bulk of the 36 percent of the conservative vote. He still needs to draw moderates from both parties. Social conservatives appear to be his best opportunity. They’re extremely concerned about the growing immigration problem and Huckabee offers a plan that, while strict, may reverse the tide of illegal aliens entering this country. On the flip side, being an ordained minister might turn off some secular voters.

Conservative Christians have a problem with Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Even though this shouldn’t be a litmus test, with much of this block of voters, it will be.

Giuliani also has difficulties convincing this group that he’s the real deal. He’s pro-choice, has had three marriages and an on- going public feud with his children. His poll numbers are dropping.

That leaves McCain. He’s experienced and has had a resurgence in the polls. He must avoid scandal to keep moving up. A decorated war hero, he may be someone conservatives can live with. He could appeal to enough Democrat Conservatives to put him over the top on Election Day.

Who can capture the White House for the Democrats?

The leading candidates are Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and John Edwards. Edwards and Obama would carry the majority of votes from the 26 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Liberal.

Clinton, less than appealing to this group because of her stance on the war, will, as the nominee, bring those voters home to roost. She must hold her base and capture a significant portion of the social conservative vote to win.

Edwards and Obama oppose the war. They are betting that will bring them the nomination and then victory in November by tapping into the anti-war sentiment. Obama’s “fresh face” appeal may get him the nomination, but his inexperience will keep him from being elected. If Hillary stumbles and experience becomes an issue, Edwards will be the nominee.

So here’s my non-professional early prediction: Hillary Clinton vs. John McCain. McCain wins.

Bob Steinburg is a good writer. However I am not sure he is a good predictor. This prediction will certainly be interesting if it comes to pass.

Since I generally don’t like to make predictions I have to express some admiration for Bob’s willingness to go out on a limb like this. However I think it important to summarize some of the attributes of the two candidates he sees as winning their party's respective nominations.

Hillary Clinton - Democrat. An extreme liberal who sees taxing you more as the proper role of government; and yet she has convinced a large portion of the populace she is moderate. She failed her bar exams the first time she took them; and yet she has convinced much of America that she is not a devious person who takes credit for the ideas of others but is the smartest woman in America. She knew her husband was cheating on her; and yet for political gain managed the “bimbo eruption” process to defend him, cynically enabling him to cheat on her again and again. This is the woman who just this week put out a flyer attacking Barack Obama using quotes from John Edwards as if he put it out. This is a person who has abused power on so many occasions using arrogant duplicity that the idea she will have the power of the Presidency is frightening to anyone who believes in our system of government.

John McCain - Republican. Graduated at the BOTTOM in his class at Annapolis. Has never held any significant position of leadership. Has a reputation for having rages and throwing temper tantrums if anyone questions his decisions. He has contempt for anyone who wants our borders protected. He is loved by the press because he is condescending and contemptuous of his party’s base, conservatives. He led passage, in McCain-Feingold, of the most damaging subversion ever to the right of free speech, especially the political speech that was at the heart of first amendment rights, and as usual had nothing but disdain and contempt for anyone who expressed concern. Many will never forgive him for undermining the appointment of conservative justices with his “Gang of 14”, a blatantly arrogant move to subvert a President he still hates. A blogger Publius has posted “There are plenty of people that . . . dislike him, and among them are bloggers who will help crucify him.” [I am one blogger who will help.] The one issue on which he reliably agrees with conservatives is the surge in Iraq. He led that battle.

Bob, you may be right. I know you are smarter than I. These two may be the finalists we have to choose from. However neither is someone I can vote for with an easy conscience. I sure wish you hadn’t ruined this Christmas by making these predictions. If they really are the finalists that is surely going to ruin next Christmas too.


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