Tag Archives: moderate voter

Why Not A Moderate?

With the New Hampshire primary today (Tuesday), South Carolina on the 21st and Florida on the 31st, the nation is deep into its quadrennial process of selecting a President. With only token opposition to President Obama’s reelection (sorry, Darcy), even his failure to file a slate of delegates in  New Hampshire and problems with the Georgia ballot over birth certificate issues are unlikely to derail his path to the nomination.

On the Republican side, the national media has been almost obsessed with the “flavor of the month.” Each of the “not Romney” candidates has had his or her flirtation with being the candidate who can beat the former Massachusetts governor. And all the talk is “who is the true ‘conservative’ in the race?” They seem enthralled with who has the backing of the Tea Party.

But more important is, who can get things done?

The political parties have become increasingly polarized. Run to the right (or the left) for the nomination, and then to the center to win the general. The conventional wisdom leaves many voters wondering which candidate is the real candidate. The hard-line conservative or liberal who wins the nomination, or the more moderate candidate who might win the general.GOP elephant

Which begs the question … when did it become a sin to be a moderate in a primary election?

Most of us are somewhere in the middle. Is it possible that more people might turn out for a primary election if they thought there was a candidate in the race that appealed to them? So often, it seems, the moderates who will come out in the general election are voting for what they consider the least objectionable of two candidates because that candidate has expressed views they find distasteful pandering to the extreme of one side or the other to win the nomination. Is it any wonder why so many people say they have not enthusiastically voted for a candidate in years, if ever, maybe at any level.

In 1969, Richard Nixon called on what he referred to as the “vast silent majority” to support his plan to end the war in Vietnam. That silent majority still exists today. The majority of Americans who want to be involved in politics, but also have the priority of keeping the mortgage paid and the kids in school and food on the table and gas in the car. They want Washington, and Tallahassee (or insert your state capital here) and even city hall to do what they do and mostly leave them alone. They don’t turn out for primary elections because, if they’ve paid attention at all, they’ve heard a lot of far left or far right rhetoric and phony talking points that are absolutely as canned as they sound … and so what’s the point? It’s always for “the children” or “working Americans”, and, depending on party affiliation,  against “corporate fat cats” or “tax and spend liberals.” And both sides serve up a health dose of vitriol for the dreaded “Washington insiders” and “career politicians.”

The candidate that appeals to the moderate Republican is one who will be fiscally responsible and doesn’t want to impose his or her morality on the rest of the nation. I want a candidate who supports a strong defense, truly equal opportunity for all … including middle-aged white males who are trying just as hard, or maybe harder than anyone else to support their families. I’m a proud moderate Republican. I think there are maybe millions more like me, and it’s time we started voting in primary elections. I do, for no other reason than to tell whomever has run to the far right that we’re here, and we do vote.

I VotedThe good news, for me at least, is that the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2012 appears to be a moderate. To me, the rest of the field has been fairly weak, though some candidates had their appeal. Speaker Gingrich is almost always the smartest person in the room, but Governor Romney is the candidate who thinks most like I do.

The bottom line is, moderates have to stop being afraid to speak up when they disagree with the hard-liners. I can’t be the only one who is tired of being told I’m not “Republican” enough. If Republicans truly want to be a majority party, and not just “not Democrats” occasionally, it’s the moderates who will take them there.

Make room in that “big tent,” … you’ll be glad you did.

–scene–

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Whither the Bailout

WTF So the much-vaunted Wall Street bailout didn’t pass, and immediately the finger-pointing started.  Boehner blaming Pelosi’s speech on the floor, which I heard and it WAS very partisan.  She could have made a much better speech without trying to lay the entirety of the current economic crises at the feet of the Republicans and the Bush administration.  I think it’s pretty well known, at least among those who aren’t completely blinded by partisanship, that a during the Clinton administration mortgage companies, notably Fannie and Freddy, were REQUIRED to make loans to people who had very little hope of being able to pay them back.  A Republican “lassies faire” attitude towards regulation hasn’t helped anything, but there’s plenty of blame to go around.  And I give McCain props for at least admitting that.  Obama, Pelosi, Barney Frank … none of them seem to be willing to admit that maybe their guys might have at least a little culpability for the current mess.  They actually have a lot of culpability, and they don’t seem to be man, or woman, or leader enough to admit it.

Nancy Pelosi is probably the most partisan Speaker of the House since Newt Gingrich … without the Gingrich vision.  I’m no huge fan of John Boehner, but it seems to me that if you really want to help lead the country out of a crisis, you don’t take the Speakers privilege spot at the end of the debate and play the blame game.  You make a speech that tells why the bailout is good for the country.  I think a speaker that wanted to reach across the aisle and get some opposition support for the bill might have made a speech that acknowledged that there was plenty of blame to go around.  Nobody’s hands are clean in this mess, and for Pelosi and company to try to lay it all at the feet of the current administration is just disingenuous, short-sighted, and as transparent as a cheap Fredricks of Hollywood negligee.  I might have had some respect for her is she’d have shown some national leadership instead of being a party hack.

I know the Democrats want this issue for the election.  But this is not the time.

Of course, the Republicans aren’t much better, if at all.  If they got their feelings hurt by Pelosi’s speech and decided that they were going to vote against the bailout for that reason, then they need to collectively grow a pair and do what’s right for the country rather than trying to make a political point.  We learned back during the government shutdown during the Clinton administration that the Democrats are better at spinning the media and placing blame.  there was no way Gingrich should have gotten all the heat for that, but that’s the way it played in the press.

On the larger issue of the bailout … I really have mixed feelings.  I think it’s probably necessary on some level, though I’m not sure the taxpayers need to be on the hook for the $700 (b) billion.  I don’t think the government has any business setting compensation packages for CEO’s, but I also don’t think CEO’s should be rewarded for putting the entire economy at risk.  You’d think that companies would be smart enough to write a CEO contract that didn’t give a golden parachute to a CEO that basically runs a company into the ground … but they do.

My other issue is, I pay my mortgage on time.  I got a loan that I could afford on a house that is wonderful, but modest.  I looked for a house I could afford, got a mortgage that made sense for me and that I had a reasonable expectation to be able to repay.  I don’t doubt that there are some people out there in foreclosure who truly need assistance … that they find themselves in that situation literally though no fault of their own, and yes, perhaps they should be helped to keep their homes.

But I’d be willing to bet they are a tiny, tiny fraction of the number of mortgages in foreclosure.

So, as a taxpayer, I’m going to be asked to pay my mortgage, and some of someone else’s.  I really don’t see how that’s fair.  And I know, fair is rides and cotton candy and funnel cakes and farm animals … but I already pay my mortgage.  I was responsible … played by the rules … didn’t over-extend and  buy more house than I could afford, or try to make a big pile of money flipping real estate or buying investment properties … and now that the buzzards have returned to Hinkley, Ohio, I’m going to be asked to bail them out.  And that makes me a little angry.

OK … a lot angry.

Still, for the overall good of the economy, I’m willing to not reflexively vote against anyone who votes FOR what ever bailout is now negotiated.  And I think it’s a foregone conclusion that there WILL be a bailout.  Maybe having this first one go down to defeat is a good thing.  They’ll go back look again, and hopefully come up with something that protects ME as a taxpayer just a little bit, as well as rescuing the economy.  That may be too much to ask.

Make no mistake.  This is exactly what those people who are elected to go to Washington get paid to do.  John McCain was right on that score, even if it is being played as a political stunt.  There was some stuntiness to it, I’m sure.  But now that the rush is off, maybe they’ll really get a bi-partisan bill and not make ridiculous political speeches before the vote.  If there was EVER a time to put partisanship aside, we are there.  Just STFU, get to work, and TRY to get this mess resolved.

Is it any wonder that the Congressional approval rating is 20 points below the Presidents?

–scene–

Update:

I almost forgot.  On This American Life a couple of months ago, there was an outstanding primer on how we wound up in this mess.  For a plain-language non-partisan look at how we got where we are … click here.  It’s a very enlightening hour explaining the Giant Pool of Money.  Listen to the whole thing …

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