Posted by Bobby on May 3, 2009
So it seems like Jeb Bush has joined the populist chorus line that the GOP should shed its conservative, Reagan roots and try to attract moderates. I don’t disagree with the premise that the GOP (or any political movement) has to enlist the help of some moderates to get what they want. My disagreement is with the premise of attracting moderates by being moderate!
Let’s say you are a media consultant working for a presidential campaign. Your client asks you to make a commercial geared toward moderates. What would your commercial be? What issues do moderates care about? As a matter of fact, what do moderates think about certain issues? Let me make it simpler. What would a commercial about health care say in order to attract moderates? In short, nothing.
That is because moderates–by definition–have no opinion! This is why 90% of the ads for presidential and other political candidates are negative. They are trying to attract moderates. A candidate doesn’t want to say what his positions are on an issue, because it might offend someone with moderate tendencies–which are neutral in nature. Instead, the candidate attacks his opponents extremist side to point out the non-moderate nature of their opponent. It is a vicious back and forth of “I’m moderate and he’s not” that is modern politics.
The fact is, you can not attract moderates by being moderate. There is nothing attractive about being moderate. A moderate presidential candidate seems weak and indecisive. They seem out of touch and favors the status quo.
Look at John McCain. Last election, the GOP nominated the most moderate and bi-partisan individual they had to offer. And he lost! He didn’t attract moderates. He repelled them. To them, he seemed weak and unfit for the job. The economic crisis showed these moderates that they didn’t want a man of moderation. They wanted a man of action! They wanted someone who was going to take big steps to fix the economy and fix Washington. Basically, they wanted an extremist!!!!
There is only one way to attract moderates, and that is the way Reagan did it. He did it by being conservative. He said, “this is what I stand for.” And the moderates like it. They liked it so much, he won with forty-nine state landslides and elected him twice. Be conservative and Moderates will come. If they don’t, either they don’t get the message, or they are not moderate.