Muth’s Truths: Must Republicans Embrace the Mushy Middle…or Perish?

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By Chuck Muth
December 14, 2012

Pliable “Gumby” Republicans and the media are telling us, in light of last month’s election results, that GOP candidates must move to the mushy middle to win elections.  Really?

Ronald Reagan was a conservative.  He ran as a conservative.  He governed as a conservative.  And he won as a conservative.  Twice.

George H.W. Bush (41) ran as a conservative; selling his candidacy as “Reagan’s third term.”  He won as a conservative.  Then he broke his conservative “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge and subsequently lost his bid for re-election.

Bob Dole ran as a moderate.  He lost.

George W. Bush (43) ran as a conservative.  A “compassionate” conservative.  The “true” heir to Ronald Reagan, we were told.  He subsequently governed like a moderate on many issues (No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TSA, etc.), but at least talked like a conservative, cut taxes like a conservative and ran for re-election as a conservative.

And won.

John McCain has always been a moderate.  Voted like a moderate.  Ran as a moderate.

And lost as a moderate.

Mitt Romney governed as a moderate in Massachusetts.  He then ran as a “severely conservative” Republican in the GOP presidential primary this year.  He won the primary, but no true conservative believed he was really one of us.  We all knew he was, in his heart of hearts, a moderate.

He lost.

Here in Nevada, John Ensign ran statewide as a conservative.  Voted as a conservative.  And won.  Until he was caught doing…well, you know.

Dean Heller ran as a conservative for Congress.  Was elected as a conservative.  Voted as a conservative.  Was appointed as a conservative to replace Ensign.  Voted as a conservative in the Senate.  Ran as a conservative this year.  And won.

Jim Gibbons ran as a conservative.  Governed as a conservative.  Talked like a conservative.  Then lost.  Not because he was a conservative; but because he horribly mismanaged his administration.

Indeed, note that Gibbons didn’t lose to a Democrat; he lost in a GOP primary to Brian Sandoval, who beat him by…running as a conservative.

Sandoval, like Romney, was always suspected of being a moderate.  And, disappointingly, he’s governed as a moderate after fooling enough Republicans into thinking he was a conservative.  Only time will tell if he can continue fooling enough of the people to get re-elected with a limited-government Libertarian and/or an IAP candidate in his race.

Joe Heck ran as a conservative in 2010 and won in a Democrat district against a sitting Democrat incumbent.  He then voted as a conservative in office.  Ran as a conservative again this year in a Democrat district.  And won.

So, um, tell me again why Republican candidates MUST move to the center in order to win elections?

1 Comment

  1. Ray Zehrung

    Dec 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Very nicely written Chuck. Brian Sandoval is not a conservative, so I don’t see him securing a second term. He claimed he would not raise taxes, but he is also not going to let the current ones sunset. He also responsible for signing the off road vehicle registration and licensing act, which will require ALL ATV and off road vehicles to apply for a title (if they don’t have one; many don’t), and pay an annual fee to the State. Biggest tax increase this year.

    So…to answer Chuck’s question. NO. The Republican Party needs to champion freedom and liberty, less government and lower taxes. By freedom and liberty, I mean they need to abolish unconstitutional laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act…(where in the Constitution does the federal government find this power?), drug laws (again, see previous parenthetical comment). Do away with the EPA, DOE, TSA etc…all of the agencies that perform functions that are the Rightful purview of the People.

    So..socially liberal, fiscally conservative. That is what a TRUE LIBERAL is supposed to do.