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GOP Presidential wannabes rush to the right

By DOUG THOMPSON
May 31, 2011

Former Massachsetts Gov. Mitt Romney makes his way to his vehicle after speaking at the Mediacom 2012 Presidential Candidate Series, Friday, May 27, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. The event was cut short when a smoke alarm went off in the building. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Republican Presidential contenders face a dilemma.

If they want to win the nomination, they need to drift to the right to appeal to the extreme conservative base that dominates their party.

But if they want to win the general election, they need to be more centrist.

So each of the top candidates in the current crop of GOP wannabes now espouse positions that are more right-wing than their positions just a few years ago.

That might give one of them the nomination but it won’t play well with the independent voters who hold the key to winning a national race.

Call it the tea party effect — a right-wing shift that can control the party and some local elections but one that still does not have the clout to control a national referendum where voters demand a more centrist candidate.

Which, as former Harvard mathematics professor and satirist Tom Lehrer once said, leaves GOP candidates “feeling like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.”

Writes Charles Babington of The Associated Press:

“The most visible shift in the political landscape” in recent years “is the emergence of a single bloc of across-the-board conservatives,” says the Pew Research Center, which conducts extensive voter surveys. Many of them “take extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues,” Pew reports. They largely “agree with the tea party,” and “very strongly disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance.”

Climate policy is a dramatic example of how GOP presidential hopefuls have shifted to the right in recent years. Former Govs. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah, along with other likely candidates, have backed away from earlier embraces of regional “cap-and-trade” programs to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Such stands were unremarkable in GOP circles just a few years ago. Sen. John McCain, the 2008 presidential nominee, supported a cap-and-trade plan to place prices and limits on the emission of heat-trapping gasses.

Now the position is anathema to millions of Republicans, and therefore to the party’s candidates. Pawlenty is the most effusive in his backtracking. “I was wrong, it was a mistake, and I’m sorry,” he says repeatedly.

The likely presidential candidates have shifted rightward on other issues as well.

Which plays well with the lunatics of the GOP but how will play in November?

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2 Responses to GOP Presidential wannabes rush to the right

  1. Carl Nemo

    June 1, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I personally believe that the the shadowy oligarchs that own and control the Republican as well as the Democratic parties are going to pull a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ for the 2012 elections.

    The current field of ‘rethug’ candidates is so weak that its laughable.

    It’s too early for them to expose their ‘Hail Mary’ pass to victory, but I believe that General David Petraeus will make a run for the presidency under the Republican banner in order to give ‘foggy-headed’ Americans who are seemingly in love with endless wars to get them ‘dad-gummed terrists’ whereever and whenever. General Petraeus is their kinda guy.

    He’ll be postured as another Ike (NOT), but most folks today that remember Ike are soon to meet their maker, so the ‘lie’ wlll be saleable to the unwashed, ill-informed much younger masses in terms of comparisons.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/7482356/General-David-Petraeus-tipped-as-Republican-2012-presidential-candidate.html

    He’d stand a good chance of winning because he’ll be advertised as a leader of ‘war heroes’ in these challenging times; I.E., the enemy of terrorists under every rock, nook and cranny of the world at large…no? / : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Sandune

    June 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I can see no earthly reason for Romney to suddenly become pro-life when he had the nomination in the bag. No one knows the LDS restrictions better than I do but when it comes to stomping on individual rights, he should forget about running for President. This whole mess with Gays and abortions is just another attempt at social engineering. Why does this belong in our federal government?