Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Reply From a She-Moose? Illinigirl chimed in on my Centrist Party post of yesterday
My reaction as I read this post: until you get to the hypothetical platform for the party, Mark gives a pretty good description of your average Republican. With a few notable exceptions -- I would buy that your average Republican is more likely to be religious and centrists would likely be more in favor of environmental restrictions -- I am having trouble determining which centrist qualities in this description are not really Republican-lite ideas. Mark or anyone else -- want to take a whack at it? Convince me.
Well said, madam. The swing voter is "Republican-lite" and needs to be scared into voting Democratic. The Democrats are good at scaring people into believing that they need to be protected from the greedy Bible-thumping rednecks. The trick for Republicans is to point out that (1) We're not greedy, we're looking out after the best interest of the country; big government and big taxes does more harm than good. (2) We might be a bit more religious than y'all, but you agree with us more than the if-it-feels-good-do-it crowd. (3) Even with Sen. Lott's troubles, we aren't racists, unless the failure to follow Jesse Jackson's every proclamation is the definition of racist. True, we could be a bit more sensitive at times, but I'd make the case that the rightmost 20% of the GOP is less racist than the Black Caucus. The GOP can make those cases with a little effort and a deft touch. As for the Northeastern moderates, there is a cultural divide between them and the evangelical conservatives in the GOP. They're more comfortable culturally with the more-secular Democrats, but are conformable with Republican values on economics and foreign policy. For the older moderates, they long for the day when the GOP didn't have all these Bible-thumpers raiding their country club. For the younger moderates who grew up on the sexual revolution and feminism, the traditional morality of the conservatives seems like a throwback to a different universe. What they need to do is to learn to speak a little Baptist. Ask Steve Forbes. Back in 1996, he ran as a moral moderate with a bad Episcopalian accent, being pro-restrictions on abortion and sniping at the Christian Coalition. Before the 2000 campaign, he learned to speak rather fluent evangelical, learning how to talk about moral issues that his East Coast circle didn't talk about much. As a result, he made some inroads into evangelical circles in the runup to the 2000 campaign, before his snippiness and the McCain Express did his campaign in. If the moderates won't learn Baptist, conservatives need to learn how to speak Oprahese. We need to promote tax cuts as being compassionate to the taxpayer and to the economy in general. We need to show the emotional and physical benefits of chastity and marital faithfulness and show the real downside of abortion. Once we start speaking the same language, moderates and conservatives will get along better than you would thing.

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