EVEN MCAULIFFE COULD BEAT HIM: Ken Cuccinelli, failed GOP candidate in Virginia.
The New York Times reports
that establishment Republicans are looking for ways to reduce the chances of nominating kooks from the extreme fringe of the Republican Party who then are defeated by Democrats. Only a kook could have been beaten by the repugnant Terry McAuliffe
in Virginia, for example.
I see a problem, however. From the article:
The party leaders pushing for changes want to replace state caucuses and conventions, like the one that nominated Mr. Cuccinelli, with a more open primary system that they believe will draw a broader cross-section of Republicans and produce more moderate candidates.
Similar pushes are already underway in other states, including Montana and Utah, and last week Mitt Romney said Republicans should consider how to overhaul their presidential nominating process to attract a wider range of voters. He suggested that states holding open primaries be rewarded with more delegates to the party’s national convention.
While the discussion may appear arcane, it reflects a fierce struggle for power between the activist, often Tea Party-dominated wing of the Republican Party — whose members tend to be devoted to showing up and organizing at events like party conventions — and the more mainstream wing, which is frustrated by its inability to rein in the extremist elements and by the fact that its message is not resonating with more voters.
You know where I"m going. Arkansas chooses nominees by primaries. The average GOP candidate in Arkansas is from somewhere out in the vicinity of Uranus in the political universe. Ever heard of Loy Mauch, Jon Hubbard, Charlie Fuqua, the Meeks boys, Nate Bell, Justin Harris, Randy Alexander, Jim Dotson, Debra Hobbs, Mark Martin? I could go on. (Yes, I know. A majority of voters chose them at various times.)
The real question is whether there really is much of a spectrum in the Republican Party, here or anywhere. You wouldn't think so judging from Republican political messaging. It is strictly binary. No Republican would ever vote for a Democrat, no matter how crazy the Republican nominee. The same for most legislative issues, with the Obamacare Medicaid expansion a still inexplicable outlier (which several Republicans are now running away from as fast as they can.) Same on abortion, gay rights, guns, environmental regulation, immigration, the black president. With rare exceptions — despite national polling that finds broad support for these things (Obama was
elected twice) — Republican dogma allows no wavering from deep enmity. It works pretty well in Dixie, I grant you.