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Hucka-bridge to Nowhere June 3, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in 2012, Christian Right, National Politics, New York Politics, Obama Administration, Presidential Politics, Republicans.
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mikehuckabeeOn today’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough discussed a recent network poll about potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates.  Leading the pack was former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee at 23% with Alaska governor Sarah Palin close behind at 21%.  Former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney scored in at 13% – an earlier CNN poll showed Romney leading the field at 21%.  Lastly, former Florida governor and presidential sibling Jeb Bush received 6%.

The MSNBC poll was taken among self-identified Republicans (apparently they found some); the CNN poll was conducted on the general voting populace.  What is striking about these results is that among Republicans, the religious ultra-conservatives win.  When polling all Americans, however, a more moderate Republican – Romney – comes out on top.  As Scarborough pointed out, 44% of Republicans prefer a candidate so outside the mainstream of America that he or she can not win. 

These are bad days for Republican moderates.  Not only is the party expelling and expunging them, the the Obama administration is picking them off for cabinet posts and party-switching.  In a brilliant stroke, the administration tapped NY Republican congressman John McHugh as Secretary of the Army.  This follows the selection of Utah governor (and potential 2012 rival) John Huntsman as Ambassador to China, the defection of Arlen Spector, and the choice of former Republican congressman Ray LaHood of Illinois as Transportation Secretary.  The selection of McHugh leaves New York’s 29 Congressional districts with only two Republicans — one of whom, Christopher Lee of Amherst, is sure to see his district eliminated after the 2010 census (due to a falling population, New York will probably lose 2 congressional seats). 

Lest you think that New York doesn’t matter because we’re all a bunch of screaming liberals here, think again.  Those on the right that may sniff at New York losing Republicans should realize that as recently as 5 years ago, New York had 10 Republican congressional seats; in the early 1990’s there were as many as 17.  Outside of the cities, New York tends to be very fiscally conservative while being socially moderate.   Since the Republican party went full-on socially conservative, however, even moderate New York Republicans can not win.  Indeed, there are no Republican House members in all of New England – and only two Senators.

The Republican party is self-immolating.  By allowing their non-elected spokespersons (Cheney, Limbaugh, and the entire Fox News network) to define them and keep their base whipped up, they are alienating moderates and Independents from their camp.  Since base voters are the ones that vote in primaries and essentially pick the candidates, they are dooming themselves to becoming a Southern regional party with little national significance.

I think Americans have had it with the anti-intellectual that you’d feel comfortable having a beer with as President.  We don’t need a former Baptist minister that eats squirrels and eschews evolution as President.  We don’t need an ethically-challenged former beauty queen as president.  We don’t need people that believe in God – but believe in torture – leading us.

Truthfully, Romney is the guy that – as a Liberal – scares me.  If he can figure out a position on issues and stick with it, he would be a formidable opponent.  Americans have a near-reverence for businessmen and Romney has a successful history in business.  As Joe Scarborough pointed out this morning, had Romney been the 2008 candidate for President when the economy melted down in October, he very well could be sitting in the White House today.  That gives me the shivers – like a bad dream.   But, fortunately for Liberals and Progressives, the Republican base will never accept Romney.

I’ll continue to sleep easy.

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