Skip to comments.GOP candidates enjoy DC disconnect
Posted on 09/26/2007 10:14:05 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The 2008 Republican presidential candidates have been told from the outset why they will fail in a quest for the presidency.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulianis positions on gun control and his personal history were supposed to disqualify him for Southern, evangelical Republican voters. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would suffer a similar fate because of his religion and his evolving views on gay rights and abortion.
When former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) formally entered the race earlier this month, a series of gaffes on the Southern campaign trail hinted that he might not be the savior of the Republican Party that Washington pundits imagined.
Yet analysts, reporters and pollsters are noting such alleged weaknesses have not stopped any of the aforementioned candidates from doing well in a wide variety of states and with a wide variety of voters.
The Beltway is bounded on all sides by reality, the head of the Southern Baptist Conventions Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, said. There is a Beltway mentality, and I have seen it get really good people after a while.
The Republican candidates have struggled in some predictable places, giving some credence to the conventional wisdom emanating from Washington. The perceived opening for Thompson to get in the race is evidence of that, as is the ongoing fluidity of the GOP race.
But Giuliani continues to be considered the national front-runner three weeks after Labor Day, Romney is polling well in the early states and Thompson seems to be enjoying a bump when many analysts thought early missteps and a prolonged flirtation with a bid might end his candidacy as early as it began.
Republican primary voters seem to be the most misunderstood segment of America to Beltway pundits, Thompson spokeswoman Karen Hanretty said. Fred Thompson is receiving enthusiastic response from conservatives because he talks about the principles of limited government, federalism and individual liberty its that simple.
Last year, when Giuliani was considering getting into the race, political analyst Charlie Cook joked that the New Yorker would have a better chance of winning the Tour de France than of winning the Republican nomination.
More than a year later, Giuliani is in a statistical tie in the early-voting conservative bastion of Republican South Carolina, and Cook says the former mayors odds have improved though he contends they remain long.
Land and others, including Reps. Ron Lewis (R-Ky.), who is supporting Romney, and Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.), who is supporting Thompson, said a stereotype has developed over the years that pigeonholes Southern, conservative Republican voters as single-issue voters.
Theyre more interested in whats in a mans heart, and what kind of leader hell be, Gresham said. Im not saying theres not a litmus test. With some voters there are.
A political science professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, Stephen Wainscott, said the continued belief by some that God, guns and gays are the prevailing issues on conservative voters minds is a remnant of the conventional wisdom that applied before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, perpetuated to some degree by the 2004 election in part by the turnout associated with ballot initiatives dealing with gay marriage.
There are single-issue voters, but were not really talking about a great deal of people, Wainscott said.
He added that in 2004, he looked forward to 2008 and guessed that Giuliani would be the partys nominee. But in 2000, Wainscott said, Giuliani would not have been formidable, as conservative voters, in the absence of pressing national security matters, would focus more on his domestic, cultural record and personal issues.
There is an undercurrent of faith [now] as a result of what he claims to have done on 9/11, Wainscott said.
Following the terrorist attacks of 2001, hot-button issues might [have] become lukewarm issues, he added.
Lewis said pundits and analysts focus more on past elections and the game of politics while actual voters, like those in his district, are more solution-oriented.
Its time really for Washington to put aside politics, Lewis said.
Land contends that the specific stereotyping of evangelical voters ignores their fierce individualism, and that voters with funny accents are more sophisticated than they are given credit for being.
Land said because evangelicals are underrepresented in the national media and punditocracy, they really dont understand people of serious religious faith. Add to that a rural background and a Southern accent, and youve got the perfect storm for prejudice and assumptions.
The media probably ought to rotate people out of the Washington bureaus into the real world, Land said.
Am I missing something? What gaffes?
In the leftist mind, being a conservative is a gaffe.
No, the author is simply making up stuff for his article. Fred owns the south vote. The lack of integrity in journalists rivals that of ambulance chasing lawyers. It boggles my mind that they can live with themselves. What trash!
Shhh... You're not supposed to notice that part, it's part of the vast left wing conspiracy to get rid of Fred so that Hilary can go toe to toe with another New Yorker.
Yeah, really. The “gaffe” to the far-left media is his having dared to run for President.
Huh? Washington pundits never liked Fred from the beginning. They've done nothing but trash him.
And candidate Ron Paul enjoys a "reality" disconnect.
Fortunately for Paul he's got one constituency sewn up for the election.
LOL, right, you just keep repeating that over, and over and over and over....
It’s still so early in the race. The liberal media can’t even wait to tear all the Conservatives down. Another reason to ignore the drive-by media.