In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Head For The Middle, Not The Right
Elections are won in the moderate middle of the political spectrum. Just ask Barack Obama and if Michigan republicans are smart, they will realize "moderate" is not a four-letter word. In the wake of that blood bath at the polls last Tuesday there are all sorts of rumblings about what the GOP should do. Maybe it's time for new chairman? But the guy who runs the state senate, Oakland County's Mike Bishop, is standing four square behind Saul Anuzis. "This is not about one person," opines Mr. Bishop. Oh yeah, the badly needed soul searching in the Michigan GOP should go much deeper than that. Nonetheless there are eight names on a list to maybe challenge the Saul-ster. Just look at the numbers. The president-elect amassed an impressive 21-point victory over his opponent with moderate voters. His 60%-39% edge speaks volumes about why the GOP lost in Oakland County, why it lost nine seats in the Michigan House and why it will continue down that path unless there is a recalibration. There are very few Milliken moderates who are still breathing as that coalition that former Gov. Bill Milliken adroitly assembled in the 70's was blown to smithereens by John Engler, Dick Headlee, and their conservative pals. For a time the anti-Milliken cabal worked. It didn't last Tuesday. In tough economic times fewer voters worry about gay marriage, abortion, and other divisive wedge issues. Sure the red meat and right wing element of the GOP still salivates on those issues, but you can't win elections with them and them alone. The young voters, African Americans, Hispanics, and independent pro-choice women who decided the election want nothing to do with far right rhetoric. Oakland County GOP honcho L. Brooks Patterson talks about the Taliban wing of the party and he realizes they deserve a voice but should not be the most dominant voice. But despite what happened last week, the right-wingers are not giving up. "The reason we lost was not because we needed to be more moderate. We needed to be more conservative." That from one of the guys who wants to be GOP chair. For him and others the sensible middle is a four-letter word.