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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
posted by Kyle Hampton | 6:23 PM | permalink
I was listening to a little of Michael Medved on my way to school this afternoon. He had Joe Lieberman on and then was talking about how John McCain’s crossover appeal is something that Reagan had and is important for an electable president and for the party generally. I figure most of you have an opinion of Michael Medved these days (as do I), but I wanted to talk about crossover appeal and how it is achieved.

Medved is right that John McCain’s candidacy appeals to independents and some Democrats. I think that the election results so far bear this out. However, is John McCain’s type of crossover appeal the type that we are looking for? McCain’s appeal to independents and Democrats comes not by moving them to the right, but by McCain moving to the left. This is a key distinction between the type of appeal that Ronald Reagan hand and what John McCain has. Reagan was able to persuade Democrats to move to the right. Especially on economic matters, Reagan ushered in conservative economics by persuading them on his ideas. Additionally he was able to persuade a Democratic Congress to build up the military less than a decade after the end of the Vietnam War.

McCain, on the other hand, has crossover appeal because of his moves left on key issues. McCain has been the one persuaded and not the one persuading on issues such as immigration, interrogation techniques, campaign finance reform (and the First Amendment generally), global warming, and taxes. McCain’s type of appeal to Democrats does not move the discussion to the right, but moves it to the left. He cedes ground on these issues and moves the country in a less conservative direction, not a more conservative direction. This type of appeal is not the type of crossover appeal that I am looking for in a presidential candidate, and I suspect a similar sentiment from many of you.

I want a president that can move the country to the right. This is going to happen not through ceding ground to more liberal thoughts, but through persuasion that conservative ideas will improve this country. McCain is not that type of man. He has been the crossover leader on bills that have moved the country left (McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Feingold, etc.). This is classic Washington compromise and not leadership. Even recognizing McCain's advocacy for the surge, the net effect of his tenure has been to move the country to the left.

Mitt Romney is the type of conservative leader that can move the country right. He was able to persuade an overwhelmingly liberal legislature that his state needed tax cuts, that his state needed fiscal restraint, that his state could provide healthcare to its citizens through market-based reforms, and that his state could improve education through charter schools and merit-based teacher pay. All these changes moved the discussion in a conservative direction. This is the type of crossover appeal that I am looking for.

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8 Comments:


Medved has gone to straight out advocating for Mccain. I pay him no mind because he's basically a liberal anyway or he sees the world through a liberal prism.I'd rather see medved write a column on why he thinks Oscars are being goven to movies that do roughly $30 at the box office.



Check out "American Thinkers" most recent article on Mitt. It is presented very well. http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/why_they_hate_mitt_romney.html



Medved used to be my preferred talk radio host. Since about last June, however, I've liked him less and for several months have quit listening to him altogether. For some strange reason he hates Romney and loves McCain and Huckabee.

My take is that he knows a large part of the voting block wants to hear good things about McCain and Huckabee and they aren't hearing what they want when listening to any other conservative radio show. Apparently he's playing for the ratings. Too bad. He has less character than I thought.



I really think you should post this blog on Redstate, or Politico. It really needs to be said.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 23, 2008 at 7:35 PM  


Kyle:

The distinction you draw between President Reagan drawing independents over to conservative positions and McCain attracting their votes by embracing leftist and populist positions is profoundly important.

As for Michael Medved, my guess is that he is drawn to candidates who call themselves Republican but like himself have a very nuanced and ambiguous position on illegal immigration with plenty of wiggle room; Mitt has been too outspoken and firm on the immigration question for Medved's tastes.

By Anonymous Craig in California, at January 23, 2008 at 7:46 PM  


When I look at those who disagree with me on things that I have come to believe passionately through what I consider to be the use of my intellect, I often find myself wondering how those folks can be so far away from the position at which I have arrived.
It is tempting to assign bias and … to those other guys, but the truth is I know bias exists within my position as well. So I just acknowledge that “I don’t get it.”

Having in the past had positive views of Medved, I am at a loss to understand how he can be so wrong (IMO) on Romney, Huckabee, and McCain. I guess this will just be another one of those things I cannot understand (thought this Medved thing seems more puzzling than most so perhaps it gets a special category of peculiarity).

In any case, I also think the distinction being drawn here about Reagan converting and McCain appeasing liberals is something that should receive a wider audience.
Thanks, TOm



Excellent post, Kyle!



This is right on. It's a bit frustrating when all the candidates are trying to "out-Reagan" each other. They all claim to be more Reagan than the next guy. But this aspect of Reagan's presidency is crucial and is the similarity between him and Mitt that really needs to be talked up. I think it's one area that Mitt has a clear record on.




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