I welcome Allcomers, red and blue alike, How does one support
the notion that the Republicans lost the presidency because Romney was not conservative enough? I heard this on the way home on talk radio tonight.
Because, of the past 8 to 10 Presidential election cycles, when fairly conservative candidates run on the GOP ticket, they get a larger share of the vote, and generally win. The candidates with more moderate credentials (Ford, HW Bush, Dole, McCain and Romney) all lost (although HW Bush did win 1 first). Among the more moderates, depending on how they ran, the more moderate they appeared, the worse they did. Dole was pure moderate - 40% of the popular vote. McCain ("Maverick" image aside), Romney and Ford - all classic establishment guys, relatively moderate records, tried to talk the "conservative language", all got 46, 47, 48 percent of the vote.
Reagan got almost 51 against an incumbent and ~59 for re-election. HW got 53 1/2 and that was because Reagan voters weren't sold on his conservatism - he bailed on the "no new taxes", and they abandoned him for a slick-talking kid from Hope, AR, 4 years later.
W won twice, running on purely conservative issues.
As a corollary to that rule, the more liberal the Dems run, the worse they tended to do until Obama - who is the anomaly.
Nixon in 72 and Reagan in 84 just crushed the classically liberal McGovern and Mondale. One of the reasons HW Bush did fairly well in 88 is that Dukakis was very liberal as well. Clinton won twice, with reasonably moderate credentials. Likewise, Gore was considered moderate in 2000, though perhaps less so now. Kerry did well against W in 2004 (but ultimately lost) because popular opinion was turning against the war.
Had a true conservative run against Obama in 2008 - he probably still would have lost. Had a true conservative run in 2012, it would have been much closer, and he, perhaps, could have won. But, again, Obama is the anomaly - not Reagan or W.
This post was edited on 11/20 at 8:29 pm