Abandonment of Gop conservatives: May cost Bush the election

Published 15 years ago -  - 15y ago 42


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Image courtesy of The Bush Center under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The latest presidential election polling data should be giving President Bush’s campaign staff a lot of concern. The most recent Zogby poll released earlier this week shows the Democratic presidential ticket of Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, leading President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney by a seven point margin at 50-43% which is the largest lead that Kerry has ever had over Bush since the man that conservative talk-show host, Rush Limbaugh, has described as America’s most accurate pollster, John Zogby, began polling when Kerry became the de-facto nominee back in February. Kerry has achieved about a five-point bounce coming out of the convention from his polling numbers of six weeks ago.

A pro-Bush website now shows that Senator Kerry leads President Bush by 327 to 211 in electoral votes with Kerry leading in such “red” states that voted for Bush in 2000 as New Hampshire, Ohio, Missouri and Florida (where he leads by a whopping eight percentage points) among others. President Bush’s approval rating, after diving to 44% after the Democrat national Convention is back up to 47% with 52% disapproving of his performance as President which is several percentage points below what Presidents who ended up being re-elected were polling at this point in their re-election campaign. In another disturbing development, Zogby has added my own state of Virginia to the list of battleground states as the latest poll shows Kerry and Bush statistically tied with 48% Bush 46% Kerry. If memory serves, Virginia has not voted Democrat in a presidential election since 1976.

Because most pollsters are predicting the GOP National Convention will result in only a modest boost in the polls for President Bush in the vicinity of four or at most five percentage points which would still leave Kerry running ahead, President Bush has a lot riding on this GOP convention, the outcome of which has the potential to make or brake his re-election chances. Past GOP conventions have highlighted conservative icons like former President Ronald Reagan and three-time presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan to help excite the base to turn out and vote for the GOP presidential nominee.

But in a repeat of the 2000 GOP National Convention in which the President’s theme was his pledge to form a new Republican Party that was more liberal and “inclusive” in outlook, Convention planners have stacked the convention with a lineup of what Phyllis Schlafly, the leader of the pro-life Eagle Forum, called “aggressively pro-abortion speakers.” Among these are liberal GOP ideologues such as former NY Mayor Rudy Guliani, Republican National Committee Finance Director Lewis M. Eisenberg CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, NY Governor George Pataki and ultraliberal New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has openly supported the right of anti-Bush protesters to attempt to disrupt the GOP convention and embarrass the President.

These speakers from the far left-wing of the Republican Party do not represent the party’s mainstream conservatives who are responsible for getting so many Republicans including President Bush elected in past elections and might very well be turned off by the Bush campaigns attempt to highlight party leftists while deliberately excluding conservative leaders. Indeed, the president’s chief political strategist, Karl Rove, has estimated that 4 million conservative Christians sat out the 2000 election, resulting in a five week dispute about who won that was only resolved when the US Supreme Court intervened which might otherwise have been avoided. In view of this fact, many conservative political analysts do not believe that the Bush campaign’s plans to highlight the party’s most ardent leftists represents good electoral strategy. Of the prime-time speakers only Vice President Dick Cheney and Democrat Senator Zel Miller could be properly described as conservatives while the President and longtime Democrat favorite Senator John McCain are some of only a few moderates to address a convention which will be dominated at least in the prime-time speaking slots by pro-abortion liberals.

Several news articles report that the Bush re-election campaign has locked many conservative leaders out of the convention particularly those from the so-called “religious right”. Among those conservative GOP stalwarts not to be invited is former presidential candidate and longtime Christian Coalition leader Pat Robertson who has openly expressed his anger at himself and other conservative leaders from once again being deliberately sidelined or excluded from this GOP convention just as they were from the 2000 GOP convention in which then Governor George W. Bush was also the GOP’s standard bearer. Robertson said that given the liberal lineup of speakers planned for the convention, “I am not sure that there would be much reason for a conservative to be there.” The list of additional non-invitee religious right leaders includes Jerry Falwell, former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer and James Dobson of Focus on the Family currently the most popular figure of the religious right.

Two recent books of great interest to conservatives released earlier this month provide further ammunition to those who believe that the Bush administration has largely abandoned its conservative base on most issues. The two books are unique in that they are written by authors with impeccable conservative credentials who allege that the Bush Administration has betrayed Reaganite conservative principles and policies in a quest for a more expansionist government at home and a more interventionist policy abroad. The two books are: “Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency” by longtime conservative leader, Patrick J. Buchanan and “America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order” by conservative former Reagan aides Stefan Halper andJonathan Clarke.

Meanwhile, a fight is brewing on the GOP Platform Committee as the Bush-appointed Committee Chairman pro-choice Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is following orders in trying to water down some of the conservative stands expressed in the party platform in an attempt to widen support for the party come November. While a major fight on the pro-life platform is not expected, Frist, a supporter of Bush’s proposed amnesty of millions of illegal aliens, is likely to attempt to water down the party’s 2000 plank against illegal immigration. Conservative members of the committee are sure to oppose his efforts and any publicized feud will generate unwanted negative publicity of GOP infighting at a time when Republicans need to be united behind the President’s re-election if they have any hope to defeat Democrat presidential nominee Senator John Kerry in November. The effect of the sum total of the Bush campaign’s affronts to its conservative base in depressing conservative GOP turnout in November may well prove the difference in denying Bush his second term and result in what many political analysts including myself have been predicting for a few months now—a likely victory by the most liberal presidential ticket in US history led by Senator John Kerry.

 

Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

 

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