12.07.2008

Revenge of the moderates

Politico has some interesting things to say in the wake of the Chambliss race. RNC Chair Mike Duncan claims the race is all about getting back to fundametals:
Georgians refuted any notion that the ideology of the country has shifted to the left. They supported the candidate who believes that people should keep their hard-earned dollars; that every American resource should be leveraged to address our energy crisis; that the role of judges is to interpret the Constitution; and that America must be vigilant against the very real threats to our nation and its citizens.


That's all well and good for Georgia, of course, but judging national trends by Georgia isn't the best predictor. And judging by the rest of the article, it was really just a well-run ground game that carried the day.

What's really interesting is another column, this one on moderate influence in the presidential race:
While the ideological breakdown of the electorate was practically a carbon copy of 2004 — 22 percent liberal, 34 percent conservative and 44 percent moderate — Obama owes his victory not to a flood of new liberal voters but to carrying 60 percent of moderates. That’s up 6 percentage points from John F. Kerry’s totals and makes Obama the best-performing presidential candidate among self-described moderates since Richard Nixon in 1972. In fact, the nearly 33 million moderates voting for Obama were easily his largest bloc of voters.

Politico goes on to lay out an agenda that could play well in libertarian-Republican hands, pushing for a "America to reassert its authority again through hard and soft power," a rejection of the idea "that we must choose between our safety and our civil liberties," "new activism to be forged in the context of a regulated free market that delivers opportunity for them and their children," and "an end to divisive culture wars by finding common values that transcend religious, geographic, ethnic and ideological schisms."

This says two things: libertarians still have a long fight on the economy, but that the libertarian-Republican stance on most domestic issues is very popular. Looking at Duncan's "lessons learned," we see similar, if unacknowledged, positions, especially regarding judicial philosophy. More of his ideas -- lower taxes, the energy crisis, and fighting a smarter and more balanced war on terrorism -- fit well into a libertarian philosophy. These positions give the lie to the idea that the GOP needs to run back to its religious base -- in fact, it needs to push just the other way.