The need to unite

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A critically important tug-of-war is under way within the ranks of conservatives. How it's resolved could have an enormous impact on the general election.

It involves two lines of thought on how the Republican Party and Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign should deal with the party's base. Many right-of-center voters are still put off by the nominee-designate's "maverick" opposition to a number of key conservative principles including, among others, immigration, environmental and campaign reforms.

Many activists, within and outside the McCain camp, believe that in the immediate weeks ahead, the campaign should work to solidify the party by courting disillusioned conservatives.

The rival line of thought holds that "pandering" to conservatives would only alienate independents and other non-ideological voters whom McCain seeks to attract.

And some people have considered spiting McCain by casting ballots for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

McCain would be smart to court the conservative base. Here's why: Voting against a candidate isn't the same as voting for a candidate. So what's the difference? Isn't a vote a vote regardless of whether it's cast enthusiastically or unenthusiastically? Not necessarily.

As other pundits have pointed out, if he's voting against a candidate, then that's all he'll do. But if he supports a candidate, he'll do a lot more. He'll donate money to the campaign, work the phone banks, recruit others to join him, and will do all he can to get voters sympathetic to his candidate to the polls on election day.

This is what political activists call the "ground game" -- and it's a lot more important to a candidate's success than polls, TV ads, debates or press conferences. With all the enthusiasm among Democrats this year, you can be sure their ticket will have a terrific ground game. They always do.

If McCain can't match it, then he's going to be in big trouble on Election Day, even if the polls show him ahead. Polls can't measure motivation, and a strong ground game is key to motivating tens of thousands of voters to the polls.

In 2004, Karl Rove surprised Democrats and the media with the hugely successful nationwide ground game that he put together for President Bush's re-election. Without it, John Kerry would be president today.

John McCain will need to replicate those kind of ground forces this fall -- and he's unlikely to find them among moderates or independents. He could find them among the committed, motivated right wing of his party -- be they social, economic, or national security conservatives.

This is why before McCain and the GOP establishment go overboard courting moderates and independents, they should spend some time not only solidifying the party's base, but to generating enthusiasm for his candidacy and recruiting ground forces as well.

Without that, Election Day might turn out to be the kind of nightmare for Republicans that Democrats and much of the mainstream media hope it will be.

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/24/08 - 05:02 am
0
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The conservatives have proven

The conservatives have proven as recently as 2006 that they'll stay away from the voting booth in droves if there's no acceptable candidate. The Republican congress' self immolation should have made that clear to even the most blind. McCain, the least attractive of all the Republican candidates, is now the only available choice opposed to the two horrible non-choices of Hillary and B.O. . While McCain has some undesirable traits, as do all candidates, he's fiscally conservative (more so then most) and strong on national defense. With supreme court nominations hanging in the balance, conservatives will support the candidate that won't give us two more Ginsburgs.

shivas
2
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shivas 03/24/08 - 06:56 am
0
0
The far-right was booted out

The far-right was booted out of Congress because they no longer represent the priorities of our country. McCain could please his conservative base if he starts talking about issues such as gay marriage. I see the far-right is already coming up with excuses if they lose the election, such as they stayed away from the polls. Conservatives and the far-right have such a largesse for whining.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/24/08 - 07:00 am
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Yeah, shivas. That old "gay

Yeah, shivas. That old "gay marriage" shtick really makes the conservatives vote for you. Good idea.

DeborahElliott2
4
Points
DeborahElliott2 03/24/08 - 07:15 am
0
0
You think this is bad, wait

You think this is bad, wait till Florida and Michigan get their heads out their butts and figure out their votes don't count. I wonder if they will stop going to the polls again after this!

jack234
820
Points
jack234 03/24/08 - 08:41 am
0
0
With a war that has caused

With a war that has caused 4000 american lives, the economy in the pits, and gas prices through the roof, who cares about gay marriages?

truthteller
0
Points
truthteller 03/24/08 - 08:43 am
0
0
Here's what conservatives

Here's what conservatives really need to do. With gasoline fast approaching $4 per gallon and diesel fuel already there, with record budget deficits in hand and projected as far as the eye can see, with our borrow-and-spend financial system bordering on collapse, with individual liberties being cast aside by the conservative Bush administration that promises us safety and security instead, and with endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, just tell moderates, independents and all Americans why a continuation of George Bush's conservative policies is what our country needs at this time. Please skip the fear and smear part. Just tell us what is so great about political conservatism because it ain't obvious after eight years of GWB, who also had a conservative Congress for much of that time. John McCain is basically promising more of the same.

jack234
820
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jack234 03/24/08 - 08:53 am
0
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truthteller: Thanks for

truthteller: Thanks for enlighting PT. Have a blessed day!!!

jack234
820
Points
jack234 03/24/08 - 08:56 am
0
0
McCain will only do more of

McCain will only do more of the same if he only stays awake. LOL and have a blessed day.

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 03/24/08 - 09:05 am
0
0
"Courting disillusioned

"Courting disillusioned conservatives" sounds like prom dates from hell. Good luck with that.

constitutionnow
0
Points
constitutionnow 03/24/08 - 09:17 am
0
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Three things that

Three things that conservatives need to do to retain/expand their power: 1. Light a fire under the Iraqi leaders butts to get them off of theirs and into the business of running their own dang country! 2. Stimulate real economic growth by eliminating the IRS and enacting the fairtax propsal presently before congress. 3. Vote for Judge Roy Moore who has been nominated by the Constitution Party. That would bring about REAL change!

NotyourDadsBuick
1
Points
NotyourDadsBuick 03/24/08 - 09:25 am
0
0
President Bush and the

President Bush and the Republican congress pushed the conservative movement backward a few steps during the last seven years. It will take a while before the ship rights itself again. No one to blame but themselves and their very poor decisions.

genwheeler
5
Points
genwheeler 03/24/08 - 09:28 am
0
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Truthteller-- George Bush is

Truthteller-- George Bush is not a conservative. Patriciathomas is correct -- it primarily revolves around the Christian vote. When the Christians stay home the Republicans lose. I suspect a lot will stay home this year or vote for a third party candidate.

jack
10
Points
jack 03/24/08 - 10:36 am
0
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Shivas, the Republican

Shivas, the Republican Congress lost seats WAS because they forgot the principles that the majority of Americans believe should be our governing policies. Unlike DIMocRATS, we conservatives kick out those who forget their base conservative principles or are ethicly challenged. You DIMs re-elect criminals (Charles Walker and William Jefferson(, former KKK Grand Dragons, killers like Chappaquidic Ted and [filtered word] like Brny Frank. and those who actually have affairs with paiges like Studds. I ain't too enthused by McCain, but sure as hell can't vote for defeatist socialist that both Osama and Hitlery are. I'll hold my nose and vote for McCain, hope he is smart enough to get a conservative VP on the ticket, and smart enough to know he can be another one term President.

jack
10
Points
jack 03/24/08 - 10:43 am
0
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Truthteller, I do bellieve

Truthteller, I do bellieve that e Conservatives have fully realized Bush is NOT a conservative as you allege and lied about his being a conservative, thus got re-elected. We conservatives will be glad he's gone, but sure as hell don't want to replace him with either DIM wannabe who cut and run when we are winning, tax hell out of everybody that works to give to the lazy that don't work, or who will destroy the best health care in the world with socilaized medicine. Let the DIMs take away the tax incentives on our corporations such as Exxon and watch your gasoline prices soar and more jobs ship over seas.

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 03/24/08 - 11:04 am
0
0
Wow, you learn something new

Wow, you learn something new everyday. Only Conservatives can be Christians. Thanks genwheeler.

jack234
820
Points
jack234 03/24/08 - 11:15 am
0
0
Any democrat would be better

Any democrat would be better than what we have now. Tax and spend republicans are out of control. At least with dem, they will tax and spend to help our own beloved people first.

jack234
820
Points
jack234 03/24/08 - 11:15 am
0
0
Any democrat would be better

Any democrat would be better than what we have now. Tax and spend republicans are out of control. At least with dem, they will tax and spend to help our own beloved people first.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/24/08 - 12:09 pm
0
0
truthteller, reading only the

truthteller, reading only the headlines seems to make people easy to trick. You come across as a good Democrat, uninformed and adamant.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/24/08 - 12:11 pm
0
0
HYPO, it's not only

HYPO, it's not only conservatives can be Christians, it's just that only conservatives act like Christians. In truth, anyone can say they're a Christian. (see B.O.)

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 03/24/08 - 02:01 pm
0
0
No, conservatives do not want

No, conservatives do not want "another Bush term." Conservatives want the conservative that Bush promised to be, but then failed to be. The 2004 election is easy to explain, NOT because conservatives drank the Bush kool-aid, but simply because the Dems thought that Bush was SO bad that they could win even if they nominated John-"Can Ah Get Me A Huntin' Lahsence"-Kerry. You gotta be KIDDING me... Conservatives stayed home in 2006, as I suspect they may well in 8 months, because we don't like it when other people change the terms of the debate on us. See, when dems elected Clinton in 92, they then had to spend 8 years defending the indefensible: "Oh, Paula Jones is just trailer trash," "Doesn't EVERYONE make a 4,000% return on useless land and sick cattle?" "I never billed a single hour for that account when I was at Rose Law Firm" "Well, now, it depends on what the meaning of "is" is..." Liberals can do that because, fundamentally, they don't honestly believe in anything. Since everything is relative, all that matters is the "good guys" (libs) being in power. Conservatives believe that some things are objectively wrong -- expanding entitlements, ignoring the rule of law,

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 03/24/08 - 02:01 pm
0
0
(cont'd) infringing upon the

(cont'd) infringing upon the First Amendment. SOME conservatives are Christian Conservatives who ALSO believe that you need to have been pro-life for a good 20 years before you can be a candidate, and that we need to take every opportunity to express our disapproval about what gay people do. I have made the case in this forum that I think that the latter group should spend more time working on the cultural side of things, and let the political engine address that which is properly the province of politcs. That said, McCain got by b/c he had the pro-life vote and the crossover lib dingbat vote, even though he has OPPOSED the core conservative values I enumerated above: rule of law, reduced role of gov't, 1st Amendment. Hell, he's even a global warming wannabe, even though the "global avg temp" has been going DOWN for 10 years, now...what a maroon. So, no, there is NO way for McCain to get the vote of the actual conservative. He will have to hope for enough disaffected dems from the losing (Obama or Clinton) camp, plus enough moderates, plus enough people who actually believe that Obama or Clinton will bend over and surrender in the War on Terror. It may well work, but that will NOT

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 03/24/08 - 02:01 pm
0
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(cont'd) will NOT mean that

(cont'd) will NOT mean that McCain will now, somehow, "define" conservatism...

imdstuf
10
Points
imdstuf 03/24/08 - 02:20 pm
0
0
Only coservatives act like

Only coservatives act like Christians? Hippies were about peace and love, yet were called hippies. Rich yuppies who were greedy for money and power were conservatives. War mongerers often claim to be conservative and christian. Johnsmith, if what you say about conservatives is true, then why did Rush Limbaugh say he carried the bucket for the party before? Why is he essentially doing it now to help McCain, who definitely was not his choice for the GOP? Because he wants his party to be in power.

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 03/24/08 - 02:37 pm
0
0
Did I say that "Only

Did I say that "Only coservatives act like Christians" ? I don't think so...I THINK I said that SOME conservatives are Christians. I don't think that's false, imd, you illiterate goofball. I'm not sure what you are trying to rebut by bringing Limbaugh into this. I have not expressed an opinion one way or the other about any talk shows or the like, since they are entertainers--not to say that they do or do not tell the truth, or should or should not, I'm just saying that what I was writing about was about conservative philosophy as I see it, and about how Bush did not measure up to what he said he would do, and how McCain has a proven record of being anything but a conservative. What does that have to do with Limbaugh? Here's a concrete example: Almost all of Bush's 2004 campaign was on the war, and on Social Security reform. He got elected and then promptly dropped SS reform b/c Congress didn't have the nerve even to have the CONVERSATION, and BUSH didn't have the nerve to make that a big ol' stinky public issue. Now, tell me why a conservative would go out in the rain to vote Republican in '06? Has nothing to do with any talk show, imd...

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/24/08 - 03:31 pm
0
0
johnsmith, while I approve

johnsmith, while I approve the intellectual bludgeoning you just strapped on the hapless left, I think the "Christian conservative" comment by imdstuf was aimed at my comment.

imdstuf
10
Points
imdstuf 03/24/08 - 06:27 pm
0
0
Correct Patricia. I felt you

Correct Patricia. I felt you were saying if people were not part of the Republican Party then they were not Christians. It certainly came across that way. I do not think JohnSmith's comments did. I actually agree with many of JohnSmith's points. I voted for Ron Paul most recently, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Now I do not agree with everything he says or does, but I liked much of what he said versus others. As for conservatism goes, by the old fashioned sense he embodied much of it. Now call me crazy, but I believe that if people vote for McCain because they feel he is "the lesser of two evils" they are still getting an evil. While if I do a write in vote, my candidate may not get elected, I atleast know I will have made a choice I truly want.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/24/08 - 07:05 pm
0
0
You're right on the McCain

You're right on the McCain comment imdstuf. While Paul has many good points, his stand on national defense makes me nervous about his view of what America is. My comment on conservatives act like Christians comes from the lack of parameters displayed by the liberal left which indicates to me a vastly different view of good and bad, right and wrong, and who's responsible for each. While the McCain vote would be the lesser of two evils, the two greater of two evils would have much more potential to do damage to America then the moderate McCain.

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 03/24/08 - 07:41 pm
0
0
Whoops, sorry imd, I read

Whoops, sorry imd, I read your comment hastily and did not consider all potential interpretations. I'm actually a big Ron Paul fan. Unfortunately, as we all know, he's actually a Libertarian. So am I. However, Libertarian CANDIDATES invariably position themselves as "the nutty one" on some issue or another. Usually it's about legalizing drugs. Now, I think drug laws are stupid and unenforceable. However, it'd be nice to get elected on a nice fiscal conservative / small gov't platform FIRST, and THEN talk about repealing stupid and unenforceable laws. That never happens, b/c libertarians come off as dope-smoking, wife-swapping morons. In Paul's case, it's the gold standard. While I agree about the illegitimacy of the Fed (just look at the current case with the Bear!), most Americans can't balance a checkbook, and we're being told that millions can't figure out the difference between a real mortgage and an interest-only. YES, it's the President's job to educate, but you CANNOT expect the avg goober to spend hours learning what the gold standard is, before he will vote for you. Very sad...maybe JOHNSMITH should run as a libertarian :) :)

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 03/24/08 - 07:44 pm
0
0
And, imd, re: your 6:27 post,

And, imd, re: your 6:27 post, that is exactly why I will write in someone besides McCain. Of course, we're in GA, which will likely go R by a margin of 10% or so, so it's an easy choice. Not sure what I would do if I lived in OH...I might vote for "the lesser of 2 evils" while hating myself for doing so...could I REALLY help Hillary win, b/c of principle? I'm not sure...I like to THINK that I could... :) :)

jack
10
Points
jack 03/24/08 - 08:59 pm
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Jack234 you are definitley

Jack234 you are definitley confused. Republicans have given us tax cuts. It is historically known that the DIMs are the tax an spenders. Let them let the current tax cuts expire in 2010 and see how you like paying an average of $2000 per tax payer. Put more taxes on th corporations and watch jobs dr up and the taxes passed on to their consumers. You need to go back and study up on DIMocRAT tax policies vs that of conservative Republicans (which GW Bush said he was and ain't, so he did lie about that).

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