Is the centrifugal force emanating from the Republican establishment strong enough to pull all of the disparate parts of the Party to the center? Or will attempts by the Republican establishment supported candidate Romney to move towards the center be challenged by the right wing base of the Party? Logic would dictate a move to the center for the national campaign, but let’s not forget that all politics are local, especially if you are a Congressman, Senator or Governor running in a red state. In many cases, for them, a move to the center is a move away from their constituency.
The political polarization created by the obstinate Congress and the rhetoric of the right has a cost. Walking back those searing and sarcastic pronouncements will not be easy under the bright lights of the national campaign. While the world of media communication has changed, interestingly the strategy of political campaigns has not. The campaigns have learned to use today’s technology to raise funds, but has somehow not learned that something said yesterday cannot be denied today, because it is on tape for all to see. In fact, it is on the internet for all to see. Most importantly, people are looking. A national media is just that, national. The candidates cannot say one thing in the south and another in the midwest. That is why it has such impact on local races.
For those seeking re-election, the national campaign and its pronouncements have a direct impact on fund raising and ultimately, vote raising. They will do everything necessary to keep the national ticket in line with their perception of the attitudes of their constituency. They will battle the establishment if they see a march to the center. The policy pronouncements that won the nomination are the same ones that they expect to hear during the national campaign. Candidates are first and foremost committed to their own survival, not to the victory of the national ticket. If they feel that the national ticket is a detriment to their re-election, they will distance themselves in a New York minute.
Finally, the electorate is far more sophisticated than it used to be. The pundits are not always right, but they have accomplished something very important. They have effectively pulled the curtain from in front of the wizard. As in the land of Oz, we can now see that the power of the politician is only a result of the illusion and mystique that he has created. When we pull the curtain we see that they are just mortal beings. They are not necessarily smarter or stronger than us. They do, however, have strong egos and a desire for power and authority. That is true about all candidates, regardless of the platitudes and values they wrap their candidacy in. We the people have the power if we take it. We too often treat these people with awe when we should be treating them with skepticism. Only those who achieve greatness through action should be treated with awe.
The days of etch a sketch are over. The curtain is pulled aside. All politics are local and all politics are national. The march to the center by Mr. Romney will be illuminated by the bright lights of the media. After all, he is just a mortal being desirous of power and authority. He is richer than most of us, but no smarter. His policies are focused on the financial needs of the rich and the social dogma of the conservative right. Those are what he ran on for the nomination. Is this a man of integrity and honesty, or simply a mortal seeking to fulfill his ego needs? Watch and listen and we will know.