The truth about ‘electability’
Republican voters need a therapeutic slap across the face.
In exit polls yesterday, Florida Republicans revealed that their top reason for choosing their candidate was “electability.” After screaming at my TV for 10 minutes, I had several drinks and sat down to write this column.
John McCain was electable. Wasn’t he?
Tom Daschle, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Keith Olbermann, The New York Times and The Washington Post all said he was. McCain was “a great guy” according to Chris Matthews. So why aren’t we in year four of the McCain administration?
Because electability is absolute, unadulterated, straight-out-of-the-cow bullshit. And I can prove it with two questions.
1.) Did anyone ever ask if Barack Obama was electable?
Potential candidate liabilities: Obama has a weird name. He’s aloof. He’s an elitist. He spent his formative years in Indonesia. His father was a Muslim. His mother was a Marxist radical. He won’t release his college records. He never served in the military. He never held a job in the private sector. He had a negligible impact as an Illinois state senator. He had a negligible impact as a U.S. senator. He had no foreign policy experience. He had no executive experience. He spent 20 years of Sundays with a lunatic pastor who despises America. He’s a product of the notoriously corrupt Chicago political machine. He had close personal ties to domestic terrorists and other unsavory characters.
2) Did anyone ever ask if Hillary Clinton was electable?
Potential candidate liabilities: She’s a left-wing feminist. She’s not attractive. She has a cold demeanor. She’s not charismatic. She and her husband were scandal-ridden and scandal-prone. She had well-known, shady business dealings. Her life’s major political achievement was staying married to a husband who cheated on her every chance he could. She was an unpopular first lady (until the Lewinsky sympathy). Her only major leadership role (Hillarycare) resulted in abject failure, ultimately causing the Democrats to lose their majority in Congress for the first time in more than three decades. She was a junior senator from New York in the second term of a legislative career without much distinction.
And the answer to each of those questions is no.
The list of potential political liabilities for Hillary and Barack could go on for days. Each had an ideology far to the left of mainstream America. Neither had an executive’s pedigree. Yet, somehow, electability wasn’t an issue for them.
It ain’t a mystery, folks.
The electability question is a liberal media con. It is posed only when discussing Republicans. And it is posed often. The purpose of the question is to cast doubt on conservative candidates and, ultimately, keep them out of office.
And, tragically, it works.
The electability meme doesn’t merely haunt Republican office seekers. It has slithered into the minds of Republican voters, leading them to be unnaturally anxious when conservative candidates take strong stands. The result of this anxiety is manifest. We either lose (see: Bob Dole, John McCain, etc.) or elect callow, mealy-mouthed imps (see: the hordes of GOP congressmen who think compromise is a cardinal virtue). In short, the electability con has been a destructive, weakening force in the conservative movement for generations. And, as dupes, Republicans continually harm themselves.
The 2010 tea party wave crushed the spirit of the Democrats. It was their biggest loss in 70 years. A more limited government was clearly the will of the people. For a few trembling months, the lame-duck Dems and a dispirited President Obama thought the world was ending because fiscal restraint was coming to town. All of the political winds were at Republican backs. Then, John Boehner insisted that he wasn’t in charge. And the capitulations of our just-elected electables soon followed.
That’s the worst part of the electable meme. It’s hard to root for weak candidates. Conservatives love America. And our country wasn’t founded and built by mealy-mouths and second-guessers. America was founded by ass-kickers, men and women who took hard stands, come hell or high water. That’s the type of candidate we want, the type they call “unelectable.” And here’s the kicker: the last one we nominated won 49 states and was re-elected in 1984.
If conservatives can learn anything from Barack Obama, it’s this: Anyone is electable.
Yates Walker is a conservative activist and writer. Before becoming involved in politics, he served honorably as a paratrooper and a medic in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He can be reached at email@example.com.