Ken Block: By Staking out a Centrist Position, the Moderate Party intends to Appeal to the Broadest Section of the Electorate as Possible
Comments made about the recent Anchor Rising post on the Moderate Party ran the predictable gamut from attacks against pseudo-Republicans to the Moderate effort being a waste of time to acceptance of the idea of a Moderate Party because anything is better than the existing status quo.
Right up front, I want to address the fear that a Moderate candidate will split the vote and cost an incumbent candidate his or her seat. We are asking all candidates to consider our platform, and will offer our seal of approval to any candidate who commits to making our platform a legislative priority. This affords both GOP and Democratic incumbents the opportunity to step up and commit to legislate in what we consider a responsible way. We would not prioritize for competition the seat of any incumbent who embraced our platform.
The core goal of the Moderate effort in Rhode is to get better legislating NOW. I was saddened to read this comment from Jon Scott regarding the RI GOP platform, and how and when it will be publicized:
We are in a Legislative session right now. I, for one, am not fond of broadcasting to the Democrats our plan for getting candidates elected so that they can then take the best ideas and pass them (in this current session).Rhode Island cannot afford to wait until 2009 or later to begin enacting legislation to fix our mess. I firmly believe that Democratic legislators who have run unopposed will immediately vote and act differently if they are faced with competition for their seat. I would consider the Moderate effort a success simply by squeezing better legislating out of the current session. The GOP is not doing Rhode Islanders any favors by sitting on ideas now that might be enacted in this session. Figure out a way to take credit for applying the pressure to get the legislation done, but for crying out loud, get it done!
My perception is that the RI GOP’s message is not resonating with the majority of Rhode Islanders. As an example, this past weekend I attended the Operation Clean Government candidate school. The Democratic Party did not bother showing up to set up a table, but the RI GOP did. One of the main visuals on the table was a photograph of George W. Bush. Hello…this man has an extraordinarily low approval rating in this state. What genius would think that giving W a prominent place on the table would cause a stampede of potential candidates to sign up with the RI GOP? If the RI GOP wants to control a larger percentage of the legislature, they will need to appeal to a broader cross section of the electorate.
I often hear talk about how the Moderate party cannot succeed because it lacks money, organization, etc. How many recent GOP candidates for the legislature will say that the RI GOP contributed hugely (or at all) to their candidacy?
By staking out a centrist position, the Moderate Party intends to appeal to the broadest section of the electorate as possible, including disaffected Democrats (and these folks do exist). Maybe the state GOP also needs to moderate its message in order to attain its goals.