Will Angry Voters Merely Want a Change of Party, or Will They Want a Change of Philosophy?
As today’s entry into the Republican wars, I offer a quotation from Carcieri communications adviser and apparent gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille, from Ed Fitzpatrick’s Sunday profile thereof:
… he said he opposes closing the GOP primary “because I think this year is going to be a year for us to build the party. Why should we close the door on people who have traditionally voted in Republican primaries and have traditionally voted for Republicans?” Many unaffiliated voters believe in conservative principles, he said, and this year offers a big opportunity to “reaffirm the original brand of what it means to be a Republican” and to recruit people to both vote in the primary and join the GOP.
It seems to me that the way to “reaffirm” the brand and bring in folks who’ve “traditionally voted in Republican primaries” is to use rightward voter angst as the motivation and a closed primary as the mechanism to finally commit them to registering. Moreover, if Republicans wish to benefit from the backlash against the Democrats’ doing what anybody willing to see predicted they would do, it will be critical that the GOP offers a real distinction.
By election day, I suspect the enthusiastic support that Patrick Lynch and Linc Chafee offered to candidate Barack Obama will be a political liability. A Republican candidate should be able to explain why that’s only one of the many important distinctions between his beliefs and theirs, and the fact that he emerged from a Republican-only primary would be a sign of that difference.