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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) — Ever since Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party has moved steadily to the right. Yet in Tampa this week, for the seventh consecutive time, Republicans will nominate a mainstream presidential candidate after rejecting movement conservatives.

No one would confuse Willard Mitt Romney with a populist or movement conservative; he oozes establishment. So did the other presidential nominees since Reagan, both Presidents Bush, Bob Dole and John McCain.

Like those predecessors, Romney calculated the formula for winning the nomination, says Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, and an academic authority on the Republican Party: “Just conservative enough to get moderate traditionalists and a chunk of movement conservatives.”

That, he recalls, was the model George H.W. Bush inaugurated in 1988. In fact, Pitney says, “Romney reminds me a lot of that President Bush, minus the war heroism.”

Is this formula permanent or is it ephemeral?

Vin Weber, a former congressman from Minnesota and a Republican luminary, believes it may be more deeply ingrained. “Reagan believed in a mixed system, conservative but with an appreciation of the safety net, a coherent governing philosophy,” he says. “What most Americans want is an activist, limited government.”

Not so, says Richard Viguerie, one of the oldest veterans of the right-wing movement: “This is the last time the establishment will have operational control of a convention,” the 78-year-old activist proclaims. The grass-roots, ideologically driven base typified by the Tea Party movement, he says, is maturing into full control.

The establishment Republicans generally hold more moderate views, some having grown up in the party, others coming from business, and with a general appreciation of an “activist, limited government.”

Movement conservatives are motivated by ideology, sometimes small-government economics, other times the religious social agenda. They range from Paul Ryan, the small-government, economic policy-savvy vice-presidential candidate, to Todd Akin, the Missouri Senate contender who last week suggested that it is rare for women to become pregnant as a result of rape, saying “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

From Washington to the state capitals to the local level, the movement conservatives are in the ascendancy. For years, the Republican base was divided; it’s now dominated by the movement types.

  • I believe he is, that is why he was lagging in the polls by 9 to 10 points…until he picked Paul Ryan as his running mate. The selection of a Tea Party member was part of a well thought out strategy designed to reassure and rally the base and give conservative credibility to the ticket. What remains to be seen is how that decision will influence the opinion of Independents after the conventions hoopla fade away.

    • SaneJane

      They are desperate. The Republican Party is 90% white and they know they will soon be outnumbered. Relentless attacks on women, blacks, Hispanics and the poor could possibly work for them this time but never again. They have used “starve the beast” and the “Southern Strategy” successfully for a long time but it will no longer work for them when the people they have tried to dehumanize show up at the polls in droves.

  • desertdustoff

    Who knows what he is. nit wit mitt is such a puppet that he is just what rove, the koch sisters, murdoch, and the other illegal mega rich tell him to be. I doubt at this time, he even knows for himself what kind of repugnican he really is and what he really believes. He is nothing but a koch whore!!

  • js121

    No, he is NOT the last of the old GOP. Eisenhower was the Last. Even Eisenhower saw it coming and spoke of it. Reagan was the 1st of the New Right of Paul Weyrich and their ideology of Theocracy, followed by the Bush’s. It took the New Right 40 yrs to gain total control and they have that now. Just waiting for Romney to be “crowned” for completion. Democracy vs Theocracy and those average republicans don’t even realize that their party has been takenover (some do and are fighting to get it back).

  • sleeprn01

    Mitt Romney = Gumby; can be twisted anyway the Koch brothers want him twisted.

  • howa4x

    That is the central problem facing Mittens as he ties despertly to move to the center. Imagine he is sitting on a mound of jello, and every time he think he’s gotten it all in the mold, some squishes out the right side. So in order to make sure it dosen’t happen again he gets a right sider to hold that jello in place. Problem is the jello is unstable, and squirts like Akin are still shooting out the side, so Mitt always has to make sure its held down, and to do so he still needs a rightward swing. It’s a little late in the game to be in this position.
    In this election the 1% made sure Romney was the winner since they have to big clout in the background. They got a little nervous about the occupy movement that is catching on with the youth, and Obama rumbling about tax fairness. They wanted to make sure that the next president keeps his eye on their ball, continues their tax cuts and aides them in continuing to out source American jobs. They couldn’t trust one of the Zealots since they could turn populist, so they picked one of their own, one they trusted and who thinks like them, and whose fortunes are tied with theirs. One of their own members.
    In the future if the trend continues the Tea party will dominate the republican party and squeeze out any non belivers. The moderates don’t know how to fight them since the base is much angrier, and more religious. The committed always control the nominating process so the rightward pull of the entire party is strong. This is how a fool like Bachmann could even win 1 primary.
    The real issue is the problems we face and if the tea party dosen’t have the answers that a majority of americans want and they control the party then the party will shrink further and only exist regionally. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and it’s much easier to criticize if you don’t have the responsibilty to fix the problem. Currently a majority of Ameicans don’t belong to either party, and the ulta right wing veiw of the world scares them. They exist in the middle and the party that seems most responsible will get their vote. Ryan can say anything he wants if he is representing a district like Bachmann did, be extreme. Now he has to play to the middle and lets see what happens. This is the problem with the Tea party. If the governors don’t preform they will be out. They do ok in Kansas but what happens to them in Calif, or New york? Scott won in a 3 way runoff in Fla and some of his moves have people up in arms, same with Walker in Wisconson
    The future will be interesting to say the least!