Why the Republicans had to have a flip-flopper

Seth Masket, Hans Noel, and Gregory Koger have kicked off a new group blog focusing on political parties, mischievously titled, the Mischiefs of Faction (I long ago gave up on making my students actually read Federalist #10, but it’s good stuff).  Anyway, Seth gets the ball rolling with a really nice post on the inevitability of Republicans nominating someone who would be considered a flip-flopper:

But here’s the key point about that: No one taking the stances Romney needed to take to win this year could have had the sort of résumé needed to be a typical major party nominee. The Republican Party has been moving to the right very quickly in recent years. Almost no one taking the stances that Romney is taking now could have been elected as a senator or a governor from most states just a few years ago. So, if you were consistently conservative (like, say, Bachmann or Santorum), you were either doomed to service in the House or to being kicked out of the Senate. If you had a presidential résumé, conversely, it was probably because your views were pretty moderate a few years ago. Arguably, the only person who can get nominated in the current Republican Party is someone who has pivoted to the right rapidly in the past decade. Rapid polarization makes flip-flopping a necessity.

As for the “arguably,” personally I mostly buy the argument.  Of course, if Romney had not been running, I think that Pawlenty would have been the nominee due to the extreme weaknesses in the other candidates and I think that by the end of the nomination, Pawlenty would have, of necessity, had to be a “flip-flopper.”  Same goes for someone like Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie.   That said, if Rick Perry wasn’t just so unbelievably dumb, it could have been him– no flip-flopping.  That is an awfully big “if” though.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Why the Republicans had to have a flip-flopper

  1. lizzietish81 says:

    Romney is like eating tofu. Bland on its own, but able to take on the flavor of whatever sauce it is introduced to.

    May cause allergic reaction.

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