Charlie's Big Tent
Back in October 2009, when I first started thinking seriously about former Republican Rep. Charlie Bass’ emerging bid to reclaim his second district Congressional seat, I suggested that his optimal strategy would be to turn the Republican primary discourse into an argument about viability in the general election. The objective would be to make a persuasive case to primary voters that he is the Republican best positioned to win the seat in November, given the increasingly moderate political demographics of the second district. The major caveat with this strategy of course was whether he would hit a roadblock of conservative opposition in the primary. Bass’ status as a former six-term incumbent and a moderate are not necessarily the kind of resume-builders that make for a popular candidate in Republican primaries these days.
Fortunately for Bass, tea partiers and social conservatives have largely turned their attention elsewhere, and as a result, he seems increasingly comfortable with talking about viability in the general election. Witness this recent YouTube clip in which Bass discusses the necessity of winning in November with a coalition that cuts across party lines (hat tip to the Concord Monitor for mentioning the clip). Talk like that in some of the other Republican primaries being held around the country this year would be a recipe for conservative ire and certain defeat.
Note: Back posting on Wednesday. -Dean
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