As this issue is finalized the election is literally just around the corner. While we're trying to be on top of things, I realize that some people will be reading this for the first time after the election is over. We also realize that, regardless of how Americans are spoon fed to think that they should only think about how things are run just around election time, that some factors related to election linger on long afterwards regardless of who wins or loses. So, in the interest of stepping back slightly to look at the bigger picture, we decided to take a lighthearted look at one of these political tropes.
One of the biggest tropes of American politics, especially in the Presidential race, is the myth that prospective candidates will spend the primary part of the race doing whatever they can to appeal to the base but one the nomination happens they will quickly pivot to a more moderate position to appeal to the middle of the road. While there may be some truth to this, if you look at the big picture one has to wonder if they really shift to the center or if one side keeps moving the goalposts so the center keeps looking less centrist than in the past. In the 2012 race, one candidate who is known for his ever changing positions (as well as his denial of his past held beliefs) shifted gears to appear "moderate." Is he actually so?
While that can remain to be seen, I felt it would be fun to take a humorous look at this issue with instances involving several candidates either running for office or currently holding a political office. We've tried to avoid simple flip-flops (though in this case, some may have gotten in. Also, feel free to test your knowledge and try to answer which candidate is responsible for what in this list.
So, sit back, laugh if you feel like it and enjoy the following exploration of this question (which can fit both this election and used as a guide to future ones - if we still have them in the future):
HOW CAN ONE TELL IF A POLITICAL CANDIDATE ISN'T REALLY A MODERATE?
If a candidate's foreign policy advisors include many of the same people who guided Dubya to start the war in Iraq back in 2003, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate claims in a primary debate that federal disaster relief is "simply immoral" the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate claims to be a scientist but states that "evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang theory are lies from the pit of hell," the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate claims at a town hall meeting that 78 to 81 members of the opposition political party are members of the Communist Party, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate appears at a "Christian" church where the pastor calls homosexuality "immoral and unnatural" and airs a video that claims gay people can be cured of their sexual orientation, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate speaks out in favor of America's legacy of slavery claiming that it was good for black people and eventually allowed them to become US. citizens, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a top surrogate for a candidate continues to use dog whistle comments to appeal to the implied (and often open) racism of the citizenry in order to stir up votes, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate claims to object to Ayn Rand not because of the general themes in her work theme that the poor and people who need help are worthless parasites that will destroy the protagonist but that Rand was a pro-choice atheist, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate has a female opponent and implies that her debate performance was "unladylike" and later compares her to a dog, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate can't easily answer whether he or she supports equal pay for women, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate's criticism of a talk radio host claiming a woman advocating contraception coverage in Obamacare a "slut" and a "prostitute" who should be "forced to put a sex tape on the Internet so we all can watch" is that he wouldn't use those words rather than the sentiment in his rant itself, the candidate is not a moderate.
If the candidate's refuses to denounce fellow candidates who try to redefine what rape is, the candidate is not a moderate
If a candidate's "moderate" position on abortion would still make the procedure illegal in 90% of all instances, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate is on tape agreeing with Glenn Beck that "progressives are a cancer" that should be wiped out, the candidate is not a moderate.
If a candidate's fund raiser features appearances by both Dick Cheney and Glenn Beck, the candidate is not a moderate.
This is merely the tip of the iceberg. If you feel like coming up with other examples in this vein, feel free to do so. Regardless of how the 2012 election goes, keep these examples in mind when a candidate suddenly known for extreme positions seems to claim said views are similar to the average American. In an era as polarized as this one, it's hard sometimes to know where the middle exactly is and, unfortunately, the extremism seems unlikely to go away in our lifetimes.
For now, play this and have fun. Only when we're aware of how wacked out things really are can we begin the long, sometimes roadblock ridden road to change things for the better. One thing is for sure, if people remain unaware than the pattern of candidates like the ones in the examples will be destined to continue until people speaks up.