Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sequel: The 80% Solution

When buying a food product, it's always good to see the word 100% pure on the label as that conveys the message that the product is safe to eat.

But in politics, that same desire for a candidate to be a 100% “pure”ideological candidate, is almost impossible to achieve. If that's what a voter is looking for, he is not going to find it. So what is a “purist” voter to do? Well, Ronald Reagan had what he called the 80% solution, which meant that if a voter could agree with 80% of the policies of a candidate for office, he should be able to support that candidate with a clear conscience as long as his opponent has a lower or non-existent favorability rating on the issues. This is the case now with the present slate of Republican candidates (with the exception of Ron Paul). All of the candidates have flaws, made flip-flops, and held opposite or differing opinions on a variety of issues - but, they mainly agree on the major issues as opposed to the views and policies of President Obama. Some voters in the present and past, have based their support of a candidate on one issue to the exclusion of all others (ex. Abortion, same sex marriage, immigration etc.). To me, that is a wrongheaded position to take as life is more than just one issue.

The candidates for the Republican nomination have mostly run the gauntlet of diverse positions on certain topics or policies and have been accused of flip-flops on some issues. Does a candidate have to toe-the-line by never changing or altering his mind on specific issues he might have held in the past? Let's hope not.

The two current front runners for the Republican nomination, Romney and Gingrich, have been accused of flip-flopping on a few issues. I think most all politicians have changed (or evolved) their positions over the years, either out of convictions or for political considerations. Even somebody like President Obama has flip-flopped on the issues more than a short order cook at IHOP over the past few years, which he will have to confront and answer for during the regular presidential campaign of 2012.

Many of our previous presidents have changed their minds on a whole host of topics including the a fore mentioned items such as abortion, gay rights, immigration and now government run healthcare. It is politically expedient to accuse your opponent of changing his mind, but in reality, it is a weak excuse to withhold your support or vote for a candidate just because of the flip-flop. That ploy is going to be used by both Democrats and Republicans in the upcoming election, as it is a means of personally attacking their opponent for doing what most all politicians do anyway, that is, change their mind.

So, my advice to all voters who hold disdain for any candidate or politician who has changed his mind on a particular issue, is to remember that most all have done the same thing on one or more occasions in the past. It's what that candidate believes in now, in the present, that should be taken into consideration more so than what he believed in years ago. Politicians would be foolish to stick to a position that they no longer believe in just for the sake of not being called a flip-flopper or to be “politically correct”.

So, in my opinion, Reagan's 80% solution should be viewed as a sensible means of evaluating a candidate for public office.

Conservative commentary by Chuck Lehmann

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Robbie Garden said...

Aah! The purist voter wants to vote for the candidate that agrees with him 100% on all issues. How foolish! I didn't agree with all that my mother told me, but I respected and loved her anyway. We can't let this opportunity to get rid of this "cancer" in the White House because of silly infighting among ourselves. Let's make sure we all support the Republican candidate regardless of any warts or pimples that that candidate might have.

James J. Pirretti said...

I am not looking for a candidate that is 100% pure - but I am also not looking at another John McCain. I am concerned when the two leading contenders have taken positions in the past few years advocating universal health, liberal positions on gun control, abortion, immigration, global warming, etc. There comes a time when integrity and consistency are important to a candidate.