Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I think if anyone would ever suggest that there isn’t something wrong with the electoral process, I would merely offer this as evidence: There simply are no candidates that meet the political description of maybe 75% of the people I know.
That is, they are “socially liberal but fiscally conservative.” There is a lot of grey area here – is wanting universal healthcare a social issue, or an economic one? Both, obviously. The point is, loads of people at least think of themselves this way.
So why does nobody really meet that criteria? One thing that the description fails to account for is national security. And that of course dominates the debate these days – but why has no one in the Democratic Party truly stepped up to this? Or even the Republican party?
With the Republicans, it would look like Rudy Giuliani would be that guy. He’s pro-choice, almost anathema to any GOP candidate in years past. But he’s (perhaps understandably so) pretty reluctant to come out and say so. But for a guy whose entire campaign hinges on his tough-guy, no nonsense manner, he looks pretty afraid of his own views. But it’s hard to be a socially liberal Republican with any hope of getting the nomination. Why is that? More to the point, why aren’t more mainstream Republicans more upset about that? It’s hard to not simply say that these influential moderates have been assured that without the evangelical vote, Republicans are nowhere near an electoral victory.
With Democrats, though, most of the candidates are at least somewhat socially liberal. And many of them also talk about fiscal responsibility. But – and it hurts me to say this as a Democrat – do any of them have much credibility on this? The programs they (and I) often think are important do cost money, and Bush has bankrupted the huge surplus left to him by Bill Clinton. Because they are actually talking about fixing some of these problems (unlike most GOP candidates) and an ability to question whether the recent tax cuts have hurt more than harm, they’ll be held to a different standard. While Republicans will be asked about budget issues, they’ll have less explaining to do about spending, unless that’s military spending which is always fine.
John McCain is probably the most credible candidate on fiscal responsibility, but is not only a total rightwing nutbag on almost every social issue, he looks more fragile and lost every day. I figured he’d be a shoo-in for the nominee (and he still might) but he’s less intimidating as a candidate all the time.
Bill Richardson should also be this guy, but he has almost no traction and just doesn’t seem at all like he can get the nomination – and he’s undoubtedly the most well-qualified of any candidate. Still, there should be PLENTY of actual moderates.
Socially liberal, fiscally conservative. If a majority of people I know call themselves this, there really should be a LOT of politicians who reflect this as well. That’s what a Congress is supposed to do – reflect the populace.