Given the current political climate and the opportunity it has provided to deviate from political business as usual, it appears that this type of deviation may no longer be possible. Amidst outrage over the intrusion of big government, one would think the electorate might want to support conservatives. This appears to either not be the case or be lost on the politically powerful in the Republican Party. I honestly don't know which scenario carries more weight, but I am fairly certain that both are factors.
I suppose a third factor might be labeling or sales games that have warped the way candidates are viewed or identified and have made certain labels chic. For example, there are those who seem to think being a Republican means being a conservative. There also seems to be some sort of intellectual gold star awarded (self-awarded in some cases) to those who claim to be "moderate" or "independent".
I am asking, what does it mean to be a "moderate"? I am not claiming to have the answer, for if I did, I would be even more confused. How could having the answer create more confusion? If what appears to me to make up a "moderate", is indeed true, then the resulting ideal is some version of big government mush. What do "moderates" seek? Do "moderates" have set principles? How much of one man's liberty would "moderates" offer to others? What is a "moderate" view of individual rights (and accompanying responsibilities)? If anyone has answers or insights, please share them!
I know that much of the designation of "moderate" appears to be pegged to one's stance on abortion. While I personally believe that the abortion issue provides a valuable indicator of a person's character, I know that there are "single issue voters" on the other end of the spectrum. I could never support a candidate like Mark Kirk due to the character portrayed by his horrendous abortion record, so I am among the small segment on this particular end of the spectrum.
What I find really confusing is the other traits that make a "moderate". If it is true that in a state like Illinois, only a "moderate" can compete, what does this say about the motives of the electorate? Perhaps there aren't enough voters who look closely at candidates or consider the appropriate roles of elected officials for it to say anything about the electorate other than that they are largely detached. Let us assume that voters are not apathetic or detached. What are they seeking if "moderates" are the answer?
Does the "moderate" provide just the exact degree of deviation from the Constitution to make himself attractive to the average voter? Is it that the voter seeks a government that will overstep its bounds... but not always? Is it that the "moderate" is intellectually superior in that he knows where the Constitution means what it says and where it does not? Is this a "moderate", one who can moisten his finger and detect in the wind, exactly which expansion of federal government authority or intervention might garner electoral support? Can the "moderate" navigate the imaginary penumbras of the Constitution in a way that separates him from a liberal?
Does a "moderate" have insight to know the exact amount of wealth which can be seized by government for redistribution (beyond that which is enumerated by the Constitution or local governing document) such that he gains votes or endorsements but does not qualify as a liberal? Does the "moderate" have a sense of which redistributive votes will cross the line into liberalism or which will make him distasteful to the groups he courts?
Please, if you possess insight into the mind of a "moderate", share it. It would appear to me that unless the topic is abortion, any other types of "moderates" would necessarily seek to limit liberty, to take from a producer to give to a recipient, or regulate in a manner inconsistent with the Constitution... all for the glory and/or power of holding elected office. Is this the case? Is this what voters seek? Or, is it simply easiest to pander here or expand government there without giving much thought to the value of limited government?