Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why not more business support for GOP candidates?

Raleigh political analyst John Davis, who is urging voters to support Republicans and who predicts the GOP will take over the N.C. Senate in the 2010 elections, has a new analysis on his Web site (www.johndavisconsulting.com) that plumbs an old question: Why haven't Republican political candidates enjoyed more support from business interests in past elections? After all, he reasons, Republicans are business-friendly candidates, but he noted that Democrats have long stayed in power because they get big financial support from business folks.

About 20 years ago he finally discovered the reason after doing a number of straw polls among attendees at political forums where he spoke, he writes: They have a religious and social agenda that most business-oriented voters do not regard as the main business of government, he believes.

"....[T]the common denominator among those business-friendly Republicans with lousy straw poll scores was their preoccupation with a right-wing religious and/or socially conservative agenda.

"Over the next 20 years, it became very apparent that although North Carolina business people do not have a personal problem with religion or social conservatism, with many supporting that agenda privately, they simply believe that the primary responsibility of elected officials is to run the government as efficiently and effectively as possible, addressing the fundamental needs of the state. In the mind of many North Carolina business people, there is a disconnect between effective governmental leadership and a preoccupation with a social agenda.

"As I said at the outset, when the dust settles after the 2010 elections, if all NC Republicans have to offer is, “We’re not the other guys … those corrupt tax and spend liberal Democrats,” they will not win either chamber of the NC General Assembly. Our problems are too great.

"If I am out of work, living on unemployment, can't afford health insurance, can’t afford to keep my kids in college, can't afford to buy my family Christmas gifts ... don't come to my door asking for my vote based on your position on abortion. If my wife is sick and I can't afford to take her to a doctor, and my daughter lost her job and I can't afford to help her pay her rent … don't come to my door asking for my vote based on your position on same-sex marriage.

"Karl Rove is right. 'It won’t be enough to surf voter dissatisfaction with Mr. Obama and Democrats. Voters will want to know what Republican candidates would do'.”

Davis is a smart fellow, though he missed the call on the state Senate in 2008 when he thought voters would put the Republicans in charge. Still, he points to Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand's decision to step down, and retirement of other business senators, combined with the rise of liberal Democrats in leadership ranks, as evidence that things are about to change in big ways.

What I'm wondering is what voters -- and Republican candidates -- think about Davis' point about religious and social issues. Is that a drag on their election in 2010?