Hitching a Ride on the Straight Talk Express

Interesting reader e-mail on Andrew Sullivan today about John McCain’s recent speeches:

McCain seems to be stating one obvious, but frequently over-looked, truth. You need not agree with me on every issue to support me. It’s laughable to suppose otherwise, yet that’s where we seem to be as any deviation form party orthodoxy is treated as an act of excommunicable heresy. That’s crazy and childish. If McCain can change that dynamic then he’ll have done his country yet another service. After all, that’s how most people actually think and feel.

As much as I agree personally with the e-mailer, I’d be very curious to see how this hypothesis plays out with the public at large. My sense is that one the extreme left and right, there are a large number of “single issue” voters who will run from any candidate who doesn’t push their button on that particular issue. Abortion comes to mind as the clearest example, taxes as another.

But how great would it be to get not only a Republican, but also a Democratic candidate, who didn’t spout the party orthodoxy on every single point?! Might the middle 50% of voters actually find themselves more engaged with the issues and perhaps have to work harder (much to their benefit) to make a choice?

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