Pat Robertson Warns Republicans About Extreme Positions

Televangelist Pat Robertson says that Republican primary voters are forcing their candidates into “extreme positions” than could cost them the general election.

I believe it was Lyndon Johnson that said, ‘Don’t these people realize if they push me over to an extreme position I’ll lose the election? And I’m the one who will be supporting what they want but they’re going to make it so I can’t win.’ Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off of this stuff. They’re forcing their leaders, the frontrunners, into positions that will mean they lose the general election. Now whether this did it to Cain I don’t know, but nevertheless, you appeal to the narrow base and they’ll applaud the daylights out of what you’re saying and then you hit the general election and they say ‘no way’ and then the Democrat, whoever it is, is going to just play these statements to the hilt. They’ve got to stop this! It’s just so counterproductive!

The stunningness of this coming from Robertson notwithstanding, this is actually a perennial lament for both parties. He’s apparently talking about Herman Cain, who isn’t going to win and quite possibly is running to sell books and market himself as a public speaker, anyway. Thus far, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have mostly avoided the trap and Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and others seem to need little prompting to say whatever the base wants to hear.

Hat tips: RightWingWatch via ThinkProgress via Matt Duss

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Moosebreath says:

    Excuse me, but I need to buy a new irony meter. Mine just broke.

    “Thus far, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have mostly avoided the trap and Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and others seem to need little prompting to say whatever the base wants to hear.”

    Or possibly Romney and Huntsman want to keep themselves viable in the general election, but are risking being rejected in the primary as a result, while Perry, Cain, et al. are trying to win the primary, and then worry about the general election.

  2. Tlaloc says:

    The stunningness of this coming from Robertson notwithstanding

    No actually I’d like to stand a moment and gape at this coming from Pat Robertson, he of blaming homosexuals for 9/11, he of supporting white supremacists. That Pat Robertson says the GOP has gone too far?

  3. Hey Norm says:

    When Pat Robertson is advocating for a more moderate course…perhaps the party has tacked too far to starboard. Actual moderates like Frum and Bartlett have been thrown overboard. The “electable” moderate can only muster 25% support no matter what he does. The guy leading all the polls isn’t even really running.
    The over-arching question…can this trash barge right itself in the next 12 months? Stay tuned.

  4. says:

    Thus far, Mitt Romney … mostly avoided the trap…

    Mitt Romney has avoided the trap by taking so many positions on everything that nobody knows what he actually thinks and nobody takes anything he says seriously anymore.

    Instead everyone just generally projects Establishment Republican values on him. A really neat trick actually.

  5. CB says:

    cognitive dissonance, meet your match

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Is that headline ironic or oxymoronic? Or both?

  7. John H says:

    He’s a major nutcase to be sure, but even nutcases can learn from their mistakes. Isn’t he just advocating a stealth approach to getting a fellow radical into the office?

  8. Mr. Prosser says:

    @John H: That is exactly what he is saying. “Tone it down until you’re in, you goobers.”