"Opinion Leaders" Don't Always Reflect Voters' Opinions ...

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Mar 19, 2007 8:26 AM

Yesterday, I commented on Patrick Hynes assertion that it is more important to communicate with voters than with the conservative media.

Of course, he's right: The conservative "insiders" often don't reflect or represent the wishes of conservative voters.  As they say in sports: "That's why we play the games."

Let's not forget that Reagan wasn't the first choice of conservative leaders like Richard Viguerie and Paul Weyrich (who wanted Rep. Phil Crane) for president. But in the 1980 nomination contest, the  voters spoke -- and, as is the case with the "wisdom of crowds" -- the voters knew best.  (By the way, this is proof that no "vast right wing conspiracy" exists).

But part of me still believes that this is a PR move: If the conservative media loves you, you argue they matter; if they don't like you, you argue they are irrelevant, etc.

But I do think that a case could be made that we have created a conservative Intelligentsia that is out of touch with average voters. I mean, does George Will (just using him as an example) have more in common with the average guy living in Iowa, or a liberal in Washington, DC? Philosophically, he may have more in common with the guy in Iowa. But he also reads the same Washington Post -- and shops at the same Whole Foods store -- as everyone else inside the Beltway.  As Rush Limbaugh has argued for decades; it's hard to live in DC (or New York, for that matter), and not lose your moorings. 

The bottom line is that conservative leaders do matter -- but Pat also makes a good piont: Neither George Will, nor Hugh Hewitt, nor Rich Lowry will cast a single vote in Iowa or New Hampshire ...

Using modern technology to reach real voters is something that should be applauded.  Let's see how it works.