Not all moderates are losers, of course. But when I was reviewing some of my earliest blog posts from the dawn of Obama's presidency, I was reminded of an important fact:
McCain the moderate only got 39% of the moderate vote.
On the other hand, Obama the extreme liberal got a whopping 60% of the moderate vote.
I would submit that uncommitted moderate and independent voters aren't necessarily looking to vote for candidates who strike a photogenic pose at the middle of the ideological spectrum. In fact, a large number swing voters aren't looking at ideology at all. They look at confidence, charisma, and a candidate's ability to communicate clearly without prevarication.
This is what can happen when swing voters find those things in a politician:
Yes, 1984 was a long, long time ago, but it isn't ancient history.
A word to the wise...