Sunday, November 12, 2006

See How They Ran - As if to add credence to what was noted in this blog's inaugural post, on three occassions in the space of six days, both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times chronicled Democratic House and Senate races where the candidate did all that they could to burnish their conservative bonafides, particularly in the South. According to the October 19, 2006 NYT, incumbent House candidate John Barrow (D-GA) seconded President Bush's desire to repeal the estate tax, ending one of his campaign ads with, "I agree with George Bush on this one."

Similarly, the October 26, 2006 L.A. Times noted that many of the Democratic candidates leaned conservative, to include Congressman-elect Heath Shuler.

But, like Shuler, many of the Democratic candidates most likely to be elected are cut from a different cloth. Sixteen of them have been endorsed by the Blue Dogs, a coalition of conservative Democrats. Several used to be Republicans.
And again, the October 30, 2006 NYT noted that, "Democrats have turned to conservative and moderate candidates who fit the profiles of their districts more closely than the profile of the national party."
My guess is that if Democrats are in the majority, it's going to be because of these New Democrat, Blue Dog candidates out there winning in these competitive swing districts," Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, co-chairman of a caucus of centrist House Democrats, said in an interview.
Two observations are appropriate at this juncture. First, this election yet again reinforces the fact that Democrats cannot get elected (outside of the azure provinces along the East and West coasts) by running on their mostly left-wing agenda. Secondly, this "New Democrat" episode is a rerun. We should not at all be surprised if the Party's neo-socialist element attempts to overwhelm these supposed conservative Democrats. Even today's NYT suggests that the moderate-to-conservative tone of many Democratic freshmen "could lead to tensions with the party’s liberal base in Congress — many of the party’s expected committee chairmen are traditional liberals — and thus occasional headaches over the next two years for the Democratic leaders."

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