October 30, 2006

If Democrats win the House with candidates who seem more like Republicans...

... what will happen to the party?
Democratic officials said they did not set out with the intention of finding moderates to run. Instead, as they searched for candidates with the greatest possibility of winning against Republicans, they said, they wound up with a number who reflected more moderate views....

Collectively, the group could tilt the balance of power within the party, which has been struggling to define itself in recent elections. The candidates cover the spectrum on political issues; some are fiscally conservative and moderate or liberal on social issues, some are the reverse. They could influence negotiations with Republicans on a variety of issues, including Social Security and stem cell research....

The centrist movement was embodied by former President Bill Clinton, who rose to prominence through the Democratic Leadership Council, which embraced a so-called third way of politics and eschewed what it saw as outdated liberalism.

Yet since Mr. Clinton left office, Democrats have seemed to drift back in the direction of their liberal identity, nominating two presidential contenders who were seen as less committed to the moderate cause.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I'd like to see the Democratic Party become centrist. If they win because they found moderates to run in key districts, I think they'll have a special obligation to please people like me. I'm going to hold them to the bargain.

UPDATE: The liberal bloggers' response to the linked article is pretty funny. TAPPED whines that the NYT isn't helping them enough. Matthew Yglesias is similiarly irked. The NYT was supposed to be on our side! How embarrassing. First, you try to blow the credibility of the newspaper that really does usually help you. Second, you show your disrespect for professional journalism. Third, you reveal how far to the left you are if the NYT isn't liberal enough for you. Absurd!

84 comments:

David said...

I look forward to the inevitable confrontation between Pelosi, Reid, and Dean and the new centrist democrats who don't toe the party line. The midterms will be interesting as a referendum on American sentiment and a portent of things to come in 2008!

The Drill SGT said...

While I applaud any moderate Dem candidates, one must consider that it is the NYT's that is defining "moderate" here. Also, any moderate wins will put in place a Democratic leadership that is extremely liberal. Rangel, Conyers, Waxman, Hastings, Frank, Pelosi, etc. Folks who have made a point of NOT wanting to work with the GOP, on ANYTHING.

MadisonMan said...

Drill, I'm not sure you can say the Democrats have refused to work with the Republicans without noting that it works the other way as well. How many bills have been developed with zero input from the Democrats just 'cause the Republicans didn't want to?

I say vote all the bums out. I'm slowly convincing myself that Tammy can be voted out of office without the world ending.

I'm still not convinced the Democrats will win either house, btw, and fully expect large-scale resignations if that doesn't happen. If Dean & Pelosi et al. cannot win given the corruption in DC, exploding deficits and entitlements, huge run-ups in the size of government and per capita spending, not to mention the incompetent leadership re: Iraq and the war on terror, well, what good are they?

Shanna said...

I think more moderate Dem's can only be good for the party. Provided they actually vote that way, rather than just talk.

I say vote all the bums out.
This is difficult to do in Arkansas. We've had the same congressman in my district as long as I can remember and he's not going anywhere. And we had the same senator forever, he retired and now his son is the senator. It's impossible to vote these people out.

The Drill SGT said...

MadisonMan said...
Drill, I'm not sure you can say the Democrats have refused to work with the Republicans without noting that it works the other way as well.


I'm headed out to meetings so I don't have a bunch of time to research this one for you, but I'll give you 3 citations off the top of my head:

1. Pelosi with a whip enforcing party line votes on everything

2. Pelosi wanting the number 2 Dem (Hoyer) replaced because he's too moderate and works with the GOP.

3. Pelosi planning on replacing a moderate-liberal woman (Harman) as chairman of the Intel committee with Hastings, a former Fedral judge who was impeached and convicted by a Democrat House previously for bribery and corruption.

Kirby Olson said...

I think W. is fairly moderate. Zell Miller, Lieberman: moderates.

Anyone who's more or less toward the center.

How to define the center? What are some of the criteria that distinguish the centrist from the flakes that go too far to the left or to the right?

Is John Edwards a centrist?

I'd like to see candidates that minimally consider -- the woman AND the baby; the employee and the employer; -- I think the flakes just consider one side. Maybe you have a better definition.

chickenlittle said...

Out here on the far left coast, there are no centrist democrats, For example, in the 49th district, incumbent Darrell Issa-R is fending off Jeeni Criscenzo, who promises the immediate and simultaneous impeachment of Bush and Cheney for their Iraq War "lies".
I used to vote democratic too, but I'm not coming back any time soon.

Doyle said...

The "moderate cause" is a contradiction in terms, but I love all this hand-wringing.

Just because we're picking up a huge number of House seats (including many in red states) it doesn't mean the Democratic party owes people like Ann a goddamn thing.

Doyle said...

The working definition of "moderate" on this board is absolutely hilarious, and telling of just how far right this board is. Zell Miller? Joe Lieberman? What do these men have in common?

Fenrisulven said...

Dolye: Just because we're picking up a huge number of House seats (including many in red states) it doesn't mean the Democratic party owes people like Ann a goddamn thing.

How many seats are you picking up Doyle? A huge number? How many do you predict?

Miller is a moderate Dem

Lieberman is a liberal Dem, but some confuse his integrity with moderation [when compared to his Dem peers]

MadisonMan said...

How annoying! Blogger just ate my comment.

Let's try it again: DrillSgt, it's unreasonable to say that Democrats don't want to work with Republicans on ANYTHING when it's the Republican Leadership that is locking the doors to meetings that Democrats really should be in. I'm thinking of the Energy Bill that started as Vice President Cheney's Energy Task Force, and then was made in a bill in private sessions to which no Democrats were allowed. Or the Medicare Bill, the drafting of which also excluded almost all Democrats. See for example, This article. So don't condemn the Democrats for doing the same thing the Republicans are doing, unless you're also condemning the GOP -- I'm not sure if I've read that in your commentary.

I should have added in my previous post that Democrat failure to regain either house, and the resignations that I should think would go along with that, would be a good thing in the long run for the Democratic Party.

Zeb Quinn said...

It's been the case for as long as I can remember, and I'm 57 years old, the Democrats, when they've won, usually only win with candidates who seem more like Republicans, or at least try very hard to appear that way. Left to their own devices, running openly for who and what they are, the Democrats lose.

Doyle said...

Miller and Lieberman are traitors to their party, as in literally worked to defeat the Democratic candidate for president and Senate, respectively.

A reasonable definition of moderate means holding some heterodox opinions on progressive taxation, gun control, affirmative action etc. Not being Bush's pet Democrat on national security, where he's done even more irreparable damage than he has domestically.

Doyle said...

Hey Zeb, do you really believe that Bush won in 2000 on "who and what" he was? A moderate who cared deeply about education and didn't believe in "nation building"? Compassionate conservatism?

I suppose "half-witted puppet of Corporate America" doesn't quite sing...

Gerry said...

A few weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals were destroying the Chicago Bears, in a very surprising performance.

Then, late in the third quarter, Matt Leinart fumbled, and the Bears returned it for a touchdown. Although the score was not all that close at the time, I had a really good sense for how things were going to turn out. One could see the inevitable coming from a mile away.

Why do I bring that up?

"I think they'll have a special obligation to please people like me. I'm going to hold them to the bargain."

Sometimes, it really is not that hard to see how things will turn out.

Fenrisulven said...

Miller and Lieberman are traitors to their party, as in literally worked to defeat the Democratic candidate for president and Senate

You're confused. Miller and Lieberman were fighting the hard left inside the Dem party to save it. Miller was trying to save the party from Moonbats & Frauds driving it over a cliff. He recognizes that loyalty to the party doesn't trump loyalty to the nation. Lieberman was purged by Moonbats [Kos-Huff-FDL] and will switch back to Dem once he wins. Note that your "traitor" was the VP nom in 2000.

Still waiting on you to name the "huge" number of house seats you predicted you'll pick up. You sounded so confident...

Doyle said...

I wasn't being shy. I forgot you wanted my over/under, which is 20.

If you're a Bush fan, you're likely to see loyalty to him as being the highest expression of American patriotism, so I can understand your (and his) appreciation of Holy Joe and that crazy dude from Georgia.

But thankfully not everyone sees things that way.

Fenrisulven said...

If you're a Bush fan, you're likely to see loyalty to him as being the highest expression of American patriotism

Thats a stupid remark. There are lots of things I disagree with Bush about.

And 20 is not "huge" [via HughHewitt]

1938: Dems lose 76 seats
1958: Dems pick up 48 seats
1974: Dems pick up 49 seats
1992: Dems lose 52 seats

20 is not even half of "huge".

Doyle said...

Hey it's enough for control. Anything in excess of that is gravy.

I withdraw my characterization of the expected swing as "huge" if it makes you feel any better (as it clearly does).

Fenrisulven said...

I don't think you'll get control.

Your party hasn't offered me any alternative. The Dems think that Australian Nukes and Evangelical Christians are our greatest threats...

Garage Mahal said...

If Democrats win, they'll have a special obligation to please people like Ann Althouse. We'll owe so much to the conservative blogosphere for all their help.

A classic!

Too Many Jims said...

Garage Mahal said...
If Democrats win, they'll have a special obligation to please people like Ann Althouse.


The Dems would be better served to think of it as an opportunity to please people like Prof. Althouse.

Richard Dolan said...

Ann says: "I'd like to see the Democratic Party become centrist."

Amen. But to mean anything important, "centrist" here would have to include all of the policy issues that will determine how the US approaches the long-term struggle of confronting the Islamofascist threat. That includes preventing Iran from obtaining nukes, supporting the Israelis in the next Arab-Israeli war that's always just over the horizon (this time in Gaza, and sooner than one might think?), and all the rest. To me, the Ds are on the wrong track on all of these, and like the Europeans are looking for the cheap and easy way to avoid history's burdens. It would be wonderful if there were some adult leadership on the D side on these issues.

Unfortunately, the NYT article indicates that the "moderate" candidates running as Ds dissent from the usual lefty D party line mainly on social issues -- abortion, gay marriage and gun control topping the list. Those issues make my list only as institutional concerns -- what's objectionable is the idea of having the judiciary impose broad social policies under the guise of interpreting the elastic provisions of the constitution, thus effectively usurping a democratic, political solution. On the merits of all three, a "centrist" solution would be fine with me.

On the national security issues that matter, however, I didn't see any indication that these "moderates" differ at all from standard-issue Ds. That doesn't give me much comfort. In all events, there won't be any D "moderates" on the ballot in my Brooklyn district, nor will there be any suspense about the outcome.

Doyle said...

If the Democrats win, I'd like to see them take Ms. Althouse out for a nice seafood dinner, and never call her again.

Henry said...

If the Democrats win, I'd like them to usher in an era of middle-east peace, $1/gallon gas, zero carbon emissions, free immigration and 100% employment.

The Democrat running for governor in my state is promising universal health care and lower property taxes. Anything is possible!

tjl said...

"The Dems would be better served to think of it as an opportunity to please people like Prof. Althouse."

Let's hope that they do. Our governmental institutions have worked as well as they have because historically we've had two big-tent parties, each of which tried to attract as large a coalition as possible. Because neither party was monolithic, deal-making and compromise were always possible. (Remember "bipartisanship?")
The Stalin-like purge of Lieberman and the ascension of Dean and Pelosi were alarming signs that the Dems were evolving into an ideologically-driven party on the old European model. In the long term, what could be more unhealthy for the nation than a permanently angry, permanently extreme Democratic party that preferred doctrinal purity to winning a majority?

Simon said...

I had a letter to the editor published echoing the Drill Sarge's comment, that even if individual representatives may be personally conservative - and there are certainly a lot of blue dogs running this year - they will vote to "put in place a Democratic leadership that is extremely liberal." I stand by that point, but it does bear noting that there is a counterclaim that the Sarge and I have both played down (or in my case, deliberately glossed over). If the split is very close, as seems possible, the result may well be that Pelosi, Waxman, Rangel et al will get their gavels. But it will also mean that a group of blue dog Democrats wields complete power over the Democratic agenda: you will suddenly have a situation where no matter how liberal a bill the leadership may want, they have to pursuade people like Stephanie Herseth, Heath Shuler and Brad Ellsworth to go along with it. The point that I made in my letter to the editor was that while a "bipartisan majority on any given issue may suffice to pass a bill that is brought to a vote ... the majority party, per procura the Speaker, determines which bills get to be voted on (and when) ... [Thus] if [Brad] Ellsworth [et al] vote[] to install Speaker Pelosi, the issues on which Ellsworth dissents from the party line are very unlikely to ever be brought to a vote." Which is true, but there's a flipside to that: the leadership can prevent a bill they don't like from coming to a vote, but what they can't do (or at least, not entirely of their own power), is to pass a bill that they bring to the floor. That's not to say there won't be any arm-twisting and gamesmanship, of the kind we saw during the prescription drug benefit vote, but it does have important consequences for just how far the leadership can go.

So, if you think of the single area where a Democratic House can do the most damage, you probably think of immigration. In this Congress, it's been the House standing up against the Senate and the President over amnesty. And you'd think that the pro-amnesty Democrats taking over the House would naturally mean a disaster, but what you've really got to ask yourself is: John Conyers can report out an amnesty bill, and Pelosi can call a vote on it, but does that mean that it'll pass? If they have a razor-thin majority, there are enough democrats skeptical of amnesty that they'll have to do some serious arm-twisting. I know that out here in Indiana, for example, Brad Ellsworth has explicitly said that he's against amnesty.

The irony is that the election that the nutroots thought would break the DLC, when they pushed Lamont past Lieberman by a whisker, may very well be the election that puts the blue dogs firmly back in control of the House.

MadisonMan said...

If the Democrats win, I'd like to see them take Ms. Althouse out for a nice seafood dinner

It's difficult to get a good seafood dinner in Madison, as we're quite some distance from the ocean. But maybe they'll fly her to the coast for a dinner.

sonicfrog said...

Larry Kudlow has also noted this trend. He had a good interview with Nanci Pelosi last week. This is going to be an interesting election.

sonicfrog said...

Simon said:

But it will also mean that a group of blue dog Democrats wields complete power over the Democratic agenda: you will suddenly have a situation where no matter how liberal a bill the leadership may want, they have to pursuade people like Stephanie Herseth, Heath Shuler and Brad Ellsworth to go along with it.

That, my friend, sounds very much like the "Big Tent" philosophy in action, a political strategy the current Republican leadership has completely abandond.

aaron said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aaron said...

I'm voting the straight "Throw the Bums Out" ticket. I'll be voting against every incumbant running.

Sloanasaurus said...

It's not just that the democrats are conservative, they will have won in conservative leaning districts.

For the new democratic fresmen in places like Indiana, or Texas 22, or Foley's seat, most will vote with the republicans most of the time. If they don't they will lose their seat in 2008. It is that simple. Nothing attracts quality candidates for your side than a weak incumbant on the other side.

If the Dems only win the majority by a few seats, there will be a good chance that Pelosi won't become Speaker. Nothing will be worse for the Democrat in Delay's seat or Dems in Indiana, etc... than a Speaker Pelosi.

Elizabeth said...

MadisonMan,

I have heard this about "seafood" in Wisconsin. You may recall me asking about cheese curds yesterday (thanks for the tips on that, by the way); the friends we'll be visiting make it here every couple of months and spend the 3-day weekend hoovering our wonderful seafood, including some of the best sushi in the U.S.

It would be no compliment at all to take someone out for seafood in WI.

John Hawkins said...

What would they do? It's irrelveant. These "moderates" won't have any power. Because leadership is seniority-based, and seniority (in both parties) tends towards the wings, there's very little chance any moderate Dems elected this year will have any impact at all on the national debate. Indeed, I would expect at least half of any Democrate Moderates elected in 06 to be defeated in 08. They're just passing through.

The real vote isn't for your local Rep or Senator, it's for the leadership. I won't be voting for Dave Reichart or Darcy Burner next tuesday, I'll be voting for Denny Hastert or Nancy Pelosi. If Reichart is re-elected (and the Republicans keep control of the House), he'll be a second-termer with little influence. If Burner wins (and the Dems take the house), she'll be a Freshman with zero influence.

Plus, remember Bill Clinton. He ran as a moderate Democrate (DLC and all that) in '92. He spent all of about 30 seconds after taking office being a Moderate, then threw his lot in with the Left Wing. The result was '94 and a Congress that forced him back to the center.

Eye Doc said...

What do you mean what'll happen? It's obvious. The "new Democrats" will immediately revert to "old Democrats" by moving far to the left as soon as Election Day is over. They're only running as moderates to get elected. Once the election is over forget about it.

Fitz said...

Its truly breathtaking…. Pennsylvania needs to put up a pro-lifer to beat Santorum, (and the feminists muzzle themselves) Ford is running around Tennessee saying Jesus every third word, Hillary now wears a cross…


Love it…

Tim said...

This really isn't what it seems to be. Even if the Dems take the House, with the help of "moderate/conservative" Dems, they'll very likely do so with slimmest of margins. And then, when it comes time to pay the piper (the teachers, the public employee and private unions, trial lawyers, "consumer advocates," environmentalists and other whack-jobs littering my doorstep with Dem propaganda), Pelosi will be brought to heel and forced to deliver votes. If the "moderate/conservative" Dems take a walk, they'll face the howling rage of the rabid-foaming at the mouth nutroot brigades of Commandante Kos and a certain primary challenge; if they (most likely) surrender to the party hacks, they'll face a Republican buzz-saw in '08.

Either way, as a Rep I'm not concerned with the long run. We'll win, esp. as Dems keep killing their future voters in utero.

The Drill SGT said...

Simon said...
So, if you think of the single area where a Democratic House can do the most damage, you probably think of immigration.


Though I agree with your overall thought, you picked the wrong a example. It ought to be Iraq. You're right that the Speaker controls the agenda. Remember 1974-75. An anti-war Dem House voted failed to fund support to the South Vietnamese. You don't need a strong majority to NOT pass a war supplemental.

I guess that's my acid test. Like Steyn's column the other day. I Dem will get my vote when they can articulate how they'd win th war in Iraq.

all that Dem talk about regretting their votes to authorize the war are BS. At this point, we have 2 choices. Win the War or Lose the War.


PS: MM, I agree the House GOP Leadership treated the Dems very badly in conferences, and in agenda setting.

Simon said...

Sarge,
I picked the immigration example based on the predicate that the GOP will retain the Senate. If that is the case, then the only areas where a Democratic House could make substantial inroads are areas where their policy agenda happens to align with that of the President and Senate Republicans. And the only possible example that springs to mind is immigration.

With that having been said, conceivably House Democrats could defund the war sub silentio by simply refusing to bring any bill to the floor that made appropriations for the military, or at least, deadlocking the appropriations process to the same effect. But since that would be an explicit act of failing to support the troops, I find it hard to believe that the Dem leadership would be so utterly cretinous as to hand the GOP propaganda machine such an open goal for the '08 elections.

It's funny, isn't it: the Democrats keep trying to paint Iraq as being another Vietnam. If they take control of the House and defund the war, they will convert that into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It should also be mentioned that while I agree with you that "DeLay rules" have meant shoddy treatment for the minority, this is nothing new. The same Democrats who now bleat about their treatment as a minority are to a great extent reaping what they themselves sowed while in the majority. I would prefer a move to reduce the number of closed rules, and perhaps some formalization of not only minimum vote periods but maximum vote periods, but while conceding that the House has been run unfairly to the minority in the last few years, we shouldn't con ourselves into thinking this was a GOP innovation.

Revenant said...

Remember 1974-75. An anti-war Dem House voted failed to fund support to the South Vietnamese. You don't need a strong majority to NOT pass a war supplemental

Cutting funding to a third-world nation the country's sick of supporting is one thing. Cutting funding to US troops on the field of battle is quite another -- that would be political suicide for the Democrats. They need a friendly President to pull the troops out first, or a veto-proof, filibuster-proof majority to pass a resolution declaring an end to the conflict.

Personally, I'm increasingly of the opinion that a short period of Democratic control from 2006-2008 would be the best thing for the country, if only because it would force the Republicans to get serious again. Sure, there will be the usual nonsense of investigative committees and impeachment hearings and all the rest of it, but so what.

Garage Mahal said...

If the Dems are smart, they will only threaten de-funding, putting the onus on Bush for a policy change they can live with. But they will get blamed anyway, for something to the effect that they don't support the troops. "Support Our Troops" means "Support Our Policy"

The PNAC neocons get duped by an Iranian spy promising ponies and harmonious relations with Iraq/Israel -- promising an easy war -- trusting a guy that once fled Jordan for bank fraud in the trunk of a car! -- and paying him 27 million dollars of taxpayer money.

Damn Democrats!

Gahrie said...

MM, I agree the House GOP Leadership treated the Dems very badly in conferences, and in agenda setting.

Has everyone forgotten what Congress was like when the Democrats ran it for 40 years straight? The Dems did the same things to the republicans that the Dems are complaining about now.

The Jerk said...

Matthew Yglesias is similiarly irked. The NYT was supposed to be on our side!

Yglesias didn't say anything like this.

The Jerk said...

I Dem will get my vote when they can articulate how they'd win th war in Iraq.

Whereas Republicans bear no such burden, obviously.

Simon said...

Garage -
You know the funny thing about bluffing? You can't do it when your cards are face up on the table. If the Democrats threaten to defund, and Bush refuses, then the Democrats look weak, ineffectual, and are back to the very same unpalatable choices that existed before they made the threat.

Ghlade said...

TheJerk,

That confused me as well. It seems a pretty bizzare misreading of Yglesias. Under normal circumstances I'd tend to believe that it was a deliberate misrepresentation, but Matthew and Ann seemed so cordial and even agreeable during their session on bloggingheads. Strange.

chickenlittle said...

Down with the dhimmicratic wing of the democratic party!

Garage Mahal said...

You know the funny thing about bluffing? You can't do it when your cards are face up on the table.

Maybe, but at least they could control the narrative up to '08 by saying "prove your policy is in American interests" or the such. As long as Bush has to defend this policy, he is the one who looks weak -- for good reason.

Rowena Hullfire said...

Anytime I find myself leaning towards voting for a Democrat for a national level office, they keep taking 70's style hard left turns late in the campaign and lose my vote.

Ms. Althouse and I can appreciate and be entertained by idealistic youth conducting protests on our college campuses, however, one does not elect teenagers to run the country.

If the D's win House and/or Senate, I hope it's a razor thin majority and that they are forced to the Center by the blue dawgs and centrist GOP votes they need for passage. I think it will be very difficult for them to rouse enough votes to override a presidential veto.

But I recall with fondness "gridlock" and the divided government of the 90's. It was a good thing.

Still, it will be amusing to watch the Nazi whipcracker NAMBLA-lovin' Pelosi try to force discipline like a dominatrix on the Jesus-loving blue dogs who don't toe her party line. This should be very entertaining. Where do I buy my popcorn?

Re: throw the bums out.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. If my bum has ascended the ranks and has great committees and brings home the bacon, fries it up in a pan, and never never never lets me forget he's my man, then I'll choose the bum I know over a strange bum. I guess I'm a whore for power and pork.

Was checking out the ballot on the Commonwealth's elections website, and of course it has an option for straight ticket party voting at the very top.

Wouldn't it be interesting if the top option were:
____ Keep the Bums We Got Now
____ Throw the Bums Out

hee hee

Ann Althouse said...

To those who question my interpretation of Yglesias as "irked" at the NYT for running an article like that... he writes:

"This is really just too much. As you'll recall, after the 2004 election we were greeted to an endless series of articles about..."

So there was a set of articles in 04 about how the Dem candidates were to far to the left...

"But along comes The New York Times with the dire warning..."

And now the NYT comes along and says that since the Dems this time came up with centrist candidates that they may have to move to the center. He's clearly irked about the Times drawing this conclusion and undercutting the meaning that a Democratic victory will have for the left. It's "really just too much" -- that's a strong expression of irritation at the Times.

He does go on to simply argue against the inference in the article, and I'm not purporting to refer to that part of the post.

He's not as blatant about his annoyance a the NYT as TAPPED is.

The sentence that follows the one with his name in it is me speculating about what they are really thinking. That's what the italics mean. You can disagree with my inference, but I think it's right.

Jeremy said...

garage said, "Maybe, but at least they could control the narrative up to '08 by saying "prove your policy is in American interests" or the such. As long as Bush has to defend this policy, he is the one who looks weak -- for good reason."

You're forgetting that Bush won't run in '08. The Republican nominee can simply rally on a platform of "change" and run against Bush, too. I suspect that The Left(TM) will try to make it a referendum on Bush, but most voters will see it as a battle of two new personalities.

Righteous Bubba said...

You're forgetting that Bush won't run in '08. The Republican nominee can simply rally on a platform of "change" and run against Bush, too. I suspect that The Left(TM) will try to make it a referendum on Bush, but most voters will see it as a battle of two new personalities.

One of the problems with Republican party discipline has been shoring up idiotic policies no matter what. It should be easy for Democrats to tar Republican candidates as tied to the Bush legacy. They'll have the tape to prove it in most cases.

Peg C. said...

If Clinton was a centrist and that's the best the Dems can do, they're even worse off than I thought. Is this their choice -- loons like JfnK and Algore, or Clinton? Clinton's centrism (aka inability to take a firm stance or make a firm decision, much less show true leadership) led directly to 9/11. Centrism and moderation have become nothing more than a fatal weakness and total inability to lead.

I don't see centrism or BDS saving the Dems, only the demise of the entire babyboom generation.

Bruce Hayden said...

There are a couple of possible, if not probable Republican losses here in CO - the state may be swinging from 5-2 Republican to 2-5 (or maybe 1-6) in two elections (the infamous Tom Tancredo is the only really safe Republican this year). This is a state that went for Bush in both elections.

One seat may be lost through the Republicans running someone far to the right in a fairly safe Republican district (5th, see below), and the other one or two in very evenly split districts.

My point is that all of these Democrats who either won in 2004, or might win this time, are running to the right. John Salazar, brother of our freshman Senator, has a track record significantly to the right of his brother's (who himself tries to portray the moderate).

My point is that if they vote for Pelosi, as they most likely will, and then Pelosi puts in Conyers, Hastings, etc., and the Dems do like they say they will (like Conyers running continuous hearings on the last six years of the Administration), these new Democrats, elected from swing or Republican districts are toast in 2008, unless they can show their independence.

Also, I would think that maybe a couple might be willing to switch sides for the right bribe - after all, a Democrat switching to Republican in a slightly Republican district is likely to find himself/herself in a lifetime seat. (We saw that here with Ben Nighthorse Campbell - he originally squeaked through as a Democrat, switched to Republican, and had a safe seat thereafter, since the Republicans, while many hated him, wouldn't replace him, and was centrist enough to get a lot of Democratic votes). Compare this to their chances of getting reelected in 2008 if still Democrats.

Let me reiterate this - while the Democrats have some chance of retaining the swing districts in 2008, they have little if any in keeping the heavily Republican ones, like DeLay's, or Hefley's here in CO. Hefley is retiring, and represents Colorado Springs, home of Focus on the Family, Fort Carson, Northern Comand, Space Command, etc. The city has two industries: religion and the military. The Democrats may take this seat in 2006, but there is no way they will retain it in a presidential year. None.

Revenant said...

It should be easy for Democrats to tar Republican candidates as tied to the Bush legacy. They'll have the tape to prove it in most cases.

Highly unlikely.

The three most likely nominees are Romney, Giuliani, and McCain. The first two are Washington outsiders with no Bush ties. The last of the three -- who also the most likely candidate -- has enjoyed six years of media fawning building him a reputation as the honest, principled, moderate Republican who hates Bush. That's three-quarters wrong, but it is still WAY too late to try selling McCain as a Bush flunky.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am one of those conservatives who is contributing money and is happily voting, but wouldn't be overly upset by a Democratic win, esp. in the House, in 8 days.

Democrats here like John Salazar (who slid into a swing seat in 2004 being vacated by a Republican) are able to get by by being fairly moderate. But that may all change with Pelosi, et al. (barely) in charge in the House. If, as many of us suspect, they make the most of their committee chairmanships to cause as much trouble as they can to the Administration, esp. in Conyer's case, investigating anything he can think of, there are going to be a lot of swing voters who voted for Bush ready and willing to throw the bastards out. And moderates like Salazar, and the potentially new Democrats here in CO, as well as across the nation, are likely to be thrown out, for having gone along with Pelosi, et al.

There is, of course, a saying that all politics is local. But the time when a Representative is most vulnerable is in his first, and maybe second, reelection. Partly, I suspect, that is because they haven't had enough time yet to cement themselves with a lot of constituants through constituant service (esp. in bringing home the pork). Also, they are invariably low in seniority then, and don't have the committee assignments to be as they will ultimately be at this.

So, it may be totally plausible for the Republicans to lose enough seats to lose the House this time, but gain twice that many in 2 years in reaction to the Pelosi follies.

Lou said...

I am always amazed by the right's pretension to being the correct governing party and their assumption that power in the hand of democrats will lead to a horrible future. Remember Clinton actually had a working FEMA. It's not as if the last six years of republican rule has had any successes to speak of, only failure where ever you look.

It seems to me the democrats will have at least two new groups to sort out, the moderate candidates and the netroots that have played a big part in their election. But however it works out it will better than the current status quo of republican rule.

And you know the republicans should be worried: accountability and responsibility can be terrible things.


The real question will be not how well the dems sort out their internal conflicts but will be how badly weakened and divided the republican party will become.

The Jerk said...

He's clearly irked about the Times drawing this conclusion and undercutting the meaning that a Democratic victory will have for the left. It's "really just too much" -- that's a strong expression of irritation at the Times.

Yes. He's irritated with the Times for providing an analysis that he thinks is foolish. There's nothing whatsoever to indicate that he's irritated with it because he feels it is supposed to be on his side.

You can disagree with my inference, but I think it's right.

It could be right, but it's not supported by anything Yglesias actually wrote. My inference is that you have a particular view of which side the Times is on, and unjustifiably assume that Yglesias shares that view.

Gahrie said...

Jerk:

and unjustifiably assume that Yglesias shares that view.

I bet it is pretty safe to say that Ann knows Matt better than you do...

Sloanasaurus said...

Remember 1974-75. An anti-war Dem House voted failed to fund support to the South Vietnamese. You don't need a strong majority to NOT pass a war supplemental

Except that the Democrats held 291 seats in the house beginning in 1975 the most since the Depression election of 1936. They also held 61 seats in the Senate.

The democrats could do anything they wanted in 1975... and they did to the detriment of us all.

al said...

Since the term keeps getting used - what/who is a 'centrist'? What would this persons opinion be on abortion, affirmative action, gun control, voter ID, immigration reform, or the GWOT? Is a 'centrist' one who takes a poll before having an opinion or someone who doesn't really have an position?

Revenant said...

And you know the republicans should be worried: accountability and responsibility can be terrible things.

Because holding Clinton accountable worked out so well for the Republican leadership of the late 1990s. What's Gingrich doing these days, again?

The real question will be not how well the dems sort out their internal conflicts but will be how badly weakened and divided the republican party will become.

Nothing unites a party quite as quickly as being the target of witch hunts. You'll need to take your pick -- you can hold the Republicans "accountable", or you can have the Republicans be weakened and divided. You can't have both. Personally, I doubt the Democratic leadership is smart enough to go for the second option.

Revenant said...

Since the term keeps getting used - what/who is a 'centrist'? What would this persons opinion be on abortion, affirmative action, gun control, voter ID, immigration reform, or the GWOT?

Assuming that the "centrist" position on an issue is that held by the median voter, a "centrist" believes abortion should be legal in cases of rape, incest, and medical necessity, but tightly restricted or banned otherwise; that affirmative action is bad; that gun control is generally a good idea; that legal immigration should be tightly restricted, the border fenced, and illegal immigrants removed; that Muslims terrorists pose a threat to America; and that voter ID is a good idea.

Kirk Parker said...

Renevant,

"[McCain's] reputation as the honest, principled, moderate Republican who hates Bush. That's three-quarters wrong..."

OK, help me out here--what's the 1/4 that is right? He really does hate Bush???

Lou,

Bush had a working FEMA, too. They did a fine job with all those storms in Florida...

Simon said...

Re the definition of a "centrist," I tend to think that being a centrist or a moderate is more of a way than a thing. That is, there isn't a single set of policy views that marks someone as a moderate, but a pattern of behavior, a modus operandi: the hallmarks are that they're willing to compromise, they're willing to listen to the other side's case, they're open to reason and argument, and they are more interested in solutions that work than towing the party line. I hate the implication that being a moderate means holding completely incoherent political views unbound by any kind of underlying philosophy. Worse yet, I absolutely despise the idea that a moderate Republican is just a synonym for a pro life Republican.

If I wanted to think of a moderate, I would think of someone like Olympia Snowe, or John McCain, or Evan Bayh, or Stephanie Herseth, or Mark Warner. And, of course, our hostess.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't actually know Matt, other than that I talked to him for an hour that time for Bloggingheads. He seems like a fine young man. He wants the Democrats to do well. Nothing wrong with that. And the NYT does have a liberal slant. Everyone knows that.

MadisonMan said...

A moderate is someone who does not let ideology get in the way of a good idea. The US Government could use a lot more moderates.

The Jerk said...

I bet it is pretty safe to say that Ann knows Matt better than you do...

Guess you lost that bet. But that isn't the issue. The issue is whether Prof. Althouse's inference is supported by the text of Yglesias' post. It isn't. It appears to be based on nothing more than her gut feeling about what Yglesias must think about the NTY. Which is fine - dramatic hyperbole is the lingua franca of blogs.

Simon said...

MadisonMan,
That statement - that "ideology" should not "get in the way of a good idea" always bothers me when it's invoked. It's like the suggestion that politicians should just adopt "common sense solutions." Both statements seem to presuppose something I think is patently false: that common sense and the perception of the value of an idea are neutral, objectively-determinable standards. George Lakoff raised this point in one of his books, and I continue ton think it's a strong point: ideology - narrowly or broadly defined - defines your conception of common sense, and your perception of whether a good idea is actually a good idea.

If you said that centrism was not allowing partisanship to get in the way of accepting a good idea, then I'd agree with you, but come on - get serious. Do you really think that when you invoke what seems to you to be a common sense solution, or just a plain 'aul good idea, that when I come in and disagree with you the other side knows that your idea is a good, common sense idea, but I'm just disagreeing with you anyway? Of course not. I disagree because I don't think that it IS a good idea, or because I don't think that it IS common sense. And that's because you and I have different ideologies. And that's okay, but the pretense that good ideas are value-neutral is absurd.

Tim said...

"A moderate is someone who does not let ideology get in the way of a good idea. The US Government could use a lot more moderates."

Agreed. The government has far too many big government, tax and spend ideological liberals and Socialists. We can start getting a lot more moderates by getting rid of the Socialists.

Simon said...

The Jerk said...
"The issue is whether Prof. Althouse's inference is supported by the text of Yglesias' post."

You don't get to be a textualist when (and only when) it suits you, you know.

Fenrisulven said...

I am one of those conservatives who is contributing money and is happily voting, but wouldn't be overly upset by a Democratic win, esp. in the House, in 8 days.

I can understand that. In a sense, it would be good for the nation if the Dems were forced to take some ownership of the war on terror - to behave like adults instead of throwing rocks from the sidelines. They'll actually have to express their alternatives for a change.

Sad part is its the Senate Repubs who derserve to be tossed out, not the House.

And I have to disagree with an earlier poster - Republicans won't be weakened or divided if they lose the house. They've grown complacent and don't deserve to win. Maybe a loss here will force some to pull their head out.

Kirk Parker said...

Renevant,

That's a pretty good list of the positions held by the median (centrist) voter, but I can't help noticing that one of them is not like the others.

Which, you ask?
.
.
.
.
Well, gun control, of course.

It doesn't seem to me that it's all that technical a subject, but somehow the MMM/Roseann Barr party line has a grip on far too many people. Your median voter manages to understand that abortion, in at least some way, ends a human life. They can see their way around the "enlightened" concensus on immigration, the WOT, and all that other stuff you cite, no problem.

So why is it that they think:

* convicted felons can legally own guns [they can't],
* liberal concealed laws will result in wild-west shootouts [they haven't anywhere they've been tried, and anyway permit-holders are convicted of crimes at a lower rate than the general population],
* there's a gun-show loophole [there isn't, sales at gun shows are at least as regulated as they are elsewhere],
* criminals like to use "assault weapons" [they don't, long guns of all kinds figure in a fairly small percentage of gun crimes],
* "assault weapons" are particularly dangerous [they aren't, they are generally less powerful than typical hunting rifles], and on and on in this vein.

And this in a country where practically every other household owns a firearm of some kind. I don't get it....

Simon said...

Fenrisulven said...
"Sad part is its the Senate Repubs who derserve to be tossed out, not the House."

Even if that is true - and I take no position here in on that - the fact remains that while there is a non-zero chance of any judicial vacancies in the next two years, GOP control of the Senate is absolutely necessary. The stakes are simly too high.

Keep in mind also that we're rid of Frist after this election. Most of the problems in the Senate have far more to do with Bill Frist than they have to do with caucus.

Fenrisulven said...

Simon, as usual, you show more wisdom than me. Control of the Senate IS critical re SCOTUS, esp with the liberal justices teetering on retirement. And most of the damage a Dem House could do would be self-inflicted. More Republican seats are in play in 08 than now.

Maybe thats why Rove is smiling. He's taking the long view, and plans to retire after handing us another 8 years of a Republican POTUS and Congress. Perhaps he intends only to minimize the damage this cycle, and plans to use a Dem house as a foil to entrench a GOP majority.

Tim said...

Rove is smiling because the Dems are in a box. Win and make Kos's Children of the Corn happy by abandoning Iraqi democrats to the militant Islamic fascists and Dems are done in 08 and for a long time thereafter. Win and launch endless Conyer's-led investigations intending to conclude in impeachment and the swing voters will abandon them in 08. Win and govern responsibly and the Children of the Corn withhold their contributions for all except the Ned Lamonts of the world which, in a primary, will be critical. Win, and Nancy Pelosi becomes the face and the voice of the Democratic Party until Hillary! is nominated. Win, and the economy-stimulating tax cuts expire; the WoT goes backward; spending goes up; regulations go up; and so on and so on.

Positioning themselves as the anti-Bush won't be enough to win re-election; they can't run as old Democrats and win; they aren't smart enough to re-think their reflexive impulse to harness government and tax dollars to empower the judiciary, the teachers, the public and private unions, the trial lawyers, the environmentalists, the pacifists, the multiculturalists, the transnational progressives, the socialists and the sexual libertines.

But then again, Rove might be smiling because in the worst possible of anti-Republican perfect storms, the Dems might not win at all.

Elizabeth said...

The Dems think that Australian Nukes and Evangelical Christians are our greatest threats...

Fen, Bush is trotting around today saying The Gays and "activist judges" are the big threat. Don't y'all have any shame?

Fenrisulven said...

Do you have a link or verifiable quote? Because I'll bet that yours is a distortion. More likely, he said something along the lines of the attempts of "activist judges" to redefine marriage.

BTW, sorry about the Saints. I rooted for them with you in the spirit of non-partisan cooperation. Maybe I jinxed them. Maybe I should vote Dem in November to test my curse? ;)

Pat said...

Yglesias is "irked" because he thinks that the Democratic Party was being criticized in a way that is stupid. This, in no way, supports the inference that he thinks the New York Times should be on "his" side. Rather, he seems to--somewhat naively given the history of the NYT--believe that the NYT should be fair and accurate in its criticisms of the Democratic Party.


And I love Althouse's argument. The NYT has a liberal slant. Why? Because "everyone knows" it to be so. What penetrating analysis! X is true because "everyone" believes X.

Fenrisulven said...

Pat, are you trying to say the NYTs does not have a left slant?

If not, can you name a paper that does?

Lemme guess, you think the LA Times is a conservative prop rag?

tjl said...

"Pat, are you trying to say the NYTs does not have a left slant"

Simply go to the NYT's site this morning and scan the ledes of the political articles. All but one or two are shameless cheerleading for Dem candidates (e.g., "Ford takes lead!!"). Then go to the editorials. Then look at every other article in the paper.

As others have observed, the leftward slant appears even on the Arts page -- no, especially the Arts page. After all, it was the experience of being an NYT theater critic that taught Frank Rich how to become a political know-it-all.

The Jerk said...

You don't get to be a textualist when (and only when) it suits you, you know.

Why not? Justice Scalia does. Anyway, this doesn't really make any sense, since oyu have no idea if I'm a textualist or not. Further, it's a fallacy because my consistency has nothing to do with whether Prof. Althouse's chracterization of Yglesias was accurate. If you can defend Prof. Althouse's claim, do it. If you can't, don't waste my time with irrelevancy.

Revenant said...

"[McCain's] reputation as the honest, principled, moderate Republican who hates Bush. That's three-quarters wrong..."

OK, help me out here--what's the 1/4 that is right? He really does hate Bush???

Yep, that's the one.

McCain is very conservative, no more honest than any other politician, and perfectly willing to sacrifice principle for political convenience. But he *does* share a mututal dislike with Bush.