Thursday, November 09, 2006

A New Moderate Era

Chris Murphy won. Joe Courtney probably won. But Chris Shays, Jodi Rell and Joe Lieberman won, too. Diane Farrell and Ned Lamont, both of whom based their campaigns around opposition to the Iraq War, lost.

Did moderation win?

Murphy is almost certainly more liberal than Courtney, but he had the luxury of an opponent who veered hard to the right and ran one of the most negative, stomach-churning campaigns in the country. Jodi Rell is certainly a moderate, and Connecticut voters seem to like that just fine. Joe Lieberman seemed to connect with voters despite his less-than-moderate stand on the Iraq War, not because of it. In fact, it was mainly his insistence that he was a champion of bipartisanship and moderation that saved him and ultimately doomed Ned Lamont, who was painted as being too liberal.

I've said before that the narrative of 2008 is not going to be extreme partisanship, but moderation and unity. That starts now. E.J. Dionne seems to think so, too (emphasis mine):
American voters, in their wisdom, ended an era on Tuesday. They rejected a poorly conceived war policy in Iraq that has weakened the United States. They rejected a harshly ideological approach to politics that cast opponents as enemies of the country's survival. They rejected a president so determined to win an election that he was willing to slander his opponents by saying: "The Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses." The voters decided there was no decency in that.
[...]
And no longer will we pay attention to political strategists who assert that swing voters aren't important and that independents and moderates don't matter. If Democrats are to make good use of the power they have been granted, they need to remember that last point. This election was the revenge of the center no less than it was the revenge of the left. The decisive votes cast on Tuesday came from moderates and independents, whom the exit polls showed favoring Democratic House candidates by about 3 to 2. (Dionne)

If the Democrats don't have the good sense to govern from the middle and forge productive and sensible compromises with a (hopefully) humbled President Bush, then they don't deserve the power they've been given. This is not a mandate for liberal programs and policies--it's a mandate for the middle of the road.

The lesson of 2006: partisanship above all else simply doesn't work, and, given enough time, voters will not stand for it.

Here's to a new era. I hope it lasts a while.

Source
Dionne, E.J. "Meeting at The Middle." Washington Post 9 November, 2006.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Probably more hope than reality, but it is a worthwhile hope. Joe came damn close to being VP in 2000 because he is moderate and reasonable. I don't agree with the assessment of the Johnson campaign. And Murphy is both liberal and untested. The best thing he could do is spurn the far left, reach across the aisle and get something done.

Paul Vance said...

Amen to that GC. I had more people tell me that they were out to vote against a candidate because of negative ads.

I hope this election is a lesson for all of us POLS that issues and change can spur people to vote.

cgg said...

I just don't buy your premise. Rell was elected by a wide margin, but the same voters also took away her veto power. Democrats won the house in a big way because the country is so unhappy not just with the war, but the direction of the Bush administration as a whole.

If anything we might be entering a new populist era. In addition to the war, much of the rhetoric heard around the country was about the minimum wage, health care, employment, and the squeeze on the middle class. The Bush administrations Domestic agenda has been a dismal failure, and right or wrong the perception is that Democrats are the better party on so-called mommy issues.

Genghis Conn said...

In addition to the war, much of the rhetoric heard around the country was about the minimum wage, health care, employment, and the squeeze on the middle class.

I would argue that these are, in fact, core concerns of moderates. One party rule hasn't helped to fix a one of them.

Rell's anti-coattails are interesting, though. If she had actually campaigned more, she might have brought a few of them with her.

cgg said...

You might be right about Rell. If she were in my party I'd be livid.

Getting back to moderates and liberals when it comes to domestic issues I don't think there are huge differences between the two. It actually makes a lot of sense for them to align together, which is how I ended up at Populism.

turfgrrl said...

cgg: There's a world of difference between moderates and liberals. Just as there's a world of difference between conservatives and moderates.

meteskyjr said...

Civilized humans may subconsciously seek moderation in most things, but it's not usually something they consciously seek when they're in the voting booth. Instead, they vote on the merits of the races that are right in front of them. Johnson, for example, was certainly the more moderate candidate in the 5th District, but her disgraceful ads (even the cloying non-attack ads had an air of desperation about them) turned a close race into one not so close. Political views aside, no one, including me, wanted to be represented by a grasping 24-year veteran who was so willing to resort to anything to hold onto her job. It wasn't Murphy's views I was voting for (although he has tremendous upside) so much as a keen desire to end Johnson's long reign of chirpy mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

You can't make any idelogical sense out of this election. Democrats offered no alternative to the status quo, except maybe with regard to the war. It's amazing how la-la-pelosi can come out and say that people voted for the Democrats' 666 plan, or whatever the heck it's called. Someone should do a poll on how many people voted for democrats because of that phantom plan.

To say that Nancy Johnson is conservative borders on a lie. Democrats boiled the entire election down to the war. You can't say Nancy Johnson's a conservative just because she voted for the war. If that were the case, then you would have to label half the senate democrats "conservative" as well, because they also voted for the war.

Genghis: What you consider moderate issues just demonstrates your bias. For example, on minimum wage: It might be considered moderate to not increase the minimum wage. It would be liberal to want to raise the minimum wage. And, the conservative position would be to eliminate it or decrease it.

justavoter said...

Joe only got 25% of the Dem vote the rest went to Ned Lamont.
The only reason Joe won is because Republicans did not have the guts to endorse there own candidate.
If the Republicans had voted for Alan instead of Joe then Lamont would have won hands down.
Alan was treated unfairly by his own party in this state and by the National Republican party which focused on helping Lieberman who lost the Democratic Primary and should have not run at all after the Primary loss .
The country wantes not the Middle of the Road Politics of get nothing done but want Progressive Change in Washington which Lamont sparked in his campaign around this state.The war in Iraq was and is not a Middle of the Road issue your for it or your against it.
As far as being partisan thats what we need more of.People with the guts to stand up to the wrongs in Washington Politics and Power.
Joe will be Independent of the Democratic Party and in his last 6 years it will be more of the same flip flop Senator saying what you want to hear and doing nothing for the People of Connecticut.
Ned I believe will be back in Politics running for office I hope he runs again in 2011.
There are alot of people in Connecticut who will watach Lieberman every step of the way to see what he does on votes etc.
The FEC Petty cash issue is still being looked at Lieberman has alot to expalain what is he hinding from the voters?

Anonymous said...

Lost in all of the results.... Roy O-He's-So-Grosso lost yet another race (Diane Farrell) which I think makes him 0-3 for the cycle (Malloy, Lieberman Primary, and Farrell). And this continues Roy's long streak of never winning anything.

Joe Scordato said...

turfgrrl: that may be true but the national elections were a victory for moderate progressives: pretty liberal on economic, environmental and social issues but fiscally responsible. Some people confuse them with what they consider "liberals", because the radicals have trashed the name "liberal".

CT was a special case in its splits.

GC is correct that the Congressional Democrats will need to be bi-partisan but the range within the Democratic Party (current and newly elected) is broad enough to come up with proposals that reasonable Republicans can sign on to. They are already proposing to do so, as well as to remove the outrageous, blatantly partisan rules the Republicans put in over the last 12 years. Whether that will be enough for Bush and the Radical Republicans remains to be seen; certainly Grover Norquist doesn't think so. Bipartisanship can't be the Bush definition of peeling off a nominal Democrat to support his crazy policies. Of course, now that Joe is no longer a Democrat but merely caucasses with them, we have made some progress on this point.

GMR said...

In this country, we have essentially three types of house districts: solid Republican districts, solid Democratic districts, and swing districts. Larson and DeLauro are solid Democratic districts. The other three are swing districts, although Murphy's may be trending towards a solid Democratic district. Too early to tell.

In the solid Republican and solid Democratic districts, incumbents rarely lose, and when they do, it's because they're taking bribes, pages, whatever. But usually, these districts revert to their normal state after a cycle or two: it's rare that someone can hang on for that long if they're not in the right party. On Tuesday, it looks like the Democrats won about 3-4 of these seats: DeLay, Foley, etc. These should revert back to the R column next time.

The result of these solid districts, and there are a large number thanks to gerrymandering, are representatives to the left and to the right of the country as a whole.

Swing districts tend to replace their representatives every so often. Incumbents often face tough reëlection fights.

In the house, seniority matters a great deal. The Democrat committee chairmen look to be very liberal: Rangel, Conyers, etc. They'll be the face of the Democratic party. The Democrats' success will largely depend on how restrained they can keep their left-of-center committee chairs, and what type of legislation Nancy Pelosi will push.

Things aren't so pronounced in the Senate. It's rare in the Senate to get the ideologues you get in the house, since you have to represent a whole state, not a few square miles. It also seems much more possible to win a Senate seat from a party different than the predominant party in the state: Maine has 2 Republican Senators, and the Dakotas have only 1 between them. Nebraska has a Democrat, so does Montana now. Yet these states were solid Bush states.

Joe Scordato said...

Some links for my post's claims:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2638408&page=1

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w061106&s=perlstein110806

If you can't get into the TNR site a pretty complete copy of the Rick Perlstein article is at
http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2006/11/new-republic-gasp-gets-it-right-but-i.html

ctblogger said...

This election wasn't about moderates, it was about change plain and simple. Nancy Johnson was a moderate and look what happened to her.

People were sick of the status quo and voted the bums out, period.

Lieberman won because of Republican support and as a blogger who followed his campaign, I can honestly tell you that he ran one of the ugliest campaign I've ever seen. His lies and damage to the Democratic Party will not be forgotten by the party brass in CT (I'm sure Diane Farrell and Joe Courtney are happy Joe rallied the Republcian base in their districts).

You can throw that moderate stuff out the window. Both political parties are as bitter at each other as ever...they're just playing nice for the camera knowing that 2008 is right around the corner.

Joe Scordato said...

More on the meaning of the elecetion, in reference to national security, from Greg Sargent. Good analysis of the effect of Lamont's primary victory.

http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2006/nov/09/dem_victory_vindication_for_those_who_pushed_for_fearless_national_security_counterattacks

(and yes one of these days I have to work out this html thingie)

Anonymous said...

Don't worry there are talks going on about revamping the Republican Party since it's selfish unloyal leaders seem to not care about the party and only their own self served goals! Rell is an embaressment it's a shame CT voters fell for the nice grandmother act!

Anonymous said...

Connecticut's corporate media forced Ned Lamont into the background and helped Joe Lieberman perpetuate the myth that he is after "bi-partisan" solutions. In his column E.J. Dionne mentions the compromising Lee Hamilton and Sandy Berger, suggesting the newly empowered Democrats engage in "bi-partisanship."
--It is all part of what we should expect to be a blitzkrig of analysis on cooperation. Clearly, that benefits Republicans. The White House is in full defense mode. Thus, we were just handed a former CIA man to head the Defense Dept. who will aid Bush in his cover-up. Democrats and others should move toward arguments of Constitutional law and tell people how they will fight corruption now that they are in office.

Anonymous said...

'Absolute power corrupts absolutely' was the catalyst for change.

The current administration's lack of oversight led to too many scandels, indictments and disregard for laws our founding fathers wrote.

The republicans have no one to blame but themselves. Unfortunately for republicans, democrats were able to run viable candidiates in enough areas to create the support needed to organize a huge grassroots effort.

And let's not forget, democrats like to think and share ideas, discuss strategies and come to joint decisions.

Maybe that was what people were missing before November 7th.

BrassBoy said...

Yes, I'm sure Joe Lieberman is very worried about what the party brass thinks of him. He needed their support and loyalty so much this past Tuesday...

Anonymous said...

The country is generally a liberal one, but realizes that "extreme" candidates don't win. They know that by going with more middle of the road people (such as Clinton in 1992) is the best way to win and start governing. THEN they can get things moving to the left. That's how I see it.

In other words, America needs to vote moderate before it can govern slightly liberal. It's a two-step process: 1)Elect a good Democrat, any good Democrat, and 2)Once in control, start a slow move to the left, where the country sits.

Again, Clinton in 1992 is a great example. Here at home, John Larson is another one - he was the far-less liberal option in the 1998 primary, but once he won, he became a solid voice of the left.

Just one person's opinion, of course.

brickbat said...

I'm not sure what "moderate" is supposed to mean, frankly.

It seems that the way it's usually applied is to people like Lieberman who go to the other side on certain issues, no matter how extreme. Or, conversely, to a conservative Republican who is "pro-choice", like Johnson (who sucked up to the extremist GOP leadership except on that and a few other headline-type issues.)

That's not being "moderate". That's being on one side or another but switching over on a prominent issue, usually because it's to your own political advantage.

I see being moderate as looking at issues and trying to find solutions without allegiance to any particular side's ideology - a middle ground.

I don't see too many of that kind of "moderate" around, although there are a few -- Rell might be one (let's face it, she'd be a liberal Democrat if she were in Georgia).

Most local officials are moderates, because ideologies don't really apply at the municipal level, other than to rabid anti-tax kooks. Most local officials are just trying to solve problems.

My sense is that there COULD be a lot of pols who would be moderate, except that they have to pass all the litmus tests to win their nominations -- Democrats cave to the inane demands of unions like 1199 (see DeStefano, John) Republicans cave to the fundamentalist kooks and anti-tax Know-Nothings.

Until the extremes stop controlling the nominating processes we won't have a lot of true 'moderates' elected to anything (and this from an anti-war liberal who supported Ned Lamont from the start).

Anonymous said...

Farrell lost this election on primary night. She needed Malloy at the top of the ticket.

CaptCT said...

Farrel lost primarily because of low voter turnout in Bridgeport, and because Shays changed his position on Iraq (after seeing Lamont whup Lieberman in the primary with his anti-war message).

Lieberman won with lots of money and votes from Republicans and because he changed his tune on Iraq from "stay the course" in the primary to "no one wants to bring the troops home more than I do" in the general election.

So, in both cases, "stay the course" lost. The incumbents changed their message and voters bought it.

All along, Lamont and Farrel were the real moderates. The rest of the world, including Shays and Lieberman, came around to their points of view.

Watch as affordable health care, energy independence, improved foreign relations, and raising the minimum wage -- all endorsed by Farrell and Lamont -- become the focus of the new, moderate Congress.

I, for one, would nominate Ned Lamont for a Nobel Peace Prize. He was the true hero of this election year. He won't get to enter the Promised Land in 2007, but maybe another year.

Fuzzy Turtle said...

To say that Nancy Johnson is conservative borders on a lie. Democrats boiled the entire election down to the war That's untrue. Her albatross was Medicare Part D. She thought it was her shining star, but it's a DISASTER and Murphy emphasized this. He'll be great in Washington.

I'm not sure what "moderate" is supposed to mean, frankly. I used to know what conservative and liberal meant. but not anymore.

Rell is horrible. She's too status quo to be of use to Connecticut. I think she gets lost in elevators. There are so many important issues, and she's ignoring ALL OF THEM.

And Joe? Don't get me started.

Anonymous said...

New theory: Murphy won because:
"Medicare Part D is a disaster"

I'm sure a few New Dealer seniors that used to vote Nancy voted Murphy because they got confused reading forms and had to pay a few more dollars for pills than they would have liked, but she lost support in places with rich young people. Unlike Shays and Simmons, she failed to stake out a Lieberman-esq posture of bipartanship.

Murphy won by making Nancy out as the stereotype of the GOP congressional insider. Not accurate, but it stuck. Issues had sothing to do with it, and anyone who thinks the 5th is becoming a liberal district thinks places like Cornwall are representative

Anonymous said...

GC,

Congatulations, your record for buying into the bullshit spewed by the MSM 100% of the time is still intact.

ProgCT said...

Supporters of the war in Iraq are not moderate in any way. Holding the position that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea is very extreme.

Anonymous said...

CT and the rest of the nation proved the liberal blogosphere wrong on Tuesday. They were 100% wrong on what the Democrats needed to do to regain power in CT and beyond.

Democrats showed that the key to winning elections is to run from the center, that it’s ok to talk about things like values and even mention (cover your ears) God from time to time. The liberal bloggers have this notion that Democrats must win by fielding left wing candidates who will appeal to the liberal base, motivating them to go to the polls in huge numbers. That might work in inner cities like Hartford, but it is a recipe for defeat in rural, suburban and swing districts.

Taking a closer look it is clear that Democrats won in red states and districts because they fielded moderate to conservative candidates. Just look at the senate races in PA, VA, MT, MO, and yes – CT! Look at the Democratic congressional pick ups in red states like IN, KY, and NC. Most were DLC type candidates who ran from the center/right of the political spectrum. They didn’t run on liberal agendas and wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage. And it wasn’t just about the war as Lamont’s and Farrell’s losses proved in even the so called “bluest of blue” states.

The liberal bloggers had it all wrong and this is the truth, not because I say so, but because the citizens of this country have spoken. The left must stop their crusade to purge moderates and conservatives from the party if they ultimately want to see Democrats stay in power. After all, in the end, the only “KISS” that counted was the one Joe got from the cross spectrum of CT voters.

Anonymous said...

In the Red and Purple States the Dems had two messages:

"I'm like the other guy on vurtually every issue except I think Iraq is a mess and he's denies it"

"I'm honest and the people running DC are not"

May work to get you in. We'll see if it keeps them in. Methinks by 2008 they'll be many one-term wonders when voters consider actual Democrat policies, rather than talking points

Gabe said...

Most were DLC type candidates who ran from the center/right of the political spectrum.

Don't let the fact that this is not even close to true disturb your argument in any way...

Shadow said...

This election proved one thing about moderation, and that is that the political center was defined over the last six years as something it wasn't; Rove succeeded in defining the "center" as the neo-con right with a concerted and consistent media message. This election simply shattered that illusion.



> CT and the rest of the nation proved the liberal blogosphere wrong on Tuesday

How do you figure? Daily Kos and all the others pushed hard for all the Democratic candidates who won (including guys like Webb), they pushed hard to build support for Dean's 50 state strategy that was instrumental in this huge House victory and dragged the DSCC along with them, and they pushed Lamont hard in the primary win that changed the entire tone of this national election to allow them to win.

The result, Democrats take the House and the Senate, and literally the only solitary goal where the progressive-leaning of the blogs fell short was Lamont in the general. Had they done that as well, this election would literally have been a perfect score for them.

The idea that someone is making the effort to convince people "bloggers were wrong" in the face of those facts is emblematic of the resentment many in the old school of politics are feeling against the influence of blogs on the political progress, which have accomplished far more in this election than any election previous.

Anonymous said...

You ready for this Gabe? Thanks for the opening. Let’s take a look at those DLC type candidates who took seats from Republicans.

Tester – MT
Casey – PA
Webb – VA
McCaskell – MO

Tester and Casey are pro-life, pro-gun Democrats. McCaskell championed mid-western values, and Webb himself is a former Republican who served in the Reagan administration. I’ll give you Whitehouse and Brown for your liberal column.

In the house there’s Shuler in NC, Ellsworth and Donnelly in IN, and Braley in IA just to name a few. Do you think this all happened by accident? Rahm Emanuel is a DLC guy (go to their web site to see his articles on the front page). He is the one who recruited many of these conservative type candidates, and his strategy worked. Many of them come from military backgrounds, especially in PA where conservative leaning Murphy, Sestak and Carney all won their races.

So you see Gabe, these are the facts. They don’t disturb my argument in any way, they confirm it. Lets here the names of the flaming liberal candidates who beat conservative Republicans in red states on Tuesday? I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.

Wolcottboy said...

Anon 9:09 said:

Issues had sothing to do with it, and anyone who thinks the 5th is becoming a liberal district thinks places like Cornwall are representative

You know about Cornwall? Please tell me! I've been stumped on that math problem for a year now. I simply don't get how such a pleasant and rustic community votes reliable Democrat in the middle of a Republican confederation of towns.

Anonymous said...

Neither Tester or Webb are DLC'ers. They are populists who are completely free of lobbyists and the corporate agenda.

Please don't mistake the DLC crowd for anything but corporate whores. It's not a left-right thing, but rather about honest representation.

Anonymous said...

Cornwall is becoming full of rich New Yorkers - the limousine liberal type. Mostly weekend/vacation homes, but I'm assuming more are starting to retire there and make it their permanent residence.

Gabe said...

Here you go Anon,

First of all, I reject your premise in its entirety. You tagged four candidates as DLC type based on one or two issues without looking at economicas, the basis for which the DLC exists (by your limited definition, Howard Dean, he of the 100% NRA rating, must have been a DLC-er, or looney lefty, its so hard to keep all the labels straight).

DLC signature issue: Free trade, NAFTA, CAFTA

Webb, Tester, Casey, Shuler (and the rest of the netroots supported House candidates listed below): Economic Populists in favor of a raise in the minimum wage (something the DLC hates) and trade restrictions (something that makes Al From's explode).

Remeber your premise from the post I responded to? CT and the rest of the nation proved the liberal blogosphere wrong on Tuesday. They were 100% wrong on what the Democrats needed to do to regain power in CT and beyond.

Liberal blogosphere supported candidates: Webb, Tester, Shuler, McCaskell, Sestak, Murphy (both of them), Carney, Yarmouth, Space, McNerney, Shea-Porter, Kissel (who is in a close recount), and Hodes.

Rahm DLC Emmanuel supported the primary opponents of Yarmouth, Space, McNerney, and Shea-Porter (Yarmouth is famous for being Rahm's fourth choice).

Tammy Duckworth, Ken Lucas and Lois Murphy were the top three reciepients of Rahm's money (and two were netroots candidates as well - although Rahm's money had helped defeat the original netroots darling in Duckworth's (adopted) district) and lost. Add to that the other Rahm-supported KY race candidate, Mike Weaver (lost).

The party establishment supported Tester's and Webb's primary opponents and worked to get those other guys who you will never here from again a clear field - Tester and Webb both explicitly gave credit to the netroots.

And the big loss. Lamont. A guy with zero name recognition beat an 18 year incumbant in a primary despite being outspent 2-1. Wow. That blogosphere sure was wrong.

The left must stop their crusade to purge moderates and conservatives from the party if they ultimately want to see Democrats stay in power.

Uh, okay. Consider us and the candidates we supported, many of whom are measuring the drapes in DC right now, properly chastened.

Gabe said...

Hey Anon - You graciously gave me Whitehouse and Brown and I forgot to take them! But the netroots supported them, and Sanders. That's 1/2 of the 6 seats that gave us the majority.

I also took Tester and Webb. That's 5/6. You can have Casey (seriously, take him), but the netroots, not finding a serious candidate in the primary, sat the primary out and tacitly supported Casey in the general (the support was tacit because Casey didn't need much help). But try to remember that the netroots has been an anti-Santorum drumbeat since the day that he said that the SCOTUS' ruling on sodomy would lead to men mating with dogs (along with finding obnoxious passages in his book and publicizing that he was taking money from PA to home school his kids but not actually living in PA). They helped create the situation that Casey capitalized on.

Joe Scordato said...

Thanks, Gabe. Couldn't have said it any better.

Wolcottboy said...

Anon 11:09 am -

So for some reason they're all friends up there and are establishing a little Democratic enclave instead of spreading themsleves around. That was my only theory. I wonder what their town politics are like. Must have a strong DTC.

Gabe said...

I just realized that I claimed Sanders and, while the netroots supported him, that was actually a hold seat and not a pickup. But when I was score keeping I left out MO - the netroots strongly supported McCaskill, who has an F rating from the NRA, opposes social security privitazation, supports fair trade (not free trade), raising the minimum wage, allowing Medicare to use bulk purchasing power to negotiate with big pharma, is a strong supporter of the right to choose, and supports stem-cell research.

So I agree with you that she campaigned on midwestern values. I just disagree that she is even remotely a DLC-type candidate.

And its 5/6 of the Senate margin for the netroots if you are keeping score at home.

Anonymous said...

Shadow , Gabe, et al.,

I never denied that you supported Webb, Tester or any other of those candidates. You & Kos did, but not because you supported their philosophy, it’s because you had a larger motivation behind it. Just because netroots got behind candidates like Webb, Tester, and even Casey, it did not mean they were candidates from the netroot movement like Lamont was.

Let me explain. Liberals helped moderates & conservatives get elected in red states so that Democrats could take control of the House and Senate putting liberal leaders in positions of power. That includes Pelosi as Speaker and Rangel, Waxman, Conyers, etc. as committee chairman. In the senate it was to give chairmanships to the likes of blogosphere darlings such as Feingold and Leahy. Liberals like that can now surely hold up any of Bush’s future nominees. After all it is the committee chairmen who are the movers and shakers and decide which legislation gets moved forward. The conservative rookies will be backbenchers with far less influence than the entrenched liberal leaders (for now anyhow). I have to give it to Kos & Co. that it was an interesting strategy, but will it work? What will happen when Webb, Tester, et al start taking moderate and conservative positions or even start working across party lines? After all, the single issue that converted Webb was the war in Iraq. He is most likely still in lockstep with Republicans on a whole host of other issues.

How soon we forget that the man the blogsphere wanted to anoint king was darling Ned Lamont. The guy poured over 16 million in to his own campaign and still couldn’t win in blue CT. It showed what mainstream Democrats said all along – the left can dominate the primary process all they want, only to get a “thumpin’” in the general election. I think some on the left ultimately realized this and decided to support conservative Dems for the reasons I stated above.

Your ignorance about the DLC is apparent if you believe they are simply about free trade: NAFTA, CAFTA. And you are dead wrong about DLC opposed to a minimum wage hike. That is just and out and out lie. Maybe you should read about what the DLC really is instead of using Kos talking points.

Anonymous said...

the people who "weekend"
in Cornwall don't vote there.

turfgrrl said...

Gabe: Do you remember awhile back when I posted about how the netroots were giving money to Lamont over supporting Casey et al? I think the netroots support of shall we say, the non-Lamont candidates was, monetarily at least, pathetic. We can revisit the zero sum game later, I'm still of the mindset that Lamont's candidacy hurt the money game. But back to DLC vs. Liberal vs. Progressive/Populist/Whatever.

I think, at first blush, the races Dems won (mostly), were by what 7% on average and in rural/suburban areas by candidates who didn't lead with the Iraq war. Three candidates did, Lamont, Farrell and Busby. They all lost, and they all lost in districts/states that have proven to be conservative in some sense. But don't confuse that with the movement conservatism that DeLay and company built. In an odd sense, Nancy Johnson lost also by leading with the Iraq war, (Murphy enables terrorists). I'm not necessarily sold on my thesis, btw, just wanted to jump in and add new data points for discussion.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:27 – did you read the full post? I ended with the notion that those folks might be retiring there i.e. as in making it their permanent residence.

Gabe said...

Anon -
CT and the rest of the nation proved the liberal blogosphere wrong on Tuesday. They were 100% wrong on what the Democrats needed to do to regain power in CT and beyond. ... The liberal bloggers had it all wrong and this is the truth, not because I say so, but because the citizens of this country have spoken. The left must stop their crusade to purge moderates and conservatives from the party if they ultimately want to see Democrats stay in power.


You & Kos did, but not because you supported their philosophy, it’s because you had a larger motivation behind it. Just because netroots got behind candidates like Webb, Tester, and even Casey, it did not mean they were candidates from the netroot movement like Lamont was.

Please reconcile these two statements. Was the liberal blogosphere 100% wrong? Or were we right, but for the wrong reasons? I'm a little confused as to what your point even is...

What will happen when Webb, Tester, et al start taking moderate and conservative positions or even start working across party lines?

It will be odd, considering that Tester isn't conservative.

After all, the single issue that converted Webb was the war in Iraq. He is most likely still in lockstep with Republicans on a whole host of other issues.

And neither is Webb. Incidently, I heard a Webb clip on the radio this morning (I can't find it anywhere online :( ) where he talked about how he used to be a Republican only because of defense issues, but has always been in line with the Dems on economic and social justice issues, but thought that defense was paramount. He made the switch because he felt that the Republicans had become horrible on defense. So if you don't agree, call him up and explain that lockstep thing.

The guy poured over 16 million in to his own campaign and still couldn’t win in blue CT. It showed what mainstream Democrats said all along – the left can dominate the primary process all they want, only to get a “thumpin’” in the general election. I think some on the left ultimately realized this and decided to support conservative Dems for the reasons I stated above.

You are right, so long as every race that the left wins in a primary results in a general election with a moderate democrat and the republicans decide to sit the race out. The next time that happens, I will be the first person to agree with you.

Also, and this is the last time we are going over it, "mainstream Democrats" said no such thing. Lamont won the Democratic primary and then took over 65% of Democrats in the general election. Mainstream Democrats voted for lamont. Mainstream has a meaning, you should look it up.

And you are dead wrong about DLC opposed to a minimum wage hike. That is just and out and out lie. Maybe you should read about what the DLC really is instead of using Kos talking points.

Okay. In early 1995, when Robert Reich, Ted Kennedy, and Richard Gephardt began a serious push for a higher minimum wage, the Clinton administration got some familiar advice from the DLC's Washington operation. As columnist Morton Kondracke, often an outlet for DLC views, explained in Roll Call, "DLC officials think that, if Clinton calls for a minimum-wage increase in the State of the Union—as White House aides indicated he is inclined to do—it could wreak the same political damage as his 1993 vow to veto any health care bill that did not provide universal coverage." In another column Kondracke wrote that support for a wage hike would "brand him [Clinton] as an 'old Democrat'"—the ultimate insult for DLCers.

hmmmmm...

Al From: I often disagree with organized labor on specific issues. ... supported the North American Free Trade Agreement; labor opposed it. I supported regular trading status with China and the 1997 bipartisan balanced budget agreement; labor opposed both. I believe tihe best way to help working poor people is to increase the earned income tax credit; labor opts for big increases in the minimum wage.

Funny thing, Google.

TG -
I think the netroots support of shall we say, the non-Lamont candidates was, monetarily at least, pathetic.

5 seconds with the actblue netroots page destroys your argument. For the link-lazy, here are the top 5 (in terms of donors) recipients of netroots money:

Ned Lamont received $180,586.02 from the netroots list and $452,789.13 from all pages.

Jim Webb received $193,248.85 from the netroots list and $891,999.01 from all pages.

Jon Tester received $157,007.24 from the netroots list and $342,985.61 from all pages.

Joe Sestak received $133,573.07 from the netroots list and $866,737.62 from all pages.

Joe McNerney received $101,504.65 from the netroots list and $206,514.03 from all pages.


Whether you define the "netroots" as the netroots list (just from Kos, MyDD, and SSP) or as all actblue pages for purposes of fundraising, the non-Lamont contributions are anything but, shall we say, pathetic.

I wonder if Jim Webb and Joe Sestak, bot of whom got almost double what Lamont got from the actblue pages, think that the netroots monetary contributions were pathetic...

Anyway, I will stand by the words of Jim Webb:

The netroots have been a tremendous help to my campaign and a huge inspiration to me personally.

I am where I am in large part because of their support.


And John Tester:

Online activists played a key role in Jon Tester's Primary victory -- and the netroots are going to play a critical role in helping us defeat Conrad Burns in November.

As for your other argument, I'm not sure I buy it either.

For one thing, it doesn't really make sense to label the seats as suburban/rural - its not weird that the Dems didn't pick up any urban seats, we all ready had them all!

Secondly, I think you are leaving out a whole slew of Dem candidates who did lead with the war. Sestak, Murphy (PA), Hodes, and Shea-Porter all lead with the war (off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more) and all won. Also, leading with another issue that strongly resonantes locally (like Murphy (CT) did with prescription drugs) does not mean that the war isn't a huge issue in the minds of voters.

Gabe said...

And TG, for the record, the netroots are more than just an ATM. They also provided buzz and volunteers for a whole slew of nationwide candidates.

Ted Swanson said...

This is brainless. What low percentage of your brain are you using? The point of blogs is that we can get to facts and bypass MSM distorting reality. Check out Atrios' comment on Tester. How about Sherrod Brown? Is he a representative of the center.

The DLC's lapdog Harold Ford lost, if anything, this is a showing for the center failing. Also, there are enough net roots successes that this vital center crap is a bunch of nonsense.

Plus, what the hell does Centrism even mean when your country has been run by Right Wing Zealots and Corporate Lackey's for sometime?

I'd expect you to use a little more discretion when making claims like this. Everyone knows the MSM, especially people like Adam Nagourney and even David Brooks, push these ideas on our political discourse. If people like you, who have an audience, could actually not be a follower, we'd all be better for it. Or atleast we'd be well-informed.

Shadow said...

> I never denied that you supported Webb, Tester or any other of those candidates.
> You & Kos did, but not because you supported their philosophy, it’s because you had a
> larger motivation behind it.

I wonder how you can assume what my philosophy is. I am a progressive moderate, like most Americans, and like most progressive moderates, I am conservative on a number of issues. I believe in being tougher on defense, smarter in our targeting, better with funding our vets and our troops, tougher on violent crime (particularly child abuse), restrained and efficient in our fiscal spending, and more vigilant in keeping the government away from our individual liberties.

And Kos? He was a young Republican of the Goldwater ilk in the 80's and early 90's, campaigning hard on behalf of the party, and has a picture of himself and George H.W. Bush on the trail.

The fact is, the whole dichotomy of liberal and conservative just doesn't describe American voters anymore; it's just an easy way to read a map in a two party national election. Almost all "Red States" voted for Bush 55%-45% or 60%-40% or 65%-35%, and "Blue States" went vice versa, yet we get so used to talking about these states as monolithic, when we are in fact ignoring 35% - 45% of those state's populations who voted against their state's political color.

Liberal has become a curse word, so most people don't identify themselves with the word anyway. And the new supposed brand of conservatism has excluded Goldwater conservatives, libertarians, and all Republicans who don't associate themselves with hardline big government neo-conservatism.

This liberal-conservative dichotomy has failed us as an accurate description of modern voters, and ironically, it is the six year hijacking of political lexicon by neo-conservatives that put the final nail in the coffin, by completing full vilification of the "l" word, thumbing their nose at moderation, and betraying most of the principles of traditional conservatism.

The best way to describe most Americans is progressive moderate, and it should be no surprise, as it is the tradition of our great nation.

Our country has always been about progress, moving forward, the frontier spirit; our Constitutional ideals did not manifest overnight, but have incrementally been achieved over the centuries, through moments such as emancipation in the 1860's, women's suffrage in the 1920's, and civil rights in the 1960's. It's only logical to assume that we are still on this journey towards full realization of our Constitutional ideals, and arrogant to assume we're at the end. Most Americans are progressive enough to believe the former.

Our founding fathers also built moderation into the very fabric of our political system. An elaborate set of checks and balances have for centuries prevented or minimized extreme change; the founders believed gridlock a better alternative to chaos. And the majority of people in America, too, are moderate; just because they believe in the spirit of progress, doesn't mean they want to rush ahead haphazardly, and in fact, they are also conservative on many issues.

Therefore, progressive moderate is the most accurate term for most Americans (keeping in mind that some are more conservative than others on particular issues, but those issues vary with the individual). Plenty of people who never expected to end up in such a political classification, such as Goldwater conservatives/libertarians who always voted Republican in the past, simply no longer fit in the only other existing voter blocks left: neo-conservative/corporate conservative, and hardline religious/social conservative.

And again, the neo-cons have no one to blame but themselves for cementing this realignment, as they assumed that the combination of their coalition with social conservatives, low turnout among all other voters, a crappy opposition party, and media message dominance would keep them in power forever. Now this realignment threatens to expose their minority permanently, provided the national Democratic party doesn't make fools of themselves in Congress, and voter turnout can stay at current levels or increase. Two big ifs, but I'm optimistic.

Anonymous said...

"Lieberman won with lots of money and votes from Republicans"

What a howler- The Republicans have the smallest voting block in CT.

Shadow said...

> What a howler- The Republicans have the smallest voting block in CT.


And if you do the math, Lieberman wouldn't have won without them.

The money, support, and media coordination came from Washington Republicans and their biggest donors. If the story was told honestly, Lamont went from getting 150,000 voters in the primary and ended up with over three times as many in the general. It was a huge gain, but the news media ignored the upward trend, and made it seem like Lamont was losing ground because he didn't immediately have the same percentage of general election support as primary support, even though the general election represents a much larger block of voters.

Instead of talking about Lamont being the first man in American history to defeat a vice presidential candidate in his own party's primary, and how odd it was that the exact same race would have to be rerun, the primary victory was immediately and consistently spun by the news media Lamont not keeping up with expectations. Media perception is king, and the average middle-class middle-aged Lamont voters had been convinced by election day that he was going to lose, leading to many of them not bothering to turn out in CT suburbs. This turned out to be the critical factor in the race.

Anonymous said...

Gabe, I knew this was coming so I was prepared for the question. You have two different dynamics going here. I have been told numerous times by left wing bloggers that the key to Democrats regaining power is to appeal to the liberal base and running off the centrist, Republican-lite DLC types. They want a Carl Rove type strategy for the left. They feel the Democrats were out of power for 12 years because they turned their back on the (liberal) base and that running liberal candidates will bring them home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this asinine babble (see Ted Swanson’s remarks regarding the “vital center crap” and you will know exactly what I mean).


Now obviously, the left realizes the above approach would never work in a bright red state. The reality is you have to deal with the hand your dealt, and that’s where the second dynamic comes in. Candidates in red states who shared the political pin stripes of the likes of Ned Lamont, Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, etc – wouldn’t stand a chance at getting elected. The left put aside their own political beliefs for the purposes of capturing the prize - committee chairmanships (and ultimately a liberal agenda). On Kos’s web site people encouraged support and $ for Casey even though they disagreed with his conservative positions. To them, he was another soldier needed to win the war.

This election was not a win for Kos - just keep reminding your self that Kos’s uncrowned king lost by more than 100,000 votes. He was flat out rejected. Gabe, you have to “dance with the one that brought you” and it seems to me that the left wing blogosphere is trying to dance with any other date but their own (now that he lost that is).

As far as the DLC stance on the minimum wage. As recently as Sept. 22 they were denouncing the GOP congress over it.

“As of this writing, it's clear Congress will fail -- unless something happens in a post-election lame duck session -- to extend critical tax incentives to research, development and investment such as the R&D tax credit, or to raise the minimum wage, thanks to a GOP decision to hold such provisions hostage to a big, budget-busting cut in the estate tax. And remember when tax reform was going to be the big domestic priority for Republicans in Bush's second term? Nothing could be further from reality”

http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=254046&kaid=131&subid=207

Anonymous said...

Swanson - you must be joking! Harold Ford came within a few percentage points of becoming the first black senator from the south since reconstruction. If it wasn't for the RCCC's slimey lying ads I'm sure he would have won.

And how do you think a liberal blogosphere type candidate would have fared in TN? Do you think liberal Ned Lamont would have won? He didn't even reach 40% in blue CT. Thanks for proving my point. LMAO!

Gabe said...

Anon - It might be because its late and I'm tired, but I don't really understand your point. We want to run off all the centrists, but we recognize that strategy wont work, so we support conservatives (click the links above, those guys aren't conservative), and then they win, but thats not a win for the blogs, its actually a 100% loss?

Anon 6:29 - He didn't even reach 40% in blue CT. This is a silly, and unfair, point. He was in a race with an R and another nominal D. Are you really comparing the percentage totals in a three way race to a two way race? And they are different? Shocking.

Anonymous said...

Gabe, The Lamont campaign repeatedly made the case that Joe was the "defacto" Republican candidate, right? Now you ignore this fact to suit your argument.

The CT senate campaign was essentially equivalent to a two way race between Lamnont and Lieberman, with Schlesinger garnering the support of what you might expect from a minor third party candidate. Albeit, instead of 2-3%, he got 9.6%, but not a major deal.

Republicans are only 22% of the CT electorate, yet Joe got 49.8% of the vote total in a three way race! Rounding up that makes 50%. Please give me some examples of other three way races where the winner garners 50% of the vote total?

Since Swanson doesn't have the brain power to answer my question maybe you can. I want to know how well a Ned Lamont type candidate would have fared against Corker in TN? I'm guessing 1/3 of the vote would have been realistic in a conservative state. If a liberal like Ned can't win in blue CT, how in the world would he win in TN?

Shadow said...

Yeah, seriously. That's like saying the Republican party in 1992 would never have a chance at the Presidency again because George H.W. Bush didn't even get 33% of the vote.

As to the comment about red states not going for certain candidates, it's all how you genuinely you frame your platform. Americans have a lot more in common than binary color schemes suggest, and most will listen to a progressive moderate position, provided it's framed in the right language; most corporate neo-cons and hardline religious conservatives won't listen, of course, but they only make up a total of roughly 23% of the overall population (source: Lifelong Republican John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience").

What is the "right language"? My above post would be a perfect example. Lay it out all on the table, your conservative views and well as your progressive ones. Show that you are a reasonable, pragmatic, and moderate human being, not a candidate packaged to reflect some incorrect notion of centrism.

Ask the Democratic party; coordinated centrism fails. Look at Gore and Kerry's presidential campaigns; they were constantantly equivocating to appear more to the middle, and in the end failed miserably in appealing to their base. The more likely to vote Democrat a person was, the more Gore/Lieberman looked to them like the ticket of labeling song lyrics and lecturing artistic expression, and the more Kerry/Edwards looked derelict in providing an actual opposition party view against the Iraq war. It is *impossible* to win a national election like that all while being mercilessly attacked from the right.

Anonymous said...

Gabe - Let me give you a case study to illustrate my point. Obviously I’m not doing it effectively.

Let’s take a look at CT. The liberal blogosphere did its best to purge Lieberman the centrist. After all, he was the DLC candidate. They did a good job and accomplished their goal by securing victory for their left wing candidate (Lamont) in the primary. Late in the general election campaign many on the left came to realize that in order to defeat Joe they needed Alan Schlesinger to peel off his support. They got behind conservative Alan Schlesinger, not by giving their votes, but by cheering him on, lauding his performance in the debates, posting video and audio clips of Alan bashing Joe on their blogs, and promoting a 4th debate so that Alan could continue to get his message out there. Some even made $ contributions. Even Lamont himself offered Alan encouragement that he would “catch up” like he did. The Lamont backers put aside their own political beliefs, they put aside the fact that Alan used a fake name when he gambled, and they condoned Alan’s gambling debts and went out of their way to publish his lame excuses. People scratched their heads and realized the opportunist approach the left was taking to further their own cause. Alan was a vessel to get what they really wanted and that was to get Ned elected at any cost, even if it meant helping a conservative to get it done.

Now, I hope I don’t have to spell out word for word the similarities between what the left did here and what was done in other races around the country. The left wing blogosphere has their favorites who they promote and would love to see win, but when their horse isn’t in the race they’ll bet on the next best thing (or should I say the lesser of two Republicans). In 2006, the larger goal of taking back the House and Senate was the over riding cause because it would put their liberal committee chairmen in control of the agenda.

Gabe, you don’t have to listen to me talk about how this election was a victory for the centrists and the DLC. If you want to give credit to the liberal blogosphere, go right ahead, but you might want to read what some other writers in America have to say about it.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1557650,00.html?cnn=yes

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/08/AR2006110802080.html

http://select.nytimes.com/2006/11/09/opinion/09brooks.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1163086496-0fW4QzAQpEovRxP6c4OVwA

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11102006/postopinion/opedcolumnists/why_dems_won_opedcolumnists_craig_charney.htm?page=0

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/15965244.htm

http://pewresearch.org/obdeck/?ObDeckID=88

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/politics/cal/la-me-election9nov09,0,832833.story?coll=la-center-politics-cal

http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=86&subid=84&contentid=254099

Anonymous said...

Shadow, please don’t say that Gore and Kerry ran as centrists. Remember that Gore ran away from the Clinton’s record preferring the “people vs. the powerful” mantra. Kerry was an established Massachusetts liberal and Bush pegged him as one. Kerry never rejected his liberal views on most issues. He may have tried to avoid the wedge issues, but certainly he was no centrist.

And if the base was turned off by centrist themes as you put it, are you inferring they voted Republican instead?

Gabe said...

Now, I hope I don’t have to spell out word for word the similarities between what the left did here and what was done in other races around the country.

I wish you would, because I don't see the similarity. And if you would be more condescending, maybe that will help me to understand...

Please start by going up to my earlier post that listed all the blog-supported candidates that won and get one or more to fit in to the Lamont framework that you articulated above...

Ted Swanson said...

The point is, Harold Ford, came across like a product of the DLC. Considering the undo amount of influence the DLC has had on the Democratic party until the last few years, it is relevent that he lost. A more populist message is effective anywhere, even in a rural, southern state.

And someone like Tester isn't a de facto liberal blogosphere type. He's pro gun, anti-immigration and opposed to gay marriage. They key word, as it should be, this election is populism. And the DLC beholdence to corporate influence makes the sort of Tester populism impossible. A big tent is great, and the DLC probably has some limited benefits for the larger Democratic Party. But if I proved your point, then you are admitting that your pretty unsophisticated. Any narrative being offered by the media should be taken with heavy skepticism. Because after all, like the red state/blue state narrative, these things are just products that uncreative people like you hold onto in order to be able to pontificate about politics in mostly unoriginal ways.