Tuesday, November 07, 2006
blue is beautiful:
Granted, I'm veering on drunk, but let's coin a term for tonight: The Blue Revolution. Look, if 1994 was a Republican Revolution, then even a minor Dem win -- after furious, furious redistricting to entrench the GOP House majority -- surely counts as a massive change.
--Spencer Ackerman
Is it really a revolution, though? I'll grant that the party switch has some significance. But in the House, especially, we've seen moderate Republicans replaced by conservative Democrats. What does this demonstrate except well-deserved antipathy to the Administration? Not, in my view, any really important change in public opinion. Unlike 1994, the voters are not demanding a new direction so much as that Congress govern in the way that the old majority had promised it would.

It will be interesting to watch what influence the new center has on the party elders, many of whom are class of '74 McGoverniks.
Blogger TheWaldganger | 6:51 AM

Well, to take your point about the moderate GOPers replaced by conservative Dems, it signifies two things that appear very significant: first, that the Republican Party has grown too extreme for even chastened conservatives*; and second, that a regional realignment is in place, thanks largely to demographic changes in northeast and southwest (Arizona & Colorado particularly) suburbs. That's a pretty big deal.

* The point about conservatives is a tricky one. It's not as if the political spectrum is perfectly linear, as I don't need to tell you. A "moderate Republican" in and a "conservative Democrat" in the northeast are not kissing cousins: they're seperated by income (the GOPer is richer) and especially by culture (the Dem is probably more religious, or at least more comfortable with displays of religion). And if that's the voter who's going to the Democrats this time around -- and it's certainly too soon to tell whether this is a one-time event or something broader -- that's pretty noteworthy. (If not revolutionary.)
Blogger Spencer Ackerman | 9:54 AM

The Kos post is misleading. First, the Senate does most of the work in the argument. We're talking about the House here. But even then, it uses a much too rigid definition of conservative. It would be absurd to regard the class of 2006 as the second coming of George Wallace. But for most people, "conservative Democrat" means some combination of a deficit hawk, tough talker on national security (which is not the same as supporting the war), and contrarian tendencies on a social issue of your choice (guns, affirmative action, abortion, etc.).

By this standard, quite a number of the new members of Congress qualify as "conservative". As does Webb, and perhaps Tester. Klobuchar and Sanders are not to the point here.

Finally, I would be careful in identifying economic populism with liberal- or progressivism. That's much closer to Pat Buchanan than Al Gore territory.
Blogger TheWaldganger | 1:31 PM

Before he became "Howard Dean" the Governor of Vermont by that name *was* regarded as a conservative Democrat. Although the gay marriage business helped changed that impression, the biggest factor was his early opposition to the war. But really I don't think that's a good overall litmus test, especially now that almost everyone opposes the war in some sense.

As for a conservative Democrat in upstate New York, what about Arcuri? Although I believe that was an open seat, so it may not satisfy you.
Blogger TheWaldganger | 3:19 PM

Sestak for Weldon. Carney for Sherwood. I think that there really are a bunch of examples. Of course it's true that there are new liberal Democrats as well as new moderates or conservatives. But since we're only talking about 30 seats: 1) that isn't much of a trend either; and 2) big changes in policy are pretty unlikely. There will be a minimum wage bill, and "comprehensive" immigration reform, and probably some hearings on Iraq. But, as my original question asked, is this really a revolution?
Blogger TheWaldganger | 7:29 AM

Think of it this way: both the Third Reich and the Republican Revolution lasted 12 years.

Coincidence? I think not.
Blogger SSM | 3:57 AM