Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 22, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

HOW WE WON....Did Dems win in 2006 by electing a bunch of centrists and moderates? I remember that was a hot topic of conversation back in November, but it's easier to evaluate now that we have a few months worth of voting records to look at. The answer, according to Nicholas Beaudrot, appears to be yes. (In the House, anyway.)

Kevin Drum 6:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Anyone'll do. Just make Bush be gone, please.

Posted by: Kenji on May 22, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, thanks for admitting you're wrong. Again! Yesterday you admitted the possibility of an Iranian/Al-Qaeda/Sadr alliance which could be used to attack America in Iraq and worldwide. Now you admit Democrats won in 2006 by running to the right.
With the election of Sarkozy in France, this means the right has actually won the last elections in France, Canada, Germany, and the 2006 elections in the USA. Pretty remarkable pattern isn't it? Of course it's not just a coincidence but the Emerging Conservative Majority across the the world, and especially America and Europe. This emboldens me to predict a conservative victory in the 2008 American elections. You heard it here first!

Posted by: Al on May 22, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

considering todays cave-in to "just give me a blank-check and shut up" Bush, are you sure we won in November. Different faces, same results.

Posted by: clyde on May 22, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

What's the big deal? 'Tis the nature of pendulums to swing. The pendulum went too far to the left, and now we have found defensible territory. While we were staking out that ground, the Republicans went too far. (Movement Conservatives? WTF?) Now their saner leaders have to emerge (and they will) and push the Christian Right and Movement Conservatives off the stage.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 22, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately it is the best that can be expected with this country's corporate controlled media

Posted by: Lew on May 22, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

This is a predictable if somewhat undesirable side-effect of Howard Dean's 50 state strategy: running moderate or libertarian Dems against nutcase Republicans in 'red' areas of the country.

Al thinks the Dems succeded by running right. That's like saying the US invaded Nazi Germany because we wanted to become more fascist. When you take ground from your opponent, it becomes your ground, not theirs. By Al's logic, a complete Democratic sweep of every House and Senate seat would represent the ultimate triumph of conservatism.

As for foreign country's, where is Britain's swing to the right? Britain is the only foreign country whose politics have any sort of correlation to America's (Reagan/Thatcher, Bush/Major, Clinton/Blair 1.1, Bush/Blair 1.2).

Posted by: lampwick on May 22, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

lampwick: Australia is another close Bush ally. But Howard told his conservative government lawmakers on Tuesday the government could be annihilated in an election late this year.

The main reason the Australians plan to throw Howard out is their passionate disagreement with his pro-Bush foreign policy (and that, like Bush, he rejects action to fight global warming).

With the defeat of Berlesconi, the resignation of Blair, and the imminent defeat of Howard, Bush will soon stand alone. Sarkozy, who the trolls are sure to mention, is a French nationalist, and is not going to take marching orders from W.

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 22, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

What, and how much, data is this based on? I certainly can't tell from the link.

Posted by: David in NY on May 22, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Did Dems win in 2006 by electing a bunch of centrists and moderates?

Only if you use the terms centrist and moderate to describe typical dishonest, lying politicians who ran on one position and then sold out once elected. That’s a problem of integrity not left/right orientation. Gabrielle Giffords is an example of this. She’s Arizona’s Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: antiphone on May 22, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

lampwick: Australia is another close Bush ally. But Howard told his conservative government lawmakers on Tuesday the government could be annihilated in an election late this year.

The main reason the Australians plan to throw Howard out is their passionate disagreement with his pro-Bush foreign policy (and that, like Bush, he rejects action to fight global warming).

With the defeat of Berlesconi, the resignation of Blair, and the imminent defeat of Howard, Bush will soon stand alone. Sarkozy, who the trolls are sure to mention, is a French nationalist, and is not going to take marching orders from W.

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 22, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Did Dems win in 2006 by electing a bunch of centrists and moderates?

Many of the Dems unseating incumbent Rethugs are definitely Dem-lite. I think you can count the true liberals in the House on two hands and a few toes on one foot. There is an even smaller proportion of liberals in the Senate.

Posted by: JeffII on May 22, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Centrism good.

I dunno I can't just tell anymore. Call me a post- post- neo-revisionist. Or a radical conservative republican - "radical" derived from the Greek word meaning "root": "conservative" as in conserving the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the environment, cherished institutions that matter; "republican" as in favoring a republic, not the Preditory Empire we have been since 1945 (at times, along with "conservative" things by that great Liberal Harry Truman like the Marshall Plan).

The bumpersticker I want on my car: "Roosevelt/Truman," 'cause that's where this middle-age lifelong Democrat is at. From where I sit, fuck The Nation and Harper's for endorsing Nader. What a bunch of willful losers and narcissists.

That "centrist" of the moment - some of them - are weasals does not mean a modern centrism doesn't exist or if it does is bad. Most American's are "centrists" - which means far to the left of this right-wing junta.

I deplore the social individualism of the left, it's petulant narcissism and smugness, their wllful, deliberate cul-de-sac. Just as I deplore the economic individualism of the right, the narcissism associated with it, their need to hate and nurture rage - and the complete mess they made of our country.

Posted by: maxGowan on May 22, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but was there any doubt that the credit for the Dem's 2006 majority should go to Emmanuel?

Posted by: JoeCHI on May 22, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but was there any doubt that the credit for the Dem's 2006 majority should go to Emmanuel?

Posted by: JoeCHI on May 22, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Nope, Emmanuel rocks. I don't know how much Dean played; less, of couse; but didn't he help with his 50 -state strategy. On the othe hand, was it Emmanuel who duly noted, "If you think a dollar in Mississippi is worth the same as a dollar in Missouri, you're crazy."?

Posted by: maxGowan on May 22, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

I deplore the social individualism of the left, it's petulant narcissism and smugness, their wllful, deliberate cul-de-sac...


By contrast, is this what you’d call constructive criticism?

Posted by: antiphone on May 22, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but was there any doubt that the credit for the Dem's 2006 majority should go to Emmanuel? Posted by: JoeCHI

In the House, yes.

Posted by: JeffII on May 22, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

So how do you know that they weren't leftists during campaigning who just vote centrist once in office? I mean, politicians historically become more averse to pissing off their constituency once elected compared to during the campaign.

Posted by: N on May 22, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Hat tip, Joe Buck, for the Australia news.

"Radical" comes from Latin, not Greek. (radix, radicis)

Is there doubt being expressed here about who deserves the most credit for the 50-state strategy and the Democrats' recapturing of the House? It was originally Dean's idea and he was the one who first began to implement it (see wikipedia):

"After Dean became Chairman of the DNC, he pledged to bring reform to the Party. Rather than focusing just on 'swing states,' Dean proposed what has come to be known as the 50-State Strategy. The goal, the DNC says, is for the Democratic Party to be committed to winning elections at every level in every region of the country, with Democrats organized in every single voting precinct in the country. State party chairs have lauded Dean with praise for raising money directly for the individual state parties."

Posted by: lampwick on May 22, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

No, the media/RNC theme was that dems won by running a bunch of CONSERVATIVE candidates. The data you present shows that theme to have been incorrect.

Posted by: Nick on May 22, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

The longest march starts with the first step.

Posted by: R on May 22, 2007 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

And sometimes you win just because you're the only alternative.

Posted by: Augustus on May 22, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

No, the media/RNC theme was that dems won by running a bunch of CONSERVATIVE candidates. The data you present shows that theme to have been incorrect.

Nick: Your understanding of the data is wrong. The data tells us that, indeed, the conservative Dems won conservative GOP seats, and that moderate Dems won moderate/conservative GOP seats, etc.

Posted by: JoeCHI on May 22, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

The American obsession with left and right continues, and as always its cosmetic, and hopelessly skewed.
The study of psychology tells us about the "most recent" effect: the more recent a development, the bigger its impact on perception and conclusion. So the location of the "centre" in American politics is always shifting as the politican du jour adjusts his stump speech according to the state he is in and the latest poll. If a politican dubbed "left" yesterday adjusts his policy today, then it shifts the entire balance of perception among the self-serving pundits like Al, who simply casts the event as another example of his prescience.
Concepts of Left and Right need to be viewed in the international context, and based in actual political theory, not the constantly shifting words of US politicans. There is no left/right divide in the US. The nation is, in practical terms, a one party state in all but name. The two parties swap identities and policies often enough to make them essentially the same entity. The occasional move to the extreme by people like Bush simply creates a short term move in the domestic US perception of "centre". In the rest of the world, the political spectrum is defined by actual policy differences, not by differences among the personnel seeking office.

Posted by: billy on May 22, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Good stuff Billy. I hope you are wearing your body armor. I will just add that when the left moves to the center it forces the right farther to the right. The right hated BC cuz he stole their positions.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on May 22, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Billy -

It's spelled 'center', not 'centre', and Britain (if that is your touchstone) is not equivalent to 'the rest of the world'. You've bought into the whole 'American exceptionalism' myth, albeit with a more jaundiced perspective. The division between Democrats and Republicans was born of Civil War; and though both parties have evolved rapidly over time, in such a way as to make it all but impossible to define a party essence, it's absurd to call this country a 'one party state'. More like perpetual mutual cannabilism.

Now leave us alone, while we go devour our young...

Posted by: lampwick on May 22, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

A bunch of centrists and moderates

OR maybe voters picked guys like Web because he has a spine, unlike Kevin's version of a centrist which is anyone that folds to Bush at least according to Kevin.

Maybe the only thing the voters were really looking for was Dem conviction.

Maybe that is why some liberals wanted Howard Dean to start a new party, because Pelosi and Reid aren't centrist, nope, just pacifist cowards. Everything those two do are for cheap political safety reasons and they care nothing for the voters. the same voters that gave those spineless two a the majority lead in hopes they might do SOMETHING, but they didn't do anything except of course to play the victim over and over again.

Posted by: Me_again on May 22, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Seems rather obvious that Dems won by electing centrists and moderates. Just how often do Republicans get replaced by very liberal or progressive Democrats? Quite rarely I would think.

Posted by: Fred on May 22, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is a silly question. The entire country moved away from the Repubs toward the Democrats. So in areas where Repubs lost seats, the winners were slightly to the left of Repubs, i.e. conservative/moderate dems. Liberal Dems probably won bigger in their districts than they would have, but this was in districts that were already dem, so they aren't the new faces.

Posted by: J on May 22, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "This emboldens me to predict a conservative victory in the 2008 American elections."

Yeah, in the sense that a turtle is emboldened to retreat into his shell. LOL! You ARE a parody, aren't you? Because otherwise, you shouldn't be allowed to have a driver's license.

Posted by: Kenji on May 22, 2007 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

t's spelled 'center', not 'centre' except in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Botswana, Canada, Cayman Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guernsey, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Montserrat, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tristan da Cuhna, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Virgin Islands (British), Zambia and Zimbabwe and then all those non-English speaking countries (almost all of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, half of China and large swathes of South America) that hew to the British spelling. Otherwise you are undoubtedly correct.

Posted by: snicker-snack on May 22, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

OK wiseguy, but what about Liberia and the US Virgin Islands? The US is the centre of the universe! no, wait...

Posted by: thersites on May 22, 2007 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Last time I chequed, it's 'center', however they may spell it in Timbuktu. America first, dude! (Snorts long line of coke.)

Posted by: lampwick on May 22, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

All the cool kids are over at Eschaton. There's nobody hanging out at this party except stoners, graduate students, and Mr. Burns wannabes.

Posted by: lampwick on May 22, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Lampwick You've bought into the whole 'American exceptionalism' myth.

errr... no i haven't.

but moving on. You state, it is now "all but impossible to define a party essence". How, then, is it different to a one party state?

Posted by: Billy on May 22, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Last time I chequed, it's 'center'

Well, colour me surpised!

Billy, I assume you're referring to the myth that there's no left in the US, as "left" is understood in most Western countries. That's not true. We're here, and we get together every Friday night and split a tofu pizza four ways.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2007 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

I understand 'essence' to be something constant over time.

Around the time of the civil war the Democratic party advocated states rights while the Republican party stood up for the power of the Federal goverment; a few years ago these positions became completely reversed. There are countless other examples of such shifts in ideology.

Around the time of the civil war the Democratic party had its base in the South and the Republicans had their base in the north; now this situation is completely reversed.

Just because the parties' identities and constituencies have changed over time doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means they're dynamic.

What this 'one party' thing is that you speak of, I have no idea. What is the name of the party? Where does it mean? Who belongs to it? Are you a member? Where do I sign up? Or is it not really a party, in the common sense of the term, but some sort of vaporous conspiracy?

Posted by: lampwick on May 23, 2007 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

What this 'one party' thing is that you speak of, I have no idea. What is the name of the party? Where does it mean? Who belongs to it? Are you a member? Where do I sign up? Or is it not really a party, in the common sense of the term, but some sort of vaporous conspiracy?

Ah, derision. The sneer and the snort. Such fine weapons to wield. Perhaps you could roll your eyeballs as well?

Yes, there is of course an ideological chasm separating the Enlightened Corporatist Party and the Retrograde Corporatist Party (with their smaller allies the Nativist and Religious Parties). I'm assuming it's this chasm that Billy's referring to as opp. to the ideological conformity seen in most other democracies.

Posted by: snicker-snack on May 23, 2007 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

How predictable: your 'one party' is The Corporation. Enjoy your comic book theory of politics, and all of its attendant intellectual consolations.

Posted by: lampwick on May 23, 2007 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

Derision atop derision. Cartoonish AND predictable. Oh frabjous day! Cool.

Course, rather than snort, perhaps you might make a compelling case that large corporations are not the constituency that the Democratic party primarily (note: not soley) serves. Granted, this takes a little more effort than snorting.

P.S. You can use reduction to represent or to misrepresent. You do understand the difference?

Posted by: snicker-snack on May 23, 2007 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, snicker-snack, for some more of Arne's strains of "Rule, Enclycopedia Brittania".

And I trust Victoria Day went well for you.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 23, 2007 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Hey 3rd,

Aye. A quick cut and paste of countries/territories with British English and a couple additions (and unfortunate omissions... um, er, the U.K. itself). Just having some fun - one of my intellectual consolations for, uh, something or other :)

No Victoria Day where I'm currently parked but remember fondly the parades - and that most of the good bands came from the States.

As to 'How We Won', I think the more apt approach is 'How They Lost'.

Posted by: snicker-snack on May 23, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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