Friday, October 29, 2010

Might as well fold the “big tent.” Dem caucus to shift left in 112th Congress

Nice piece in Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller today, describing an ideological shift in the Democrats’ caucus after the November elections.

That whole “big tent” thing about Democrats embracing diverse views among its party members?  Might as well fold it up and return it to the rental joint.


While members of the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus are relatively safe in a tough year for Democrats, the more moderate Blue Dog Democrats in the House will be on the endangered species list after Tuesday’s election.

In fact, a Daily Caller analysis of House races shows that a member running in a Blue Dog district is about five times more likely to be at least somewhat vulnerable than a Progressive Caucus member.

Based on the RealClearPolitics ratings of House races, 62 of 76 seats held by a member of the Progressive Caucus are “safe.” For the Blue Dogs, the picture is much more bleak. Of the 54 districts held by a member of that caucus, only six are “safe.”

Some of the vulnerable Blue Dogs include members like Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry, Georgia Rep. Jim Marshall, North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler and Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor.

“It’s clear that the new House Democratic Caucus will be smaller, more liberal, and more California-centric,” remarked one senior GOP aide. “That’s going to make it even harder for them to reach out to the independent and moderate Americans whose support they have lost.”


There are four things that should jump out at you when reading this story.

The first is that moderate and “conservative” Democrats made their own bed in the 111th Congress, especially in the House. They gave into pressure from Democrat leadership in Congress and caved on Healthcare and Porkulus. Had they stuck to their fiscal conservatism and voted the way their constituents expected them to, they wouldn’t be in this predicament.  Sound familiar?  When you abandon your principles, voters pay you back by ousting you, just like they did to Republicans in 2006 and 2008.

Secondly, the chief reason why so many liberal seats are safe is because of gerrymandering.  A huge majority of them are in Districts carefully drawn to make sure that their constituents are leftists.  Houston’s Sheila Jackson-Lee.  Atlanta’s John Lewis and Hank Johnson.  San Francisco’s Nancy Pelosi.  Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But the 2010 election is also about downballot races, so giving your governor a GOP-controlled legislature can help fix some of that foolishness and make  these people compete on the quality of their ideas, not the color of their skin or the demographics of a cobbled-together District.

Third, the fact that the Democrat caucus will shift so far left means that their willingness to compromise with a GOP-led House is virtually nil.  What gets accomplished in the House will be accomplished by Republicans, with little Democrat support.

And last of all, the likelihood of those Blue Dog Democrats regaining power in 2012 dims considerably, if their Republican replacements toe the line of fiscal conservativism.  A GOP Congresscritter in a conservative District who sticks to smaller government, lower taxes and better business environment for job creation always wins. Always.

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