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Galloping Towards The Center
By Ed Driscoll · November 7, 2006 11:19 PM · Bobos In Paradise · Democracy In America

The Democrats have won control of the House, and as of right now, it looks like the Senate as well. On the other hand, they won several of their races with Republican-lite candidates such as James Webb (if Webb does indeed pull it out), and as Glenn Reynolds writes, "Huh. Pro-war Lieberman -- targeted by antiwar types on that issue -- wins. Chafee -- who was much more anti-war -- loses". So you can't quite call it back to September 10th. And in individual states, some very conservative bills have passed as well.

Always the optimist, Hugh Hewitt looks at the good news for Republicans in today's results:

Hillary's path back to the White House is much more difficult with her party in the majority in the House, and much much more difficult if the Senate falls to Harry Reid's command as well. Clarity as to her party's fecklessness will be back within the first six months, and the GOP frontrunners --Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney-- do not have to serve in the almost certain to be paralyzed Senate.

The Beltway-Manhattan media elite is now stuck "covering" Democratic majorities. Sure, they will go easy on them, but it is much more difficult to cover for a majority than a minority.

And it is a wonderful day for new media, especially talk radio. For two years we have had to defend the Congressional gang that couldn't shoot straight. Now we get to play offense.

I am concerned for the country that the Democrats have won, but the Republicans are indeed going to find this sojourn in the minority a potentially very good thing.

If the GOP adopts and refines the tactics the Democrats have used for the past four years all will be well two years hence, and perhaps even better than well.

Just as long as they don't adopt their tone.

Last year at this time, Jonah Goldberg preciently wrote:

Behold: We have entered the Age When Dinos and Rinos Rule the Earth. See them battle each other for absolute dominion!

Though this might sound like a cool monster mash of the "Mechagodzilla versus Godzilla" variety, it's a good deal less exciting and more depressing, like a taste test between 2% milk and soy milk. What we are witnessing is the dawn of the boring phase of the Great Republican Realignment, and it promises to have liberals and conservatives alike going bonkers.

I should back up. Dinos, of course, are "Democrats in Name Only." Rinos are their GOP counterparts. Nobody actually ever admits to being a Republican in name only. Rather, these are epithets used to describe politicians of insufficient ideological purity or partisan backbone. Think David Gergen without the smoldering sexual intensity. Or, if you can't, think moderates, squishes, apostates, New York Times-pleasing "mavericks," centrists, and all the others who want to "get beyond labels" or get a standing ovation from the Brookings Institution.

Galloping toward the center is nothing new in American politics. The parties have always regressed to the mean. The center of gravity is in the, uh, center. What's changed is that the center has finally been moving an eensy bit to the right.

If you go by the bills that won, and the candidates that won, that sounds correct--several individual conservative Republican candidates didn't win--but most far left anti-war types like Ned Lamont didn't clean-up, either. As Jonah mentioned in his recent TCS podcast with me, Democrats win when they move towards the center (just ask Bill Clinton), and right now, the center is where the action is. That doesn't sound like an environment that will be smooth sailing for a quintessential San Francisco Democrat like Speaker Pelosi over the next two years, but we'll see.

Update: "The GOP lost. Conservatism prevailed".

More: Kevin McCullough writes:

Make no mistake... America IS a center-right nation and election night 2006 confirms this!

No I'm not smoking anything...

And yes it will come back to haunt democrats in the days to come.

More centrism here; this is downright conservative--though not very libertarian.

Meanwhile, Second Amendment stalwart Dave Kopel writes:

I do not disagree that the Democratic gains in Congress will, on the whole, be harmful for the economy, and extremely dangerous for the war against Islamofascism.

Nevertheless, the class of pro-gun Democrats who will be joining the House and the Senate includes some who will eventually become party leaders, and who will help move the Democratic party back towards its traditional position of respect for the civil liberties of the American people. A very constructive development, in the long run.

Update: "Radio Equalizer" Brian Maloney writes, "Rather than being won by Democrats, this election was lost by Republicans". Tom Delay agrees.

More: "Even Charlie Rangel admitted that people didn't vote for Dems because they're liked, but as a protest against the current situation."



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