News of Note

Save Elmer has a three part piece on the Democratic party and the Iraq War resolution that is actually worth your valuable time. Parts 1 and 2 are already up. The piece shreds many of the dogmatic beliefs of the far left in regards to the Democratic party’s role in the Iraq war, and despels many myths concerning John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and the DLC.

Alan Freeman at ScrippsNews says Rahm Emanuel has emerged as the Democrats’ “Not-so-secret Weapon”

Since the days of Lee Atwater, the ruthless GOP campaign organizer for the first President Bush who is credited with destroying the campaign of Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988, the Republicans have gained a reputation for hardball tactics. Karl Rove, who shepherded George W. Bush’s political career from the Texas governorship to the White House, gained an aura of infallibility as the Republicans racked up success after success in congressional and presidential elections.

The Democrats, by contrast, have languished, riven by ideological and personality divisions and a sense that they were simply not as tough as the Rovians when it came to fighting election campaigns. Until Rahm Emanuel, that is.

Morton Kondracke believes Dems, GOP should heed voters’ call for moderation.

The November election returns — and subsequent polls — ought to serve as a caution to both Democrats and Republicans that the public really does expect action, not continued warfare. And the facts of political life make action impossible without cooperation.

According to Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, “the Democratic win is not a sign of political realignment. … A small Democratic turnout advantage notwithstanding, the electorate remains about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.”

“The outcome of this election,” Kohut noted, “was determined by the shifting sentiments of independents and moderates. It is no exaggeration to say that the views of the least ideological voters decided this election for the Democrats.”

According to exit polls, self-identified independents split 49 percent to 46 percent Democratic in 2004, but 57 percent to 39 percent Democratic in 2006. Self-identified moderates split 61 percent to 38 percent Democratic in 2006.

“No evidence suggests the country is moving culturally or ideologically to the left,” Kohut concluded. “The potential exists [for Democrats] to make the same mistake that was made in 1994, when the GOP victory was viewed as signaling that the country was moving to the right.”

US News and World Report has a two-parter on the Blue Dog Coalition and the House New Democrat Coalition (DLC). Here are some excerpt from both:

Veteran liberals such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, hold the party’s reins, but their power is likely to be tested by a group far removed from the party establishment-conservative Democrats who are flexing newfound muscle. Eighteen of 41 incoming House freshmen joined the New Democrat Coalition and/or the Blue Dog Coalition, caucuses of pro-business and fiscally conservative Democrats, respectively. Both were born in the wake of the 1994 Republican revolution. Moderate New Democrats claimed the mantle of pragmatists like Bill Clinton. Pro-technology and free trade, the New Democrats boast a few more members, but the budget-minded Blue Dogs may have more bite. Now 44 members strong, this conservative caucus looks to be a cohesive voting bloc on fiscal issues. It also claims some freshman stars, like former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler of North Carolina and former sheriff Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, both of whom won in GOP strongholds. Fourth-term Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross, cochair of the Blue Dogs, says party leaders recognize them as a “force to be reckoned with,” adding, “We didn’t defeat Republicans with liberal Democrats. We’re in the middle … and that’s where we’re trying to bring our party.”

Both Pelosi and President Bush met with caucus members before Congress reconvened. Pelosi has doled out key assignments as well, putting seven Blue Dogs on the House Appropriations Committee, which controls congressional purse strings. Conservative Democrats are the driving force behind three key initiatives in Pelosi’s touted 100-hour plan: implementing pay-as-you-go rules requiring Congress to offset new spending, adding transparency to the earmarking process, and promising members adequate time to review a bill before a vote. more


The caucus of conservative Democrats, the Blue Dog Coalition, has become something of a pet favorite among Democrats. Some of the brightest stars in the freshman Democrat class, like former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler of North Carolina and former Indiana Sheriff Brad Ellsworth, have signed on to the caucus, swelling its ranks to 44 members.

With blue dogs showing the party it can win in traditionally Republican districts, the caucus has enjoyed a surge in popularity. But its ranks have become increasingly exclusive.

“We could have twice as many [members] as we have right now,” Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, cochair of the Blue Dog Coalition, told U.S. News. “But we’re not looking for quantity, we’re looking for quality.” more


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