October 31, 2006


In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right (SHAILA DEWAN and ANNE E. KORNBLUT, 10/29/06, NY Times)

In their push to win back control of the House, Democrats have turned to conservative and moderate candidates who fit the profiles of their districts more closely than the profile of the national party.

One such candidate, Heath Shuler, was courted by Republicans to run for office in 2001. Mr. Shuler, 34, is a retired National Football League quarterback who is running in the 11th Congressional District in North Carolina. He is an evangelical Christian and holds fast to many conservative social views, like opposition to abortion rights.

“My guess is that if Democrats are in the majority, it’s going to be because of these New Democrat, Blue Dog candidates out there winning in these competitive swing districts,” Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, co-chairman of a caucus of centrist House Democrats, said in an interview.

But if candidates like Mr. Shuler do help the Democrats gain majority control of Congress, it could come at a political price, which may include tensions in the party between its new centrists and its more liberal political base.

In Ohio, Democrats Show a Religious Side to Voters (DAVID KIRKPATRICK, 10/31/06, NY Times)
Representative Ted Strickland, an Ohio Democrat and former Methodist minister, opened his campaign for governor with a commercial on Christian radio vowing that “biblical principles” would guide him in office.

In his first major campaign speech, Mr. Strickland said “the example of Jesus” had led him into public service. He has made words from the prophet Micah a touchstone of his campaign.

Ohio, where a groundswell of conservative Christian support helped push President Bush to re-election two years ago, has become the leading edge of national Democratic efforts to win over religious voters, including evangelicals.

Explaining his hope to win conservative Christian votes, Mr. Strickland said, “I try to make a distinction between the religious right — people who have a conservative theological perspective — and the political religious right, who seem to have as their primary motivation political influence.”

If elected to the Senate a guy like Mr. Strickland (it'is actually Sherrod Brown running for the Senaste and Strickland for Governor) would at least get six years before having to explain to evangelicals that he consistently voted for abortion and gay rights--what's someone like Mr. Shuler supposed to do when he'd have to run again in just two years with Hillary already acting as a drag at the top of the ticket?

The Elephant in the Room (ANNE E. KORNBLUT, 10/29/06, NY Times)

FOR years, Sheri Langham looked at the Republican politics of her parents as a tolerable quirk, one she could roll her eyes at and turn away from when the disagreements grew a bit deep.

But earlier this year, Ms. Langham, 37, an ardent Democrat, found herself suddenly unable even to speak to her 65-year-old mother, a retiree in Arizona who, as an enthusiastic supporter of President Bush, “became the face of the enemy,” she said.

“Things were getting to me, and it became such a moral litmus test that all I could think about was, ‘How can she support these people?’ ” said Ms. Langham, a stay-at-home mother in suburban Virginia.

The mother and daughter had been close, but suddenly they stopped talking and exchanging e-mail messages. The freeze lasted almost a month.

“Finally, it hit me that if one of us got hit by a bus tomorrow, I don’t want my final thought to be, ‘She supports George Bush,’ ” Ms. Langham said. They resumed contact, but have agreed not to discuss the administration and the war, or even forward each other humorous political e-mail messages.

Imagine the psychic dislocation as your own party moves Right and you become your own enemy?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2006 8:52 AM

That's when we'll start hearing more squawking about how "We need a third party!" and "Government funds for crackpot candidates!" and that kind of thing. In the 90's that was a common cry from the fringe left. Then, in 2000, when Saint Ralph all but handed the election to Bush, the entire Democratic party went nuts so most of the fringe types found a home there. If the Democrats swing right again, watch the moonbats go back to the Green Party or the Progressives or whoever.
Actually, the same deal happened to the GOP in the 50's, 60's and 70's when even the Republican presidents were pretty liberal and we saw the rise of conservative third parties. None of them ever go anywhere but it helps to keep the real loo-loos segregated.

Posted by: Bryan at October 31, 2006 10:44 AM

Given the 98% reelection rate for incumbents the Dems figure (and GOPers too) that once in they are safe barring a scandal or national party meltdown.

Posted by: AWW at October 31, 2006 11:24 AM

Ted Strickland can be depended upon to march in lockstep with the Party of Death--the "biblical principles" bit is something his consultants and handlers dreamed up. It's also one of the more vile political lies I've ever heard.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 31, 2006 11:29 AM

Strickland is running for Governor, not US Senator.

Posted by: Bob at October 31, 2006 11:42 AM

> like opposition to abortion rights.

Pop quiz: Can you spot the superfluous word?

Posted by: Guy T. at October 31, 2006 11:59 AM

Shuler a "retired" NFL quarterback? More like "failed" NFL quarterback

Posted by: Fugate at October 31, 2006 1:11 PM

Strickland's comments to the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Attitudes about a woman’s right to choose and embracing an attitude that a woman should not be able to choose an abortion even to save her life is so far out of the mainstream. All of these things paint a picture of Ohio, I think nationally and perhaps even internationally, as a backward state."

Nice Biblical values you got there, Ted.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 31, 2006 2:09 PM

The lady who hates her mother because of politics should try prayer to help her turn away from fanaticism.

Join with me in giving thanks for the grace of temptation successfully resisted. I had occasion yesterday to park my huge SUV, duly equipped with massive bumper guards, behind a Mitsubishi bearing the bumper sticker, "I'd Rather be Smashing Imperialism."

Wretched man, I formed the wicked intention to smash something other than imperialism with my pointed, tusk-like guards over-riding tovarisch's bumper. By the same help which liberated the President from alcoholism, I was able to preserve my conscionce. Deo gratias.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 2, 2006 11:52 AM