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Centrist Democrats

Posted by Richard on October 27, 2006

Larry Kudlow has been talking about a "remarkable shift" taking place in the Democratic Party — a move away from the hard left orientation of recent years and toward the center. According to him, this was "under the radar" of the mainstream media until yesterday’s LA Times article on the subject.

I don’t find this news all that new or suprising. I certainly recall reading that the Dems went out of their way to recruit candidates who were veterans — maybe I just assumed that they’d be more centrist or conservative, too.

I guess I didn’t realize the extent of the shift:

As Larry Sabato pointed out on tonight’s show, there’s somewhere north of twenty moderate to conservative Democrats poised to be elected to this new Congress. This crew is pro-business, pro-life on abortion, supported by the NRA and so forth.

Get this: Over thirty of the Democratic candidates for the House are conservative enough to have been green-lighted by the Blue Dogs or the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.

If two-thirds of these more centrist Democrats actually win, I suppose that’ll be pretty remarkable, and in the long run, as Kudlow said, a "very good thing for the American people." But in the short run, those Dems will do just as the Republicans direly predict:

"They claim to be pro-life, pro-gun and anti-tax, yet their first vote in Congress would be to elect the most liberal speaker in American history," said Jonathan Collegio, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which aims to enlarge the GOP majority in the House. "In the first hundred hours they will roll back tax cuts and open investigations into the administration."

Even some centrist Democrats privately fret that the chairmen-in-waiting may be harboring pent-up desires for a robust liberal agenda and partisan investigations that could hurt the party. "There’s a desperate need for fresh blood, a general changing of the guard," said one moderate Democrat who asked not to be named.

Maybe a Democratic Party leadership that owes its narrow House majority to its most conservative members will be somewhat chastened and cautious — but recent statements by Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, and Charlie Rangel don’t inspire confidence in that possibility.

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