If the Democrats retake Congress, it will be on the backs of men like Jim Webb in Virginia, John Tester in Montana, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Larry Grant in Idaho and a goodly number of other centrist-style Democrats. The DailyKos/John Kerry/Nancy Pelosi wing of the party might be salivating at the chance to reclaim Congress, but it’s not their tired liberalism that is making this election competitive.

Those that fear a takeover by the out-of-touch left should realize that it’s not liberal candidates who are doing well. Instead, Democrats will be welcoming in junior members who are not ideological automatons and will add much needed gravity to the party’s right flank. In fact, once the leftwingers finish celebrating their victory (assuming there is a victory to celebrate), they’ll wake up and realize their party just brought in a bunch of dreaded moderates and centrists.

The left has worked hard to purge the Democrats of anything but lockstep leftists. Not only have those efforts failed, but the voters are poised to fill the party with even more centrist politicians, minimizing the leftists’ influence and authority. What will likely be a clear loss for the Republicans may ironically be the beginning of the end for the leftists as well.

This is why I can feel comfortable rooting for a Democratic victory�because, if it goes well, it could also be a centrist victory. The Democrats would be a much stronger and far more effective party if they could just turn towards the political middle. This election could put them on that path.

Cross-posted on Maverick Views.

  • Alan, Jim S. commented with regards to Steele:

    But Steele is a Republican. In 2006 that trumps all. Like the rest of his party he will talk the talk of independence from the Bush administration but in the end on most important issues he will cave into the desires of the leadership. So unless you like the agenda of the current Republican leadership voting for Steele is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    I agree with him and apply the same logic to the Democrats. Why do you think these supposed moderates are immune from the centrifugal forces of the lefty ideology in D.C., particularly when they owe their seat to them. You don’t think Chuck Shummer is going to want some payback from Casey, for example?

    They could care less about the duck hunt it took to get them there.

  • Dos, I get the point, but I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it for Steele and I don’t buy it for Casey. Sure, they will vote party-line on probably over 70% or more of votes. They aren’t running as Independents, after all. But, despite the cynicism, most elected officials do not sell out their values the second they move inside the Beltway. These new Democrats will add weight to the Democrats’ right flank which will force other Democrats to give more attention to those views. It will also alert a lot of Dems to the reality that it’s not leftists who win tough elections but centrists.

    It’s too easy to believe the Democrats are a monolithic party controlled by the leftists who will forcibly convert all these new members. That’s as wrong as assuming the Republicans are controlled by the religious right. The parties are more dynamic than that and they do change.

    I’m not saying the moment these guys get into office (assuming the win) that the Dems will be a new party. I’m just saying that they could be the first step into ending the leftists influence.

  • Paul Silver

    The more that Centrist candidates can turn to Centrist donors the less they will need to pander to extreme partisan donors. That is why I am so excited about the success of Lieberman (knock on wood), Dems for Joe, and the Organization that Bloomberg is building for this presidential run.

    A Centrist version of can help swing the close races and create a safe harbor for Moderates from either party.

  • BenG

    For years now I’ve argue the same points made here wth my xtremely right minded family at Thanksgiving dinnr, usually feeling tired and dumbfounded after it all. I surrender, at times, thinking that they just care more about it then the rest of us, and thus deserve all they’ve accomplished these past few years. Well, after waking up from my slumber, I realize that you can’t stand on ideology and conviction alone. Some people can use these traits, like religion, to obtain what they want–POWER.
    But does being independant-minded, as we like to think of ourselves, mean that we just don’t have any guaves, [balls, sorry ladies] that we are relegated to second place, ie; LOOSERS ?
    Depending on the results of Nov 7th, I [we] may have to take another look at this possibility.

  • Elrod

    Steele is a conservative Republican. Running away from Bush is disingenuous in his case. Chafee is a real centrist.

  • kos

    The “Daily Kos wing of the party” (whatever that means. I assume you’re talking about the netroots) helped recruited Webb to run and has supported him with real money and activists (he’s said as much in interviews). The “Daily Kos wing of the party” supported Jon Tester against his primary opponent and helped him not just win the primary, but helped put him in position to win the general.

    Those are *our* guys.

    The world is a little more complex than the silly caricature you’re trying to paint.

  • beyond_left

    ASC, your characterization of the mainstream of the Dem party as ultraliberal left wing kooks is a lie on its face. Polosi, Reid, Conyers, Hoyer, and the other senior Dems for better or worse are Establishment middle of the road folks. The underlying issue is how skewed the left-right playing field has become. Many moderate Republicans of 25 years ago would fit right in with mainstream Dems now, whereas the current Repiglican leadership would banish them from their party. BTW Centerist Tester would like to repeal major parts of the misnamed PATRIOT act as it infringes on civil liberties in the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Centerist Jim Webb predicted before the invasion of Iraq that it would be the complete and utter failure it has become. I bet you would characterize these stands as out of touch leftist rants. It just shows how myopic and flawed your view of politics is.


  • I wouldn’t call Sherrod Brown winning in Ohio “winning with a centrist voice”, either.

  • ChrisO

    “The left has worked hard to purge the Democrats of anything but lockstep leftists.” Please provide the names of those who have been “purged.” This is a canard that the Republicans are promoting, using the alleged “purging” of Joe Lieberman as their only example. I think Harry Reid and Hilary Clinton would be surprised to learn they’ve been “purged.”