Nov 09 2009

2010: Rise Of The Centrist Independents

Published by at 9:06 am under 2010 Elections,All General Discussions

Some good recaps out today on what happened Tuesday and what will likely happen next November. First a good recap from Stuart Rothenberg:

What were some of the mistakes and mischaracterizations during the campaigns and after the voting?

One of the worst, I thought, was the widespread characterization of Dede Scozzafava, the Republican nominee in New York’s 23rd district, as a moderate. I realize that those of us in the media use that term to distinguish certain Republicans and Democrats from their more ideologically consistent colleagues, but in this case, the label was inappropriate.

Scozzafava doesn’t only support abortion rights – often a marker for Republican “moderates” – she supports gay marriage. But she doesn’t only support gay marriage; she supported President Barack Obama’s stimulus proposal that not a single House Republican favored. But she didn’t just support the stimulus package; she supports the Employee Free Choice Act (what opponents call “card check”), which is opposed by virtually the entire business community. And in the end, of course, she endorsed the Democrat in the race.

Scozzafava is a liberal Republican by any standard, and she should have been labeled as such. She is more liberal than every Republican in the House of Representatives and many Democrats.

Absolutely. There was no civil war (yet) because no one from the left of center to the far right would have called Scozzafava a ‘conservative’. I have said it many times, the party elites in that district screwed up (and should be replaced ASAP). Rothenberg nails some loser pollsters as well.

Second is Clive Crook from the Financial Times:

Here is the disturbing part: watching administration officials shovel this nonsense, one begins to wonder if they believe it. If they do, and keep it up, they are asking for a drubbing in 2010 that will do for Mr Obama’s agenda what the wipe-out of 1994 did for Bill Clinton’s.

Last week’s elections went badly for the Democrats. New York was the outlier – unless Democrats expect their opponents to field two warring candidates in every seat. The Republican party is leaderless and incompetent, but not insane – and not, by the way, as divided as the Democrats. For the Republicans the New York loss was salutary, and the lesson inescapable: unite or lose.

The lesson for the Democrats was almost as clear, but their learning disability is more severe. The centre of the US electorate – loosely attached Democratic voters, self-declared independents and loosely attached Republican voters – decides elections.

Last year this centre elected Mr Obama and put Democrats in charge of both houses of Congress. This year it is switching sides in an unusually abrupt way. Polls have been saying this since the summer and the elections confirmed it. Independents voted against Democratic candidates two to one.

But the Democrats should be worried about what voters think of them right now. The lesson for Mr Obama and his party is simple: listen to the centre. They are not listening. They appear to be stone-deaf.

During his campaign, in effect, Mr Obama promised to be the constraint: to oversee Congress and guide it with a moderating hand. That was the difference he promised to make. There were always going to be limits to what he could do, but his failure so far even to try has been total.

He has let nearly every agenda be set by the Democrats’ left-leaning congressional leadership. This comes in a country in which 40 per cent of voters call themselves conservatives, 36 per cent moderates and 20 per cent liberals.

If it is important to stop the liberal madness in DC and save our country from financial ruin, then conservatives will need to learn to respect diversity and a broad coalition and work towards common ground solutions. Bickering will leave the liberals to run amok, and everyone will be blamed if that is what finally transpires and brings down this great nation.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “2010: Rise Of The Centrist Independents”

  1. Rick C says:

    I was particularly impressed with Clive Crook saying:

    “During his campaign, in effect, Mr Obama promised to be the constraint: to oversee Congress and guide it with a moderating hand. That was the difference he promised to make. There were always going to be limits to what he could do, but his failure so far even to try has been total”

    This is the debate I constantly have with liberals. They claim that it was well known that Obama would take over the health care system. My argument is that he hid that desire quite well. In fact, if the stimulus, projected deficits, takeover of GM and Chrysler, the pay czar, the cap and trade, and the health care bills had been known during the campaign, Obama would have been overwhelmingly defeated.

    But now, it does not matter what Obama believes or does not believe. He has been defined by what Pelosi believes. Only a 98 pound weakling President would have let that happen.


  2. Frogg1 says:

    Why right-of-center candidates are succeeding in the age of Obama.


    Around the country, the party seems to be regaining its balance. Last Tuesday’s election results were an extraordinary boost for Republicans. They showed that it is not necessary to run away from the party’s conservative brand to win elections. On the contrary, Republicans running as Republicans seem to succeed in the age of Obama, and to attract independent voters in droves.

    Rather than a civil war, we appear to be witnessing the beginnings of a significant Republican revival. The Grand Old Party is finding its footing again in Congress and the states, and behind the scenes there is a growing intellectual effort to develop the next conservative agenda……seeking to apply conservative principles to the enormous problems of the moment—not only will help Republicans speak more effectively to middle-class voters, but will also help the party’s conservatives and moderates hone their common voice. Issue by issue, it turns out they don’t disagree all that much.

  3. Frogg1 says:

    Rasmussen: 58% of Voters Believe Next President Will Be Republican

  4. ivehadit says:

    Stuart was saying exactly what we were saying: dede is a liberal. And does not believe in very much of what we, as republicans, believe. A rose is a rose, as they say. Bottomline, conservatives took action to expose this farce, imho, and I am glad they did. The New York republicans (and Newt G.) made a very big mistake. And for Hoffman to do as well as he did in such a short time with MOUNDS of money from both parties against him is remarkable, imho.

  5. Terrye says:


    I don’t balme Newt so much as I do the locals. The national party was pretty much stuck once the locals picked Dede. That should be a lesson to the party to check these people out before {rather than after} they get the nomination.

    All in all, NY23 was an anomaly. I hope.

    I do think that the Virginia race might be a good guide to Republicans in the upcoming elections as to how to reach out to voters. It is not necessary to run away from their conservative credentials, but it is also not necessary to stress social issues when there is such a need for fiscal conservatism right now.

  6. BarbaraS says:

    I think NY23 was lost because independents and most republicans are leery of third parties. The two major parties are well known entities, a third party conservative party is unknown. The platform is unknown and what the party stands for is unknown. Also the backers are unknown. This is why I don’t like to hear about a third party or Sarah Palin running on a third party. Her fans would vote for her but not enough to elect her and the dems would stay in office. We would have Ross Perot moments again.

  7. ivehadit says:

    Agree, Terrye and Barbara. 🙂