Monday, August 20, 2007
A Lesson from Virginia
In the '70s, independents started aligning with the GOP. In the '80s, a slew of conservative Democrats (led by now former Sen. Chuck Robb) wooed them back. The '90s saw the Republicans take advantage of the Democrats moving slightly too far left to win four out of five major races. Now the Democrats are on their own winning streak, thanks to putting on a more practical governing face and a Republican Party that's lost touch with the independents.Michigan Democrats could learn a great deal from the Virginia political landscape as detailed by NBC news analyst Chuck Todd in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.
The lesson for Michigan Democrats is two-fold: First, recognize the political importance of the independent voter in deciding the outcome of elections. I argue that the independent voter will be especially relevant in the 2008 election because the Republican Party has taken such polarizing positions on critical issues such as stem-cell research, the war in Iraq, the environment and health care. Second, the Democratic Party in Michigan must remember that its candidates for office represent a “practical governing face” and not a partisan governing face.
At this early stage of the political discussion for 2008 it is clear there is a real swing toward Democratic candidates. With this swing will come pressure on candidates to accept the entire platform of the Democratic Party and then present him/herself as the “best Democrat” among the candidates. This tendency will prove a dangerous position for a would-be Democratic nominee in 7th Congressional District of Michigan.
For a number of years now, the 7th has been viewed as a staunchly conservative district and that is simply untrue. A general election victory is only achievable with broad voter appeal. In general elections, the majority of voters look to the candidate and the qualities he brings to the office and do not simply vote for someone based on their political affiliation. There is something to be said for cross-over appeal.
Mr. Todd offers up Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia as an example of an elected official who has never failed to appeal to his district’s independent voters.
What's fascinating is that from a 30-year perspective, Mr. Warner hasn't lost touch with Virginia ideologically. The two parties ebbed and flowed past him, while he's continued to appeal to independent voters. Over the past four decades, they've traded dominance in statewide elections, with one party or the other winning three or four major races in a row. In this state, each party has been able to hold the upper hand, through the support of independent voters, for about a decade at a time.The Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional seat must follow a mold similar to Senator Warner if the party wishes to win and maintain this seat. The candidate should be intelligent, secure in his/her convictions, possess an understanding of his entire district and not be beholden to a rigid party platform. More importantly, we must have a candidate capable of appealing to the independent voters. Some of these independent voters have always been fiercely independent. However, in 2008 many independent voters will be moderate Republicans disgusted with the direction their party has taken of late. These newly independent voters will not be comfortable supporting an anointed partisan who fails to understand the broad spectrum of political issues that are important to them.
Yo Fitzy,Post a Comment
This is something interesting I ran across today. Mike Huckabee is a very conservative republican running for president. Very few inside Michigan have even heard of him. He placed well in the recent Iowa straw poll and was also a fairly successful governor in Arkansas. (Not a bad launching pad...)
Anyway, here is a very interesting quote, keeping in mind our Congressman is totally opposed to comprehensive immigration reform, was supported in his primary election by the Minutemen, and has a history of questionable comments on race:
"Huckabee, who supports guest worker programs and is not an immigration hard-liner, said he believes opposition to comprehensive immigration reform is 'irrational in many cases.' And he did not discount the causative factor of racism.
"If I were to say that some of it is driven by just sheer racism, I think I would be telling you the truth. I've had conversations with people that and it became very evident that what they really didn't like was that people didn't look like them, didn't talk like them, didn't celebrate ht holidays like they do, and they just had a problem with it. Now, that is not to say that everyone who is really fired out about immigration is racist. They're not."
Huckabee qualifies his claim at the end there, and I guess Walberg may not be an overt racist, but he has demonstrated in the past that he is intolerant of other religions, gays, women controlling their reproductive rights, etc. etc., etc...
I am intolerant of very few things, but racism is definitly one of them. And I am also intolerant of politicans who use these underhanded racist tactics to win elections. Tim Walberg is just such a politican and I pray for his soul.
For reference, I found the link here:
and the Hotline article is online here:
Both are great sources of info and I'd encourage everyone to keep an eye on both.
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