The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

November elections still not a big win for conservatives

The media never did seem to get over the demonstrably false meme that conservative Democrats were the big winners in November, and the GOP wasn't about to stop repeating it. The NY Times decided to comment on another favorite (and not entirely undeserved) dig at Democrats-- their fractiousness.

Of 233 Democrats who will be sworn in on Thursday, 147 — 63 percent — have been elected since Republicans won control of the House in 1994, and have never served in the majority. Those whose service predates the 1994 revolution, on the other hand, number only 86, or 37 percent. But it is this core of senior Democrats, Mr. Dingell among them, who will lead 20 of the 21 major committees and so exercise concentrated legislative power.

As noted on TAPPED, however, this article (which suggests that the 'noobs' are conservative while the old fogies are liberals) overlooks another aspect of the post-1994 timeframe.

Pre-1994, Democrats had a powerful, large, and very senior block of conservative Southerners who not only controlled votes, but headed committees and wielded seniority. And they were a sight more conservative than this year's crop of suburban freshmen. Indeed, the decline of a serious Southern bloc among House Democrats should open the path to much more progressive legislation than was ever possible when the Dixiecrats needed to be continually placated. While indeed true that some -- and some is a key qualifier there -- of the frosh are a bit to the right of, say, Dingell, they're not to his right by much, and they're not going to exercise the sort of hammerlock on the party's progressive wing that the Dixiecrats once did.

And that would be a very welcome development for this Missourian.