The False Conventional Wisdom

With any big political event, the media talking heads tend to quickly settle on a single narrative– the conventional wisdom.  Quite often, the media is dead wrong.  In the case of the Democrats' huge victory, this false conventional wisdom is that they owe their gains to running very conservative challengers.  Ezra Klein nicely debunks this CW here:

But the conservative election meme is a myth…

More tellingly, every Democrat
elected supports raising the minimum wage. They all support stem cell
research. Only nine describe themselves as pro-life. And the most
conservative Democrats, mainly those running in the South, largely went
down to defeat. In Tennessee, Harold Ford, whose campaign focused on
his church-going ways and conservative values, lost. Jim Webb is up by
a few thousand votes. Meanwhile, unabashed progressives like Sherrod
Brown, Ben Cardin, Sheldon Whitehouse, and former socialist Bernie
Sanders cruised to victory. As Tom Schaller has noted, the flip-rate in
the South was a meager five percent. The real transformations came in
the liberal Northeast, where a slew of not-quite-left-enough
Republicans were felled by a phalanx of progressive candidates, and the
Rust Belt, where economic populists took out a series of traditional
conservatives.

So from whence comes the spin? As
is often the case, the press has simply become infatuated with a single
candidate and blown his appeal into some sort of definitional
philosophy. This year?s lucky posterboy is Heath Shuler, running in
North Carolina?s 11th. Shuler?s a pro-life, God-fearing, family-loving,
former Redskins quarterback who won?t publicly commit himself to voting
for Nancy Pelosi as speaker.

Klein goes on to explain that on economic issues, Shuler is pretty much as liberal as they get.  And quite importantly, and something the media just does not seem to get…

Given that a Democratic Congress isn?t likely to
bring too many anti-abortion or gay marriage bills to the floor,
they?ll have precious little opportunity to exercise their social
conservatism. Their economic beliefs, however, will get much more play
in a Congress aching to, at long last, turn its attention to health
care, jobs, inequality, corporate regulation, and all the other
domestic issues Democrats so love to address.

I've heard several commentators talking about Bush working with these conservative Democrats.  Those commentators only exhibit their cluelessness.  The Democrats control the agenda in both houses now.  They have no interest at all in putting forward divisive social issues and as the minority party, Republicans have lost their power to do so. 

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