Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Senators

Interesting things are happening in the senate. A number of moderate Republican senators are being challenged by more extreme (Bush-Frist) elements in their party. Kos reports that Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) is trying "to remain in the Republican fold," but
The Club for Growth is already threatening a primary challenger, which should be more than enough incentive for Chafee to switch. No CFG candidate would ever win a general election in ├╝ber Democratic Rhode Island.

Instead, Lincoln is begging for forgiveness to the same party that is marginalizing him (and Specter, for that matter). Has he no pride?

But if the wingers keep it up, it may be the incentive their Senate's endangered GOP moderates need to finally break their ties to the Evil Empire.

This seems a bit silly for the CFG to do since it almost ensures another Democratic senator, but whatever. And of course there is the ongoing drama of Arlen Specter (R-PA). Specter also faced a too-close-for-comfort-although-not-really-that-close race in Pennsylvania, mostly due to the very high Kerry turnout (who voted straight Democrat.)

What we saw in this years senate contests were Southern and Western states asserting themselves as conservative, culminating in the leadership beheading in South Dakota. Now we have an interesting case of moderate Republicans being bullied by the more right-wing factions of their party. Take the case of Lincoln Chafee. If he remains a Republican, he could lose his Senate seat and the Republicans would lose a seat in the Senate. If he switches, he gets to keep his seat, since Rhode Island will elect a Democrat, but the Republicans lose a seat. If he does switch, he prevents a more liberal senator from coming in. If he doesn't, he prevents a more conservative senator from being elected.

Perhaps the realignment in the Blue states will not take place through the deposing of liberal senators, but through moderate senators realizing they have little in common with the extremist party they are a part of and more in common with the liberal states that elected them.

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