In the NYT Midterm Madness blog, there is an interesting opinion piece by Thomas F. Schaller (yes, I did eventually relent and pay for Times Select) addressing some of the stranger post-election blather: The (Fictional) Triumph of the Conservative Democrats:
Two narratives have begun to emerge from the 2006 Congressional elections. The first is that Democrats didn’t win so much as Republicans lost. The second is that the Republicans who lost were beaten by a bunch of conservative Democrats.
There’s some truth to the first one: The election was a negative referendum on President Bush and the Republican Congress, specifically their mismanagement of Iraq, their ethical problems, and their inability to balance the federal budget or refrain from trying to distract Americans public with noisy wedge issues rather than provide solutions to more pressing problems.
But the second narrative is a fiction. And it is puzzling that Republicans and conservatives are the ones peddling it.
. . . Conservative talking heads usually rush to paint Democrats as a pack of tin-eared, out-of-the-mainstream liberals. That’s why it’s so surprising that some of these same voices are now cherry-picking the results in an effort to perpetuate the fiction that Republicans lost, but conservatives somehow won. It suggests that this year’s defeat so stunned the conservative movement, it lost its messaging mojo, too.
For liberal Democrats, that may be the biggest victory of all.
The Republican spin machine is sounding awfully dizzy these days. Guess they need a little while to re-adjust their political inner ear (or maybe just to get over their hangovers).
Political inner ear collage by Kathryn Cramer using appropriated images.