The New Congress

THE NEW CONGRESS….Did Democrats win last week by running a bunch of conservative candidates? I think Michael Tomasky gets things just about right in his LA Times piece today:

In fact, of the 27 Democratic candidates for the House who won outright Tuesday, only five can truly be called social conservatives. Far more are pro-choice, against the Iraq war and quite liberal.

….So the experts got it wrong again, which is really not so surprising given that what happened last week was quite nuanced. The Democrats moved to the center and to the left at the same time. In doing so, they became more like the hegemonic Democratic Party of old. And if, in 2008, it turns out that last week did in fact usher in an era of Democratic resurgence, it will be precisely because the party managed to sustain this left-center coalition and render the distinctions between the two groups less important.

There were some socially rightish candidates who won on Tuesday, but their numbers were pretty small and it’s unlikely that Democrats are going to focus much on social issues anyway in the upcoming congressional session. Instead, they’re going to focus mostly on the Iraq war and on economic issues, where there’s a considerable amount of common ground among all Democrats, new and old.

There’s a lot of talk about “interest groups” all demanding their due now that the election is over, but I doubt very much that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are going to allow them to dominate the agenda. Expect a full plate of technocratic populism and foreign policy oversight instead.

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