Proving Freddie’s Point
In his discussion with Scott the other day, Freddie wrote, in a since-much-cited quote:
When conservatives argue, they say, “my position is the really conservative one.” When liberals argue, they often still say, “my position isn’t too liberal, don’t worry.”
Over at Balloon Juice today, mistermix has what could reasonably be Exhibit A1 of this phenomenon, a direct mail piece, paid for by the Democratic Governors’ Association accusing the Republican governor of Iowa (who is facing a primary challenge) of being “One of the best liberal governors the state has ever had.”
I say only “could reasonably be Exhibit A1” rather than “is Exhibit A1” because this is far from the first time that the Democratic establishment has done this sort of thing. Indeed, back in 2008, I documented a pair of Dem Party funded direct mail pieces attacking a local GOP Congressional candidate (now Congressman), Leonard Lance, as a “Trenton insider” for some liberal-ish position Lance had supposedly taken, while pumping for a third party candidate as the “Fiscal and Social Conservative.”
Perhaps providing further support for Freddie’s point (and really the point of other passionate and proud liberals/progressives/lefties): Lance won that election, and the aforementioned mail pieces that I received from the Dems ultimately clinched my vote for Lance by reinforcing that Lance is relatively liberal (by GOP standards, at least) on social issues, and far from a zealot on a lot of other issues where I may differ from the GOP. Indeed, the subliminal message it sent proved pretty crucial to me: the Dem candidate and the GOP candidate were more or less indistinguishable on issues where I think Dems are supposed to be better (ie, more libertarian or classically liberal).
I’m sure that people in plenty of other districts could document similar phenomena going back years. I’m having a hard time remembering something similar being done by the GOP establishment in the last five or six years (with the notable and obvious exception of some pro-Nader ads in the 2000 elections, which, not coincidentally came at a time when the GOP candidate was campaigning as a “compassionate conservative” as opposed to a “true conservative”).