Before I drown my optimism in a bucket of fresh despair each day, I imagine an imminent “Great Switcheroo” in which liberals’ preoccupation with blasting the Republicans distracts them from obstructing social conservative advances within their own party stronghold.
With the recent victories of several socially conservative Democrats, I find a modicum of maintainable hope in that scenario.
As others have noted, social conservatives comprise one of the least discredited factions of the George W. Bush coalition. As Democrats find richer targets in Republican blunders involving foreign policy and corporate favoritism, their change in priorities may temper their ire towards social conservatives.
Some are taking notice of the small but real progress of these “retro” socially conservative Democrats.
Over at Vox Nova, Policratus ponders rumors of pro-life Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson as an Obama pick for vice-president.
Taki Mag’s Richard Spencer is boosting South Carolina Senate candidate Bob Conley, calling him a “Ron Paul Democrat.”
Paleocons last swooned over a Democrat during Sen. Jim Webb’s Virginia campaign for the Senate, being deflated when Webb proved less friendly to their positions than their wishful thinking had declared. Conley seems more worthy of their support, but it is odd that a member of a group generally dedicated to place and rootedness is cheering on an Indiana transplant to the South. Didn’t some paleocons ridicule the California-born George Allen for cheering the Bonnie Blue Flag and his other Southerner posturings?
Conley himself talks the talk:
“There’s a big myth out there that there aren’t pro-life Democrats. In the South generally, but especially in the state of South Carolina, you can’t go out and attack traditional Christian values, traditional Christian morals and expect to carry the day.”
However, some Democrats’ reaction to Conley’s primary victory ought give pause.
Note this analysis at Daily Kos:
What's interesting about this is that these candidates are not in the Blue Dog mold. They are definitely not in the New Democrat mold. They take pieces from each faction of the Democratic Party and some from the Republican Party. If enough of them are elected they will probably form their own unique caucus.
They are capable of creating a great amount of mischief, particularly if they form an essential part of our working majority. But if they are essentially padding to a center-left immigrant-women-gay friendly working majority, they will probably be a net plus because of their economic populism and anti-imperialism stances. On many issues they will be better allies to the Progressives than either the Blue Dogs or the New Democrats. And they'll provide much needed cover for Progressives on issues like free trade, national security, and the Drug Wars.
“Padding,” in this case, isn’t a comforting description. Perhaps pro-life Democrats need a sound strategy for moving from inconsequential to valued to indispensible to dominant. Certainly they need more warm bodies first.