The course of Congressional polarization

by on December 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm in Current Affairs, Political Science | Permalink

It is not just a story of conservative Republicans replacing moderates – though that has been the chief driver of America’s polarisation. Democrats are also becoming more liberal. The once powerful centrist Democratic Blue Dog coalition has nosedived from 54 members as recently 2008 to just 15 next year. The term moderate Democrat is becoming almost as rare as its counterpart. Nor is the divergence confined to ideology. The parties also look different. According to Bloomberg, the share of white male Democrats in the 113th Congress is 47 per cent – it fell below half for the first time. Meanwhile, 90 per cent of GOP lawmakers are white male.

That is from Edward Luce.

Mark Thorson December 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm

As a resident of California, I’ve seen this story before and know where it’s going.

Bill December 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm

You have to look at state legislatures which redrew congressional maps to create safe districts to understand why the polarization occurs.

Focus on challenging gerrymandering and coming up with models that identify the boundaries of communities–you will have a more diverse district and a more moderate congressperson.

I think parties also have to look how primaries are conducted in their states–by convention endorsement or popular vote–to curb some of this.

nobody important December 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Bill, that was my first thought also. I hadn’t considered the potential polarizing impact of redistricting until this article though.

DocMerlin December 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm

You can’t do it.
When you break up a gerrymander, that creates a minority-majority district, the federal judges impose it again. (as happened in Texas, twice recently). This means you have a lot of minority-majority districts and a lot of very caucasian districts.

DocMerlin December 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Furthermore, the judges won’t let us in Texas count rural hispanics as hispanics. They required that we used urban hispanics.

For the record I am a hispanic, and think the whole redistricting processes is inherently crap.

Andrew' December 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm

What! Now I can no longer evaluate your comments as nearly always good and reasonable!!!

affenkopf December 3, 2012 at 1:18 am

Because he’s rural or because he’s hispanic?

somethingblue December 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Gerrymandering is always trotted out as an explanation, but Senators are elected statewide and the Senate is just as polarized as the House.

DocMerlin December 2, 2012 at 8:40 pm
Gordon Mohr December 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm

The Senate *isn’t* as ideologically divided as the House, and has slightly lower reelection rates. (See the charts at http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/reelect.php .)

The ‘Curley effect’ is interesting and no doubt a factor as well, as people are nudged to jurisdictions more to their liking.

Still, if the two parties had as much internal regional/ideological variation as they used to, you might still acheive regional competitiveness: there’d be the California-Right and California-Left, quite different from elsewhere, but still trading elections responsively. Instead it seems in recent decades there’s been a homogenization of the national political brands, especially in the perception of regional marginal voters, removing some necessary dynamic competitiveness. (Is it national/internet media that did it? Money? Federalization of major issues? A rise of political-affiliation-as-recreation?)

Tomasz Wegrzanowski December 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Senate reelections happen every 6 years not every 2, and the chart predicts tenures in the Senate to be longer than in the House.

somethingblue December 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm

“The Senate *isn’t* as ideologically divided as the House”

Your evidence?

Here’s mine:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/03/us-senate-now-completely-polarized/49641/

Foobarista December 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm

One ironic effect of term limits in CA is it has made the local political machines basically invincible, at least in D-dominated districts. No D in CA is elected to the Assembly or State Senate without being a pawn of the government unions, so there is basically no “conservative” D’s in local politics. There is slightly more diversity on environmental stuff, but woe betide anyone not in the Central Valley attempting to question big-city environmentalist NIMBYism, especially on the D ticket.

Before term limits, legislature members could establish their own, relatively independent power bases, which meant even D’s would occasionally stand up to the unions. Since then, the only way to a political career in CA legislative world is to cultivate and do the bidding of the unions, work one’s way into the state legislature, get elected to Congress after being termed out, or if you can’t get to Congress, get a comfy job as a Sacramento lobbyist or member of one of numerous lightly-worked and highly paid state committees.

Seeing this is why I’m not a fan of term limits. They actually increase polarization.

So Much For Subtlety December 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I think people forget this is a feature not a bug. People in the 60s bemoaned parties like the Democrats that were just big agglomerations of interests in favor of ideologically distinct political parties that would offer genuine political choice. The Baby Boomers have got what they wanted.

I also think we are seeing the passing of the last coherent generation in America. The pre-Baby Boomers did not see politics as so central to their identity. Since the 1960s, politics has become more radical. However much the Isolationists objected to WW2 they did not accuse Roosevelt of being a Baby Killer. Nor did they spit on returning soldiers. Nor did they march behind pictures of Hitler calling for a Western defeat. The Baby Boomers did. As the older generation dies and the Baby Boomers assume control of politics, those politics will reflect that extremism most people first saw in Chicago.

Another factor is politics is so much more important now. When George Washington retired it really made no difference who was in office for most people. The government was simply too small and too limited to have much of an impact on most people. But now if the Feds control pretty much everything, from education to health care to pollution to the regulation of wheat production, who is in office is vital. It can mean the difference between your business being out of business or not. Everyone has to lobby. Which means everyone has to pay off someone in Washington. Which means the prizes for winning are so much higher and hence so much more worth fighting harder for. A return to a smaller government would see a return to civility.

And, of course, race is playing a much bigger role than it used to.

James December 3, 2012 at 1:05 am

I’m sorry, did you just equate the war against Nazi Germany with the war against Vietnam?

So Much For Subtlety December 3, 2012 at 2:17 am

Not really. After all, the war to give half of Europe to Stalinism was morally compromised in a way that the fight to keep South Vietnam authoritarian was not. Our allies in WW2 were such that any claim to it being a moral war was questionable. It would have been as moral to fight the Soviets in alliance with the Nazis as the other way around. Unlike Vietnam. Where it would have been vastly worse to fight the authoritarian South in alliance with the totalitarian North.

In WW2 the West saved Western Europe from Genocide. In Vietnam the West failed to save Indochina from Genocide. The failure does not change the morality of the war.

Not that I am sure how we got on to this topic.

Nigel December 3, 2012 at 5:55 am

“Not that I am sure how we got on to this topic.”

It might have something to do with your rather absurd comparison of Hi Chi Minh and Hitler, perhaps ?

So Much for Subtlety December 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I didn’t compare Ho Chi-minh to Hitler although it would have been perfectly reasonable. Stalin would be closer. But instead of doing that, perhaps we can agree that Pol Pot – also brought to power by the Western Left who took to the streets to make his victory possible – can be compared to Hitler?

Not that I did that either.

Ken December 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

XKCD has a great chart of this, http://www.xkcd.com/1127/ , using the DW-NOMINATE scores developed by Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal. In the last two decades, “center right” has disappeared in the House and shrunk in the Senate; “center left” has held roughly the same in the House and increased in the Senate.

Dismalist December 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm

The Curley Effect is new to me. Read the paper with great interest.

Still, it seems to me that a Curley Effect cannot prevail in a competitive situation. Mugabe is a bit beside the point, for localities and states in the United States are constrained. Question is whether they’re constrained enough to pay [most of] their own way. That’s where gerrymandering does it’s worst, be it at the state level, as embodied in the constitution, or at the local level, as embodied by legislatures, and now, courts. Nothing against a bit of redistribution–to the poor, please–but as long as costs can be externalized with impunity, polities will be inefficient.

Hal I December 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Although the overall takeaway of the study is probably correct, the specific statistic cited in the post about the Blue Dogs is a bit misleading. The major reason they’ve disappeared since 2008 is because Democrats have lost representation overall in the Congress, and the representation they’ve lost is in their moderate wing. I strongly suspect that if they gained any additional representation in new Congresses, they would gain in moderate districts. That isn’t to say that the fact is wrong, or not in some way illustrative, but it also has its drawbacks.

beamish December 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm

As a resident of California, I’ve seen this story before and know where it’s going.

Where is it going? Democratic supermajorities?

Dismalist December 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Down the tubes: It’s a systemic, or constitutional, failure, not a party failure as such. Any party would behave as idiotically, given the California constitution.

Mark Thorson December 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Gridlock as far as the eye can see. It can only be broken by getting rid of an entire generation of incumbents, but that isn’t going to happen. Incumbents have never been so secure.

The way polarization worked in California is that the extremes at both ends of the spectrum allied to create safe districts for each other. Polarization exists because — in its own odd sort of way — it works. It is capable of sustaining itself, like the influenza virus. Some would call influenza a successful organism. In that sense of the term, polarization is successful. Gridlock is side effect, neither relevant nor important to the survival of the organism.

Careless December 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Bio-nerding: influenza isn’t any kind of organism.

prior_approval December 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm

‘Democrats are also becoming more liberal.’

In which reality? Certainly not the one that represents today’s America, where today’s Democrats look no more ‘liberal’ than such towering Republican figures as Nixon, who created the Environmental Protection Agency, implemented wage and price controls, and who expanded Medicare, Social Security, increased funding for the NEH and NEA, after Nixon won election as the candidate of the party which had not introduced such programs.

Brian Donohue December 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Yes, thank you for reminding me of Charles Murray’s classic “Losing Ground”, specificially the chapter entitled “The money came later” which recounts the “me-too” Repbulicanism of the Nixon Administration.

What your example from 40 years ago has to do with the discussion at hand, however, eludes me.

Andrew' December 2, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I think you got the “pick the year of the pinnacle of liberalism as your baseline” from Bruce Bartlett who got it from Paul Krugman.

That still trips me out that Bruce can’t understand why Republicans have a blind hatred of PK. Maybe it’s because he never wastes an opportunity to assign evil motives to Republicans. Ya’ think? I guess I should have stopped caring about BB a while ago, but his (late to the party) dislike of GW and playing the underdog had me for a while.

rz0 December 3, 2012 at 2:22 am

I think the movement of political parties on the right-left spectrum over the last 40 years is precisely the discussion at hand.

Doug M December 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Nixon was a liberal — insofaras liberal means perfering a large central government. Small government and conservative started to come together with Goldwater, but exploded with Regan.

Also remember that the Democrats had a firm hold of the South up through the 1960′s. In many ways the R’s and the D’s have swaped.

eric December 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm

‘Democrats are also becoming more liberal.’

This may be true in a relative sense or in terms of voting patterns, but I agree with prior_approval that it’s not the case when comparing the current Democrats’ platform as compared to those of past decades.

Brian Donohue December 2, 2012 at 11:19 pm

“The era of big government is over.” Bill Clinton, former head of the Democratic Leadership Council.

Andrew' December 2, 2012 at 11:29 pm

In direction maybe but not in absolute terms. Not even really in direction, but maybe in acceleration. Once liberals get X it is hard to campaign for X. You already have it. And then they’ve had to walk back a few failed X’s. There has been no net reduction in government. Of course it has been increased. You can just look at the % of GDP. And of course they’ve desired to increase it even further. They just seem a little more realistic about doing it around the edges.

Carrol Quigley argued for ideologically similar parties so that they would be replaced for incompetence. I hate to say I tend to agree with him. All-to-often the ideology becomes a moat against competition. The only way to defeat an incumbent in a gerrymandered safe district is in the primary. And maybe the party doesn’t want you to.

BC December 3, 2012 at 1:19 am

Exactly. Clinton worked out a deal with Gingrich to privatize (at least partly) Social Security that was derailed only by the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He reached out to Paul Ryan behind the scenes to express his willingness to work with him on Medicare reform, vouchers and all, and said that now is not the time to raise tax rates, even on the wealthy. That was earlier in the year, before these became litmus-test issues for Democrats.

Therapsid December 2, 2012 at 11:23 pm

How about comparing federal and state spending on social programs in constant dollars compared to past decades.

True enough, in rhetorical terms current Dems may not appear ultra-liberal in terms of economic perspective. But federal and state budgets tell otherwise.

Phil December 3, 2012 at 12:20 am

Is the share of white male share of births 47%? Is it even close to being 47%? When was the last time it was 47%? Was it ever?

I think the reason there are no “moderate” Democrats is because somebody doesnt understand the meaning of the term.

Mark December 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

The observations are consistent with the term ‘polarization’.

The Democrats seem to be moving towards a more representative caucus while Republicans are not. This is more an indictment of the current Republican practice of living in the past and does not bode well for them in the future.

Lord December 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

If anything, Democrats are both less conservative and less liberal with a narrowing of differences, while Republicans have become reactionaries.

Steve Sailer December 3, 2012 at 12:42 am

When I got to Rice U. in the 1976, Texas had had a Democratic governor for 100 years straight because of which side Texas was on in the Civil War. After awhile, though, the Civil War stopped seeming all that relevant, so Texans finally started voting Republican.

prior_approval December 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

And here I was thinking it was mainly the southern strategy and the long view of a certain set of Republican power seekers -

‘Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964 and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”‘

Which proves, since we are a generation past that quoted explanation, that at least in American politics, racists don’t vote for parties as such, they vote for parties that exploit racism. Though probably to their horror, racists are now demonstrably in a steadily shrinking minority.

Further proof of how important the racist vote can be, regardless of party? George Wallace in 1958, after losing an election -

‘Patterson ran with the support of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization Wallace had spoken against, while Wallace was endorsed by the NAACP.[12] After the election, aide Seymore Trammell recalled Wallace saying, “Seymore, you know why I lost that governor’s race?… I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again.”

The Republicans have yet only slowly become to realise that their southern strategy is as doomed to failure as it was when it was the Democrats employing it. Lyndon Johnson having been proven better at political prediction than his Republican counterparts, and a man willing to follow principle over short term political gain – ‘Legend has it that, as he put down his pen, Johnson told an aide, “We have lost the South for a generation”, anticipating a coming backlash from Southern whites against Johnson’s Democratic Party.’

Not that racists ever go away completely, regardless of how scientifically ignorant they remain – like creationists, racists have an abiding faith in their demonstrably false beliefs to sustain them in their endless struggle to avoid reality (and like creationists, racists also have favored biblical quotes to cite – though unlike creationists, Afrikaaner racists used an Afrikaans translation instead of an English one).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater#Atwater_on_the_Southern_Strategy , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wallace#Failed_run_for_governor , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_B._Johnson#Civil_rights

So Much For Subtlety December 3, 2012 at 2:26 am

I am not sure that quote says what you think it says. The Civil Rights Act probably upset the racists in the South. But the Civil Rights era also ended race as an issue in elections. At least openly and at least among Whites. Which meant racists had a choice about what to do. Some, like Wallace, founded their own parties. Some stayed with the Democrats, like the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Kleagle Robert Byrd. Some moved to the Republican party.

But the Republican Party was never a party of racists. It was Republicans, after all, who founded the NAACP. The Democrats were the KKK in suits. Nor did Reagan reintroduce race into the discourse of the Republican Party. Instead, I think a better explanation is a simpler one, Whites gave up racism. They then looked to what appealled to them the next most after that vanished racism. The Republicans ran on patriotism and anti-crime bills, a dislike of distant Washington and indifferent bureaucracy. All issues that played well in the South. It may be that they used dog whistles so high that no one could hear them, but that is irrelevant as no one could hear them. Occam’s Razor says to take the simplest explanation – race died as an issue among Whites with Martin Luther King. Southern Whites voted for the Republicans for entirely different and reasonable reasons.

Racism is demonstrably false? Do tell. All the scientific evidence suggests racial differences in things like IQ tests. IQ tests are excellent predictors of academic performance. I refuse to accept that there are racial differences in intelligence, but at least I know enough to know that the evidence strongly suggests otherwise. What evidence do you have to the contrary?

shrikanthk December 3, 2012 at 5:45 am

Racism may not explain IQ differences.
But race can explain difference in economic outcomes. This is because people (for no fault of theirs) have histories.
And these histories (of the past 400-500 years) impact lots of variables that determine economic performance. Variables such as work ethic, respect for law, religiosity, attitude towards new ideas, familial cohesion, willingness to conform, intellectual inclinations among other things.

shrikanthk December 3, 2012 at 5:46 am

Sorry…my first line should read “Race may not explain IQ differences”

Engineer December 3, 2012 at 3:54 am

Democrats are also becoming more liberal.

What does that even mean?

Really what’s happening is that the Democrats are becoming more statist and more “identity politics”-oriented.

shrikanthk December 3, 2012 at 5:40 am

Well phrased

prior_approval December 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

More statist than Nixonian wage and price controls? Really?

shrikanthk December 3, 2012 at 8:59 am

Nixonian wage and price controls were a product of a different era.
That was an age before the Friedman orthodoxies concerning inflation were widely accepted by the economics profession.
An era when Philips curve was still sacrosanct. An era anterior to Lucas and his “rational expectations” revolution.

What makes the Democratic party leftist today is that the economics profession has moved to the right (backed by science) while Democratic politics has remained where it was (or maybe moved marginally to the right). So in relative terms, the politics of the Democratic party is now more left-wing than it was in the 70s.

Engineer December 3, 2012 at 9:05 am

Me: Democrats are becoming more statist and more “identity politics”-oriented

p_a:: More statist than Nixonian wage and price controls?

Who said anything about Nixon (or FDR or Wilson or anyone else …) ? Your response is a non-sequitur..

shrikanthk December 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

By the way, there’s nothing “statist” about Nixonian price controls.
Those controls were an attempt to fix something that required an altogether different fix.
It was public policy motivated by emotion and bad science.

Engineer December 3, 2012 at 9:35 am

The price controls were an instance of govt heavy handedly interfering in the operation of the economy and on personal behaviour. Very statist. Also a good illustration of how statism is wrong-headed.

shrikanthk December 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

Well I define “statism” as a dogged preference for status-quo.
Price controls weren’t that.
Ofcourse I don’t approve of price controls as you may have guessed.
It’s just that I don’t like the use of word “statist” to describe them the way prior_approval does.

Engineer December 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

No. Statism means “power to the state”.

mulp December 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Can war be “free market”, or whatever is the opposite of “statist”.

In 1970, Nixon unilaterally acted in several realms with significant implications for global peace in the cold war standoff. Floating the dollar. Expanding the war. and US oil production peaked sharply, perhaps in response to tax cuts ending the tax shelter benefits of drill baby drill which had resulted in about a 100,000 wells drilled per year for two decades.

Should an economy have prices go wild under threats of war? Do resources get allocated better when prices are fluctuating wildly in response to the daily news? If the price of gasoline doubles, should the military spending on fuel double, and with it, either taxes or additions to debt? Do the higher prices actually result in better resource allocation under such conditions? If war needs fuel, then taxes should rise to pay any price to get all the fuel needed for war? Or should higher fuel prices signal fighting the war slower?

Squarely Rooted December 3, 2012 at 6:47 am

“The once powerful centrist Democratic Blue Dog coalition has nosedived from 54 members as recently 2008 to just 15 next year.”

Has Mr. Luce been in cryogenic storage since 2008? Something happened in 2010 that involved a lot of moderate/centrist/conservative Democrats losing their seats in Congress.

I assure you, should the Democrats take back the House in any of the next few elections the vast majority of the 17+ new members elected will be Blue Dogs or the equivalent thereof.

Amazing the pains individuals will go to draw equivalences in this area. Here is a nice parallel – in 2010 and 2012, Republican failure to nominate moderate/non-absurd Senate candidates cost them many winnable seats; in West Virginia, by contrast, Democrats won and kept a Senate seat in a rapidly “redding” state by nominating someone who wouldn’t even endorse the Democratic nominee for president and literally shot major legislation passed by the Democratic House: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/11/joe-manchin-ad-dead-aim_n_758457.html

mrmandias@gmail.com December 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm

In 2012, moderate Republican candidates also lost winnable seats.

J. December 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

Republican led redistricting is part of the reason there are fewer white male democrats.

Via Salon, 2003:

In May, the Denver Post reported on GOP attack dog Grover Norquist’s strategy, saying, “The GOP can live with urban liberals, such as [California Rep. Maxine] Waters; it’s moderates such as [Texas Democratic Rep. Charlie] Stenholm who are its main target.” If the Texas redistricting plan is adopted, Norquist was quoted saying, “it is exactly the Stenholms of the world who will disappear, the moderate Democrats. They will go so that no Texan need grow up thinking that being a Democrat is acceptable behavior.”

For those attuned to the signals, Norquist’s message was clear — redistricting would drive Southern whites out of the Democratic Party. In July, he went further, telling the New York Times that Sheila Jackson-Lee, a African-American congresswoman from Texas, “will be the spokesman for the Democratic Party.”

http://www.salon.com/2003/09/03/texas_18/

Michael December 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

That’s right, because Democrats never lead redistricting.

King Cynic December 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

Oh noes! White males have gone from extremely over-represented in the Democratic caucus to just somewhat over-represented. THEY’RE ALL A BUNCH OF EXTREMISTS!

TheAJ December 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

You make it sound like the Blue Dogs were cleansed by lefty Dems – most of them lost re elections to right-wingers. On the other hand, the moderate Republicans were defeated in the primaries by Sharon Angles and CHristine O’Donnells.

Doug M December 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I have a couple thoughts on the source of this polarization.

One is the prolifferation of media…Talk Radio, Cable TV, and internet encourage each channel to take an ever narrower point of view, and has created some back flow leading the mainstream news outlets to take a more overtly baised stance on issues.

The other is Carl Rove — it didn’t start with Rove, but politicians seem to be more frequently trying to drive wedge issues, which make the fractures in the system become more apparent.

Lastly, Obama is tone deaf. Traditionally, the president stays above the fray, and his underlyings do the mud slinging. This allows the President to appear statesmanlike and draw the sides together for a compromize. But this President is frequently leading the attack, down in the mud, and fails to leave open a door for compromise. I am not trying to give the Republican leadership a pass, but we expect the President to be the bigger man.

mulp December 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I know you think it is a personal attack by Obama to relentlessly campaign on Republicans voting to hike tax rates.

But Grover Norquist keeps saying the pledge is not about him, but We the People. So, Obama telling We the People that a pledge to We the People to never use the first enumerated power of Congress is hardly mudslinging.

Grover Norquist has been arguing for over a quarter century that the decision to write the Constitution was wrong, that the Articles of Confederation, and Rhode Island totally embracing the Norquist pledge to never raise taxes was the best time in American history 1786. Grid lock and debt then were Norquist’s ideal Congress.

Becky Hargrove December 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Allen Boyd, a long-time Blue Dog from Florida, finally lost his spot in 2010. I had the good fortune of taking minutes in meetings he attended, some twenty-five years ago.

mulp December 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm

If the Democrats have “moved left”, where are the
Bill Moyers (JFK, LBJ)
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Senate)
RFK
Ted Kennedy
LBJ, Texas Democrat that was behind the most revolutionary year of legislation: 1965
George McGovern
Eugene McCarthy
Hubert Humphrey
Walter Mondale
Mike Mansfield
Gaylord Nelson

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