A week or so ago I suggested in response to Chris Bowers that there was as yet no evidence of a progressive swing in the electorate though there were "indications".
That was last week. This week we have some real live evidence. Joe Sestak beat Arlen Specter to be the Democratic Senate candidate from PA and Mark Critz won a special election to replace the deceased John Murtha in Westmoreland County. Neither was supposed to win, neither could win, according to the Usual Pundits. Right-wing ex-Pub and avid Bush Baby Specter was welcomed into the BD Democrat party primarily on the strength of a conservative-spun rumor that nobody could beat him and it was the only way to keep PA in the Dem column. Sestak, they said, was yet another Quixote-ish librul loser tilting at windmills he couldn't possibly knock over and it was a waste of time for SERIOUS PEOPLE to work for his campaign or even talk about it.
The BD/GOP is desperately trying to spin their wins as a general movement against incumbents rather than the outright rejection of conservatism they are.
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who left the Republican Party a year ago in hopes of salvaging a 30-year career, was rejected on Tuesday by Democratic primary voters, with Representative Joe Sestak winning the party's nomination on an anti-incumbent wave that is defining the midterm elections.
In a bright spot for Democrats on Tuesday, the party retained the seat of the late Representative John P. Murtha in southwestern Pennsylvania.
The outcome, in a district that Senator John F. Kerry carried for the Democrats in the 2004 presidential race and Senator John McCain for the Republicans four years later, gave Democrats confidence that they can hold off Republicans in hotly contested regions, despite the difficult political climate for them and President Obama.
It was the biggest primary day so far in the midterm election year, as voters in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Oregon selected Congressional candidates for the fall, providing fresh opportunities for Republicans and Democrats to vent their anger over the size of government, the federal budget deficit and many policies of the Obama administration.
But Mike Elk, who was born in Westmoreland County, makes a much better case that Critz won because he campaigned on more progressive policies than the corporate-owned conservative BD Democrat party has any intention of following.
While Democrats were voted out at the national level in Murtha's district, Murtha was re-elected repeatedly because he brought home defense manufacturing jobs and fought against unfair trade deals. When Murtha died, many political analysts said that no other Democrat would be able to hold onto his district. What they should have said is that no Democrat running on the national Democratic jobs platform could have won.
Instead, Democrat Mark Critz ran on a much more progressive platform of job creation through trade reform. He blasted his Republican candidate for being in favor of tax loopholes that favor companies that outsource jobs, even as the Obama Administration just this week used a lobbyist memo to claim that outsourcing created jobs. On a side note, Critz also blasted his opponent for supporting a value-added tax, something the Obama administration is also considering.
The writing has been on the wall for months. Even plain-jane corporate stooge Blanche Lincoln saw that she had to at least pretend to do something progressive or lose her election in Arkansas, thus the kabuki bill she sponsored that is already dying a quiet death and she hasn't even lost yet.
Which leads one to wonder what the Democrat party leadership is thinking. Heather Wednesday at C&L notes that despite the Democrat desire to mine the rising populism, all the bills which might actually help them win over an angry electorate are going down to defeat and a US Senator finally said on teevee that we're now living in an oligarchy. Is there a disparity here?
Not really. The Democrat leadership is simply playing the same pro-corporate-in-private/pro-consumer-in-public game that they've been playing for the last 3 years. They're just doing it under increasingly difficult circumstances and increasing pressure, not from the Pubs, who have made themselves all but irrelevant, but from inside their own party.
The Critz/Sestak wins in PA are bound to make the center and left of the party - the FDR wing - restive and rebellious. Told for decades that they have to reneg on their principles and core beliefs in order to win, they've just been handed proof that if it was ever true it's true no more. The desert sands have shifted, or perhaps it's simply that the mirage conservatives created to hide their thievery has finally melted away. Whatever. The fact seems to be that non-crazy, non-Beckian Americans - an 80+% majority - are firmly rejecting all the usual conservative tropes and running not walking toward the nearest progressive.
The Third Way conservative BD's who've turned the old FDR-Kennedy Democratic party into the kind of party George W Bush could be proud of are going to have their work cut out for them. The financial reform legislation, especially the amendments to the lame Dodd bill, are fast becoming a litmus test, and if they insist on being bankster puppets - that includes the WH - it's a test they're going to fail. In 2 years they may be just as irrelevant as their brothers and sisters in the stark staring bonkers Tea Party/GOP.
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