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NYT: Moderate GOP Is Elated At Dem Majority

From the former newspaper now DNC newsletter the New York Times:

Democrats’ Rise Has Pluses, Say G.O.P. Centrists

By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ

April 7, 2007

WASHINGTON, April 6 — If the Democratic ascendance on Capitol Hill was supposed to usher in dark days for Republicans, it is hard to tell from talking to moderate ones like Mike Ferguson, who represents a suburban district in central New Jersey.

As the new Democrat-led House rushed to complete its business before adjourning for spring break this week, Representative Ferguson was marveling at the many bills that had been passed in Congress’s first 100 days, including one that would make it easier for unions to organize and another that would increase the minimum wage.

“Under the Republican majority, those bills would have never gotten to the floor,” he explained before heading back to his district. “Now they have been brought to the floor, and I’ve voted for them.”

Mr. Ferguson’s enthusiasm captures a peculiar political reality in the Capitol: many Republicans from swing districts in the Northeast are finding that life under Democratic rule has its advantages.

During the 12 years that Republicans controlled the House, moderate Republicans were the stepchildren of their party, expected to vote with their conservative leadership on crucial issues, even if it meant taking positions that could anger centrist voters back home…

Since taking control of the House in January, Democrats have pushed through bills that would raise the federal minimum wage, overturn President Bush’s restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, cut interest rates on college loans and implement Sept. 11 commission security recommendations.

Many moderate Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting those measures, including Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, who won his own re-election campaign with 51 percent of the vote.

Democrats basically grabbed the center and ran with it politically,” Mr. Shays said, adding that he would continue working with the Democrats provided they did not veer from the political center…

In a measure of how competitive the Northeast could be next year, White House political strategists have put together a list of vulnerable House Republicans that includes five from the region: Mr. Shays, Mr. Ferguson, Representatives John Randy Kuhl Jr. from New York’s Southern Tier, James T. Walsh from the Syracuse region and Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania.

The list was obtained and circulated by Congressional Democrats, who are making plans to single out Northeastern Republicans for defeat in 2008, in the hopes of completing what many in their party see as an inevitable Democratic realignment in the region…

The situation is a far cry from previous Congresses, when the Republican leadership squelched internal divisions and passed bill after bill on party-line votes, including budget cuts to popular programs. The leadership also pushed ideologically freighted legislation that had little chance of becoming law

But by and large, Mr. Shays said, leaders of his party are giving members greater leeway to pursue divergent views more assertively.

You don’t have a Tom DeLay coming in with an ideology,” he said, referring to the former Republican majority leader whose tight control over rank-and-file members of the House earned him the nickname the Hammer.

“They’re picking their battles,” Mr. Shays continued. “Leaders are not trying to push their own individual agenda or their own individual ideology.” …

Even for the New York Times the bias here is outrageous. It is the world through the looking glass.

Representative Ferguson was marveling at the many bills that had been passed in Congress’s first 100 days, including one that would make it easier for unions to organize and another that would increase the minimum wage.

Those would be the only two bills “passed” by Congress in the first 100 days.

During the 12 years that Republicans controlled the House, moderate Republicans were the stepchildren of their party.

Yes, we saw that with the draconian budget cuts and all the other conservative issues that were rammed through Congress over the last 12 years.

“Democrats basically grabbed the center and ran with it politically,” Mr. Shays said…

Yes, everyone is talking about how centrist the Democrats are. Even Hamas says they are moderates.

What a joke it is to portray Chris Shays as the spokesman for Congressional Republicans. He is about as much of a Republican as Nancy Pelosi is.

And note that even the article reports that despite all of this new found comity the Democrats are going after Shays and the other GOP “moderates” from the Northeast all the more.

Hopefully Mr. Shays sees that as another “plus.”

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, April 7th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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