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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Moderation Breaking Out All Over

So what’s going on with the House Republican leadership, the hard-core conservative base probably wants to know. Are they going soft and moderate?
First we learn that House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of VA participated in a very civil discussion of health care policy with Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott, sponsored by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. According to Dana Milbank’s account of the event in the Washington Post today, it was a very tepid affair:

No talk of death panels. No complaints about illegal immigrants. Nothing about killing Grandma, no mention of socialism, nobody calling anybody a Nazi. And at no point during the 90-minute forum on health care did Cantor, or anybody else, call President Obama a liar.
The Richmond area lawmaker wouldn’t have had any trouble riling up the people in the audience, many of whom wore “Tea Party” or “9-12 Project” T-shirts. But “what use is that?” he said after the session. In fact, he came away with some advice for his colleagues: “Stop the revival stuff and let’s talk.”

I was wondering what Glenn Beck would say about that when I got an email from Richard Viguerie, the legendary hard-right organizer and scourge of all things moderate, with the subject line: “Are you kidding? Boehner says Obama Not a Socialist!” Seems that on Meet the Press Sunday, David Gregory specifically asked if the House Republican Leader thought the President was a socialist, and he finally allowed as how he didn’t think so. Boehner has in the past called Obama’s agenda “a socialist experiment,” but never mind.
As you can imagine, Viguerie’s pretty upset at this backsliding, so he’s put out a poll of his internet readership to find out whether they think Obama is a socialist, or maybe a Marxist, a traditional liberal, or even a “centrist.” He promises to pass the results on to Boehner and others when they are in. I figure it will be “Marxist” in a landslide.
Ah, can’t trust these weasely Washington Republicans. It’s probably time for another Tea Party to stiffen their spines.

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