When Richard Mourdock beat Dick Lugar to win the Republican nomination for Senate in Indiana, the elite media were alarmed. Dick Lugar lost for many reasons. He ran a negative campaign, he had become far more liberal than his voters, he had served in the Senate since 1977. He treated his office as his birthright and the voters, even if they generally liked him, had a much better option in Mourdock. They took it.
But the media elites and pundits viewed it as a troubling development in the Republican Party. Claiming to express heartfelt concern, they told stories about how Ronald Reagan wouldn't have supported Mourdock. Dick Lugar was a magnanimous and generous statesman, they cried. All the major papers ran stories along these lines while Tea Party-types simply rolled their eyes at the "concern trolling" and moved on to helping out Mourdock's campaign. The same campaign that the magnanimous and generous statesman Dick Lugar has recently announced he won't support.
Anyway, yesterday a prominent Democrat became a Republican. Former Rep. Artur Davis announced his changed party status, explaining that the Democratic Party was too extreme to include his views any more. Sonny Bunch, taking a cue from those who concern trolled the right, turns the tables by merely changing a few words:
I mean, moderate politicians have been drummed out of the Democratic party or silenced as its leaders have played ball with the extremists throughout Obama’s term, rarely calling out their most outlandish and mendacious attacks. Artur Davis was your classic conservative Democrat, the sort of guy willing to reach across the aisle to get things done, you know? It’s sad to see him go.
The problem is, right before our eyes, American liberalism is becoming something very different from what it once was. Yet this transformation is happening by stealth because moderates are too afraid to acknowledge what all their senses tell them.
You see, I think this is part of a broader picture: the Democratic Party that’s left after this election will probably be even further off in left field, even further out of touch with the rest of the country, than before. You might say that Democrats will be a national party no more. Doomed to status as a rump in the northeast with an ally on the west coast, Democrats simply won’t be in tune with the needs of the country as a whole.
Let us think about this. Bill Clinton, who, as I recall, is not accused of being a right wing maniac, understood repeatedly that making deals on things like welfare reform and getting the deficit under control was an important part of governing. He could not get through a Democratic primary today. And Truman! Good god. Try getting that warmonger into office these days.
That is so nice of Mr. Bunch to express his genuine concern about the state of the Democratic Party. I'm sure we'll be hearing soon from all of those same pundits who worried about GOP extremism just a few short weeks ago.