Democrats liked the GOP’s strategy for 2009 so much that MSNBC started borrowing it as soon as election results trickled in.
Conservatives have argued the GOP needs to go back to core principles and stop electing so-called moderates who really don’t stand for anything. (Note: people seem to think moderate and common sense are synonymous — they’re not.) For this, the party has been mocked by MSNBC.
Keith Olbermann began his show election night with a clip of Robert Gibbs saying the GOP, after Scozzafava dropped out, was sending a signal that ‘moderates need not apply.’ Olbermann also asked one of his guests if it’s “official now” that moderates are under siege in the GOP.
Yet at the same time MSNBC tried to make the GOP out as a country club of rednecks clinging to God & guns, Olbermann and guest Howard Fineman decided Democrat Creigh Deeds lost in Virginia because he was — you guessed it — too moderate.
This exchange summed up MSNBC’s hypocrisy on election night:
OLBERMANN: In Virginia, with the Republican leading pretty much that entire race, the Democrat in this case ran to the middle, if not necessarily to the right. If you are among those who believe that the blue dogs or Senator Snowe should be heeded on health care, shouldn‘t the loss by Creigh Deeds tonight, the expected loss, the projected loss, frighten you that maybe, you know, running to the middle as a Democrat might not really be a very good idea at all, let alone the safest path?
FINEMAN: Yes. I think that’s a fair interpretation, Keith. And I think Creigh Deeds, who is from a rural southern part of Virginia, in the old days, would have been a good Democratic candidate for Virginia. But things have changed. Barack Obama changed the ball game in Virginia. He won that state with a huge turn out of new voters, young voters, African-American voters and so forth with a more progressive agenda.
Deeds ran away from most of the campaign from Obama, and frankly, Obama stayed away from him. That‘s probably not where the Democrats are going to need to go.
So it actually sounds like there’s not a lot of room for Blue Dogs — i.e. ‘moderates — in the Democrat party. Frankly, that’s the signal Democrats have been sending moderates in their party for years. Look at the people holding the reins in the Democrat Party today — Pelosi, Reid, Obama. There isn’t a moderate among them. Democrats should be scared that Republicans are beginning to realize the formula for success: moderates don’t win elections because they don’t inspire anyone to come out and vote.
So is this going to be the battle cry for MSNBC come 2010? It’s not safe to veer from President Obama, whose policies are anything but moderate.
If you listened to Rachel Maddow, you heard the NY-23 race was “a fascinating window into the internal struggle that will define what the post-Bush, post-McCain Republican Party really is.” Yet there was little about how the Deeds/ Obama spat showed a Democratic party in turmoil with itself, too.
The GOP isn’t the only party looking for an identity. Democrats have to decide if there’s room in their party for ‘moderates’ like Deeds, or if everyone has to toe Barack Obama’s line. Meanwhile, Olbermann has already cleared the table and shoved moderates out the door.
For MSNBC, no moderates need apply.