With all the leaves down and the first winter blast (such as it is here in the Piedmont) coming in, I was just thinking back to those days of autumn past–you know, three weeks ago–when the meme was all about the Blue Dogs and how they were going to rebel and how Heath Shuler represented that conservative Democrat tide.
Of course, that was all just smoke blowing out of Candy Crowley’s rear, but it’s still being repeated as if it were true. If television would have actually covered the election instead of memeing it to death, it might have noted that Shuler, like Webb, is an economic populist with heavy union backing. Yup, the Blue Dogs, who are actual Democrats, gave him $10k, but that doesn’t make him a sudden friend of the conservative elites. Check out his contributions database. Not a lot of conservative groups ponied up. So, why would he suddenly be their champion?
Former Citizen-Times columnist Jean Franklin recently put it this way:
Despite our varied opinions on government’s role in preventing abortion and gay marriage, all of these folks hold many bedrock “mountain values” in common. First of all, we are not just sick at heart, but sick at our stomachs, at the abounding corruption in Washington. We value integrity.
Frankly, we worry that his first year will be a hard one, as Shuler encounters thousands of lobbyists. We hope and pray that he will play it cool and not become beholden to these special interests, but will stay beholden to us. Then when he runs for re-election in 2008, it will be up to us to support him again with time and money. Although many of us voted for the party this time, in two years we hope to vote for the man.