This post makes a good point:
"Even in Montana, a state that Bush captured by 20 points, the Democrats have now captured the state Senate, the governorship and four of five statewide elected positions."And then further on:
Let us look west. In the mountains and ranchlands of the West, there are Democrats who understand real America. Out here, far from the nation's capital, there are Democrats who understand skepticism of the federal government. Out here, Americans will find Democrats comfortable in jeans and boots. In the West, we can find Democrats able to speak plainly in the language of real America.Looking at this from a great distance (and I've driven from Illinois to Montana several times, so I know just HOW great a distance that is!!), I find this interesting. The new Gov.-elect of Montana is Brian Schweitzer. He built a farming and ranching business back in the 80's. For another good post about him, see here. I imagine he would easily appeal to many voters in that vast swath of "red states." It probably didn't hurt that is running mate was a republican.
Then, Left In the West addresses the question of whether western democrats are "real" democrats or not (I particularly like the phrase "go fork yourself" - and when I described the post to the Montanan in my household she laughed and said, yeah, I could see why he'd say that....)
I think the real problem here is with blue state Democrats who are so confused by their own losses that they really can't understand that in Montana and Colorado, real Democrats won. We appreciate y'all trying to denigrate our successes, but we didn't elect any Zell Millers.Anyway, the crux seems to be that Schweitzer is personally pro-life but politically pro-choice - which actually is a reasonable position and one that is pretty close to my own....I do not particularly care for abortion, but I don't think it should be illegal.
With all that said, it probably looks like I am a die-hard Democrat. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I said in a previous post, I don't identify with either party, and I very much see the flaws in both. I've met die-hard partisans and generally find them impossible to talk to. Way back last January, blogger Michael J. Totten (a pro-Iraq war liberal) wrote a terrific post called Hate Pundits about the political divide and the tendency to regard everyone on the other side of the aisle as wrong. It has stuck with me ever since, particularly this sentiment:
In a liberal democracy (there's that word again) with two major parties, each party, each overall governing philosophy, brings something to the table and gets some things right. They balance. Liberals are the gas, and conservatives are the brakes. (Or is it the other way around this year?) Yin, yang, Venus, Mars, and all that. And each party gets some things flat out wrong. Its just not possible to split a reasonably healthy political culture into halves and end up with one side completely right and the other side utterly wrong.After the 2004 election, I found myself hunting down that posting again for a good reminder.
Maybe someday I'll post my list of what each party gets wrong (and right).