The Purge of 2006?
Perhaps it’s needless to say that I disagree with commenter Anthony’s assessment, offered in a comment to a recent post by Marc:
I think this election will force incumbent Republicans to move left, just as the Democrats were forced to put up more conservative candidates after years of unsuccessful attempts to elect left-wingers.
The central flaw of this view, as I see it, is that it sees politics mainly in terms of degree of extremity — as if neither party aligns better with the American people’s beliefs on general principle. It leaves no room for the possibility that Americans prefer conservative policies to liberal ones. It’s not as if voters rebuffed a slate of rabid right-wing Republicans; they rebuffed Republicans, period, including moderates. Anthony continues in a subsequent comment:
In this election, I think the conservatives blew it. The ‘conservative’ GOP Congressional leadership took on the same attributes as the Democrats–overspending and a bureaucratic approach to governing. At the same time, conservatives attacked GOP moderates instead of Democrats submarining them in vulnerable districts.
While GOP moderates were attacked from within, the Democrats were recruiting moderate Democrats to run and win districts that had been drawn by Republicans during redistricting to lean Repbulican.
Conservatives should have been focusing in on bringing “conservative” leaders back into line, not helping to elect Democrats.
The narrative simply makes no sense: Republicans did not govern according to conservative principles, so Democrats moved right, and conservatives targeted moderates, so Republicans will… move left? Belief in that strange scenario of inverse consequences is not, at least, the sense I’m getting from what I’ve read about Republican officials’ reactions to their party’s loss.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but if Republicans do move to shore up their base, then I’d suggest that, pace Anthony, conservatives will have been successful at “bringing ‘conservative’ leaders back into line” by means of this election.