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DavidV

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Reply with quote  #1 
Not surprisingly, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has moved to distance himself from Obama, who is highly unpopular in the state (which is both quite conservative and has a significant coal industry), and like his successor as governor Earl Ray Tomblin, is on the conservative side of the Democratic Party.

With the impending retirement of Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Manchin and Bob Casey Jr. (Pennsylvania) would have to be the most conservative Democrats on Capitol Hill. In the 2008 elections, the Democratic nominee for the Senate was the paleoconservative Bob Conley who, like Casey and Manchin, is Catholic. Remember that in 1992, then Pennsylvania governor Bob Casey (father of the current Senator) was more or less denied speaking space at the DNC- if that was the case it made a mockery of the party's name.

Is that all that's left of the once strong conservative faction in the Democratic Party? Is there still a place for conservative Democrats? One would sincerely hope so.

The only Democratic opponent for John Shimkus in his Illinois seat this year is Angela Michael, a Randall Terry supporter who would be seen as even further Right of all of them, so I don't know if that would count as legitimate.
BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #2 
Isn't 'conservative' and 'demoncrat' a contradiction in terms these days?

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clark

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Reply with quote  #3 
If I could vote for a conservative Democrat I would gladly. I am quite a fan of old right democratic movements of past years like the Bourbon Democrats. It would be great to see a revival of Old Right conservatism in the Democratic Party.
DavidV

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Reply with quote  #4 
Well, West Virginia and South Carolina still appear to be holdouts as Manchin, Tomblin and Conley have shown, but these are states that lean conservative on most things. Bob Conley broke with the Republicans because he disagreed with their direction on Iraq and immigration. And it's not surprising conservative WV Democrats are showing signs of dissenting from the Obama administration line, given the belief his policies are hurting the state's economic interests.

The paleoconservative tradition in American politics might see themselves as the heirs to the line of Washington, Adams, Dickinson, Jay and Hamilton. Dickinson, after all, had been a reluctant revolutionary as a moderate Whig around 1776. This is the line that was relucant to be involved in foreign entanglements and were rightly horrified by the French Revolution, for instance. They would have been horrified, too, by the monstrosities of Wilson and FDR, or of the younger Bush most recently.
Ponocrates

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Reply with quote  #5 
The conservative Democrat is almost always a Southern conservative Democrat, who stayed in the party because of what happened in the Civil War.   Remember, the Democrats were the pro-slavery party and later the pro-segregation party.   From the time of Wilson, however, the Democrats in the non-Southern states shifted to a progressive ideology and caused the eventual rift between the two regional factions of the party.       

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DavidV

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Reply with quote  #6 
Wilson supported segregation and still won easily in the South in 1912 and 1916. The Republicans have displaced the Democrats in the South progressively, and perhaps permanently among conservative voters since 1994. Now, though, Manchin and Tomblin are distancing themselves from Obama and won't be at the DNC.

The Democrat Senate nominee in Indiana, Congressman Joe Donnelly (who won the nomination unopposed), is also pretty conservative- pro-life, a tougher line on immigration, yet more or less in line with most Democrats on health care and opposed to unfettered free trade. He'll be facing Richard Mourdock, who beat Richard Lugar in the Republican primary and has Tea Party backing.

This year, the Democrats have two "fringe" candidates who captured nominations- Kesha Rogers, a LaRouche supporter, who won the nomination to contest a seat in Texas, and the aforementioned Angela Michael, a Randall Terry supporter, who's facing John Shimkus in Illinois.
Ponocrates

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Reply with quote  #7 
Well I said a eventual rift. When I was younger, the "Yellow Dog" Democrat was alive and well in Texas. That is, you vote Democrat, even if it was a yellow dog. Presidential politics was different - they generally supported Reagan and Bush Sr.

Rick Perry, the current Texas governor and former Republican Texan presidential candidate, began as a Democrat and supported Al Gore's presidential run in 1988. I remember that every Texan representative sent to the House of Reps in DC was a Democrat. The shift to the Republicans in the Southern states, especially in state and local politics, happened rapidly in the 90s-00s.


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