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Live Blog: Conservatism Today

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2:15 p.m. "Conservatism Today" is the fourth panel convened today at the Humphrey Institute's series of forums entitled America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Moderating this afternoon's panel is E.J. Dionne (Columnist, Washington Post and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution). The panelists are:

* Ross Douthat (Associate Editor, The Atlantic)
* Mickey Edwards (Lecturer, Princeton University and Director, Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership)
* David Frum (Contributing Editor, National Review Online and Rsident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute)

2:28 p.m. Douthat examines what has made the white working class vote in increasing numbers for Republicans over the past few decades. Some argue Republicans have 'duped' working class white voters by appealing to a variety of social issues (e.g. gay marriage) while enacting policies contrary to the interests of these working class voters (and not enacting legislation on these social issues in the meantime). Others argue for reasons centering on Republican 'purity' (i.e. limited government) stemming out of the 1964 Goldwater campaign and moving forward through Reagan etc.

2:36 p.m.Edwards notes that the origins of American conservatism were based in the Constitution - the Equal Rights Amendment, giving D.C. a vote in Congress etc. Edwards believes self-identified conservatives today have gotten away from the origins of conservatism. Edwards says consevatives have now become Republicans first and crossed the line so that Repubican members of Congress view a Republican President as the head of their party, not the head of a separate brach of government which they are supposed to check.

2:44 p.m. Former Bush speechwriter Frum states the Republican Party has been in decline since the mid-1990s. Frum notes there has been a collapse of support among the affluent for the Republican Party, in addition to young voters. Frum adds Republicans have also alienated working class Americans in recent years due to economic conditions which has seen a lot of expansion, but little benefit to the working class. Democrats also now have a 5:3 advantage over Republicans on the issue of ethics.

2:55 p.m. Former Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber says Republicans have wrestled with the notion of its principles of limited government with the fact that most people see a role for government in their lives.

3:05 p.m. Edwards says conservatives should be for 'limited' government, but not 'small' government - that is, there is a limited scope of what government should do, but there will be a set of issues that it will have a great role to play. "It is not our job to shut down the government," he adds.

3:15 p.m. Frum states he is very worried about McCain's selection of Palin last week - he hopes McCain did his homework on Palin, but he fears he did not. Frum acknowledges the selection has fired up social conservatives in a good way, but not the country as a whole. Douthat says he blogged about the positives of a McCain/Palin ticket months ago. Edwards believes Palin was selected because McCain had to take a gamble - the race, although polling close, was Obama's to win.

3:25 p.m. Frum believes that McCain's political philosophy and campaign is one of contradictions -- for environmental protection but also for more domestic drilling. Weber says McCain is more like FDR, who also did not campaign on a consistent message.

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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