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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

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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