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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

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


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