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Republicans to Campaign as Democrats

The Republicans are hoping to co-opt the Democratic message to stem their losses in November.

Following up on D-Day's article on this past week's string of progressive victories, which Paul already followed up earlier today, comes the new Republican message for the 2008 campaign season:

Republican Solutions and a Positive Agenda
Posted By: Tom Cole, May 16, 2008 - 9:52 AM

Families today face challenges that yesterday's laws simply don't address. We need to fix government, and one solution is to update our laws so they provide America's families with more freedom in their jobs; greater healthcare and retirement security; safer communities; access to quality, affordable education; and the ability for future generations to compete in the global economy.

Embarrassed by three special election defeats over the last two months, all in supposedly deep red districts, Republicans apparently plan to campaign as Democrats this year. This passage could have come out of virtually any Democratic campaign from 1992-2004, and reverses a long standing trend where Democrats have felt the need to campaign like Republicans over the past two decades. It is another sign of realignment, as Republican narratives collapse and they are forced to campaign as Democrats in order to have any chance. Campaigning against "liberal elites" along with more recognizable conservative rhetoric just doesn't work for Republicans anymore.

Now, rhetoric from Republican campaigns is one thing, and voting patterns, legislation, and base attitudes are another. The laws behind this messaging are undoubtedly still retrograde corporatism. Also, the over 1,300 comments that appeared below this post from Tom Cole, more comments than appeared on the last 100 NRCC blog posts combined, were all negative, as online conservatives signaled their intention to revolt against this new messaging. Further, even as the NRCC sounds conciliatory notes, conservative whipping infrastructures such as the Club for Growth are still running ads against Heath Wilson in the New Mexico Republican Senate primary for supporting S-CHIP, no matter how hopeless that campaign is for Republicans. So, we are a long way from conservative and Republican capitulation to progressive ideas like expanding the social safety net.

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