Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Minnesota: Going Red?

Brendan Miniter writes in the Wall Street Journal:

. . . Minnesota, traditionally a progressive state that gave us such liberal icons as Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Sen. Paul Wellstone, may now be turning Republican. It was the only state Ronald Reagan lost in 1984, but Democrats can no longer count on carrying the state. John Kerry had 60% of the vote in the Twin Cities last year, but the suburbs went to President Bush by a similar margin. "Two decades ago, these results might not have been so disturbing. But now the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul are three times as populous as the Twin Cities themselves," he writes. The problem is Democrats have for too long denigrated suburban dwellers and even fought new suburbs from going up with "smart growth" restrictions, so suburbanites return the favor by voting Republican.

The quote is in a helpful article on The McCain Myth, where Miniter argues that it is a mistake to think that McCain's "maverick moderatism" is going to propel him to the White House in 2008. Key quote:

what Mr. McCain and the other Republican Senate "moderates" in last week's compromise would have the party do is give up on the very principles that is winning elections. All in the name of appealing to the "middle" of the electorate that is already voting for the party. . . .

As for Mr. McCain, this all leaves him in the unenviable position of offering a political philosophy--no more tax cuts, moderate reforms to entitlement programs and, among other things, moderate judges--that is actually costing Democrats votes. Paradoxically it's a political philosophy that helps him wield tremendous power in the Senate, where there are plenty of mushy moderates. But the idea that it's a political philosophy that will propel Republicans into the White House is a myth that this President Bush has long since dispelled.