Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Liberals and the liberal liberals who... liberalize

Luther Strange's latest television ad in the Republican lieutenant governor campaign is an extended reminder that while he is a lifelong GOP man, his runoff opponent, George Wallace, Jr., once was a Democrat who (shockingly!) ran for office alongside other Democrats, many of whom were -- you guessed it -- liberal. (Strange's ad also employs the sandbox tactic of using Democrat as a pejorative adjective, but that's tangential to the point.)

The overarching implication seems to be that Republicans can be "real Republicans" only if they never were active in another party. That'd probably come as a surprise to the thousands of Alabama voters who have switched their party affiliation since the 1980s and to the scores of major GOP officials who once were Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, former Gov. Fob James, and former Lt. Gov. Steve Windom. I even hear tale that a guy named Ronald Reagan used to vote for some Democrats now and then, and I'm pretty sure he didn't end up as a flaming lefty.

OK, enough historical context for one night. We now return you to your regularly scheduled empty rhetoric.


Anonymous James Lawson said...

My dad, who taught high school civics for 40 years, laughed at this ad. To quote him: "If George Wallace Sr. was around today, he would be criticized as a right-wing facist!"

8:34 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Our local House race featured five Republicans vying for the nomination, and there will be a runoff between the top two. The worst the smear merchants could do was to accuse one of the candidates of being a closet Democrat. Amazing how that's become a dirty word.

10:02 AM  
Blogger HP said...

Unfortunately, I think "right wing facist" is what a lot of folks are shooting for these days.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

My grammatical absolutism must weigh in and point out that the correct spelling is "fascist."

Kathy, did the smear merchants need to do anything worse after that?

5:55 PM  
Blogger RightDemocrat said...

The notion that only genetic Republicans need apply for public office is offensive and likely to backfire against the GOP in Alabama or any real Southern state.

I am fairly sure that in Alabama and the South generally, most Republican voters over 40 are former Democrats. A majority of the life-long Republicans, in Alabama and most of the South, are probably transplants from other areas of the country like the Midwest.

My guess is that George Wallace, Jr. probably wishes that he had remained in his former party like a growing number of ex-Reagan Democrats. Maybe the conservative Democrats who crossed over are starting to recognize that the Republicans are a "big business" country club rather than a "values" party.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Good observations, Right Dem, but I'm not sure that Strange's strategy will turn off enough Republican voters to cost him the nomination. Runoff turnout tends to be very low, so his goal seems to be to motivate the base and make sure they show up to vote for the self-proclaimed "conservative choice."

Wallace still has a built-in name recognition edge that's very tough to beat in Alabama, but Strange has so much more campaign money that it may not matter. If Wallace hopes to win the race, he has to get fairly high turnout among Mo Brooks supporters -- he endorsed Wallace -- and Democratic crossover voters.

Strange's financial advantage means he's still the favorite, but a Wallace win wouldn't be entirely out of the question.

9:35 PM  

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