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The Democrats' Conservative Strategy
October 30, 2006

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Ever since John Kerry's 2004 presidential loss, the Democratic leadership has been hard at work trying to figure out how to get the attention of - and ultimately win the hearts, minds and souls of - the coveted values voters.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry, and others have been weaving traditional sounding phrases into their speeches in an apparent effort to appeal to cultural conservatives.

In its feverish lust to regain power, the Democratic Party this election cycle seems to be strategically running Republican candidates who are clad in Democratic suits.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began its search in earnest for more conservative candidates in 2005. In many cases, true-blue liberals were cast aside in favor of those who appeared to be sufficiently Republican in view and rhetoric to get elected.

Now GOP incumbents in Pennsylvania, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Kentucky are facing opponents who walk and talk as if they were Republicans. In some cases, their Democratic opponents really are Republicans who were craftily recruited to run as Democrats.

The campaigns of such candidates frequently put out messages that are pro-faith, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Second Amendment and pro-law enforcement. Not exactly the types of things that the Democratic Party of the past few decades is noted for.

In order to nab the 15 seats necessary to retake the House, the following "Democrats" have been recruited:

Former pro-football player Heath Shuler, who is running for Congress in North Carolina on a pro-life, pro-business platform. (Shuler turned down an offer to run for the House as a Republican in 2002. He's an evangelical Christian. He's also a hunting enthusiast.)

Retired Army Col. Mike Weaver, a candidate in Kentucky who is pro-life, pro-gun and against same-sex marriage.

County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth, a pro-life, pro-gun, church going, law and order advocating Christian who is running in Indiana. (Ellsworth's Web site describes his abortion position in this way: "I believe in the value of life in all its forms.")

Jim Donnelly, an ardent pro-lifer, who is also running in Indiana. (Far from being in line with most Democrats, Donnelly's position statement reads: "I have consistently opposed abortion and will continue to do so in Congress. I believe that being pro-life means promoting life at every stage, from conception until natural death.")

Joseph Shannon, a pro-life Catholic who is running in Illinois against a pro-choice Republican.
The Democrats are banking on their socially conservative front men to deliver key victories over the GOP incumbents. But lurking behind the smiling conservative faces is a specter of committee chairpersons that make the Dixie Chicks look like Tweety Bird clones.

If the Democrats do regain control, those in the Party with seniority and plurality will be the ones directing the national rudder. And captain of the ship will be none other than Nancy Pelosi, a woman who would be the most liberal Speaker of the House bar none.

Picture it.

If Democrats rule the House, John Dingell will run the Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman will be in charge of Government Reform, John Conyers will head the Judiciary Committee, Charles Rangel will direct Ways and Means and Alcee Hastings will oversee Intelligence.

If Democrats take control of the Senate, Barbara Boxer will chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Patrick Leahy will run the Senate Judiciary Committee and Jay Rockefeller will head the Intelligence Committee.

Beware of Democrats in conservative clothing.

If they are successful in helping the Democrats get their congressional groove back, the country will careen to the left at breakneck speed and conservative policies, among a lot of other things, will be in very short supply.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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