After that insufferable morning of spin—everyone is claiming victory, no one conceding defeat—perhaps it is time to warn our friends on the left to avoid that most hideous post-election Limbaughism. Let us remember that after McCain's 2008 defeat, Rush told his listeners that it was the abandonment of Reaganism, the reaching out to moderates, that destroyed Republican chances for a third straight term in the White House. It was an incoherent argument (which I attacked here), but one with which foot soldiers of the GOP liked to soothe their nerves. A sample Limbaugh rant, frequently repurposed by the deluded party apparatchik:
We're going to get some rank and file, average American Democrats that are going to vote for McCain. But these hoity-toity bourgeoisie… Well, they're not the bourgeoisie, but… Well, they are in a sense. They're following their own self-interests, so I say fine. They have just admitted that Republican Party "big tent" philosophy didn't work. It was their philosophy; it was their idea. These are the people, once they steered the party to where it is, they are the ones that abandoned it.
It only requires a teaspoon of common sense, available to even the most causal "Dittohead," to rubbish Limbaugh's class war-infused argument. Which amounts to this: had McCain only been more conservative, had he only left Lebanon in 1983, and fired the air traffic controllers, Americans would have ditched this Marxist, socialist, syndicalist, communist, Maoist, Khmer Rougist called Obama and elected Goldwaterbot3000.
But after the Republican surge in Virginia and New Jersey, the Limbaughs of left are using the same dumb argument, accusing losing Dems of not being sufficiently left-wing, and thus keeping those independents from voting for a Republican who once advised women to stop ruining America with their "jobs." Or whatever.
That sage of Democratic politics, Markos Moulitsas, says that if candidates aren't more lefty, aren't willing to punch below the belt, his robot brigades of Nation-reading lefties will "sit home" and let guys like Bob McDonnell win. (By the way, can you trust a party that elevates this dope to a position of importance?) According to the nuanced kids at ThinkProgress, the Democrats flamed out so dramatically in deep purple Virginia because Creigh Deeds wasn't progressive enough. Because the charisma-deficient Deeds didn't publicly endorse the requisitioning of grain, wage class war on the Richmond kulaks, and "did not run as a progressive reformer," say the Thinkers, all those people that came out for Obama in 2008 stayed at home and read Chomsky. Well, no. They stayed home because it was a Virginia governor's race, no celebrities told them if they didn't vote they would likely die of some horrible disease, and Deeds ran a terrible, boring campaign.
And if you realize that such arguments make no sense, why just not try the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explanation, which also seems generally representative of professional Democrats. Here it is, condensed by ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper on Twitter: "Shorter Gibbs: NY-23 has national ramifications, NJ and VA were entirely local."