Virginia Governor, Tim Kaine has an interesting article at Real Clear Politics discussing how he was able to win the Governors race in a red state. He argues that his win has something to teach the larger Democratic party. But as you read this ask yourself whether the lesson can be applied on a larger spectrum. Kaine backed away from his liberalism and appealed to conservative ideas in so doing. For example, he denied that his personal opposition to the death penalty would keep him from enforcing it because ". . . I took the oath of office as seriously as my wedding vows." He also got to mention his religious faith and Catholic ties in the process. He talked about tax-relief for homeowners, improving roads for suburban commuters, and increasing Pre-K programs--especially appealing to the demographic of married women. Clever. It worked for him in the way "fake Republicanism" almost did for Hackett in Ohio.
But I think the days of this kind of strategy working on the national scene are over for two reasons. First, the Dems arent going to be able to nominate someone like this given their radicalized base. Second, I think when it comes to the larger issues in a national debate (not roads and pre-K programs!) voters wont fall for fake Republicanism. Theres so little in it for us when we support their national programs. We dont even get the satisfaction of seeing the programs work! We see the Dems coming with their wish-list and we hide our wallets. And as for Kaines most effective hammer, tax-relief, does anyone see a Democrat of national standing making that case in 2008? As Bush might say, "Bring it on!"