CNN Reporter to GOP: Learn Lesson of Midterms And Move Left

On Thursday’s "Situation Room," CNN reporter Bill Schneider proclaimed that Republicans need to move left in order to recover from their midterm losses:

Bill Schneider: "Will Republicans move further to the right? Not if they got the message of the election. Republicans lost because they abandoned the center. Independents voted Democratic by the biggest margin ever recorded. The election also provides an alternative model of a Republican who moved to the center and thrived."

Who is this shining example of moderation? Why, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He actually won by becoming a liberal, but perhaps that’s what Schneider meant.

Schneider also provided examples of new Democratic "moderates." Among these cited were Joe Lieberman, Heath Shuler, Bob Casey, and Jon Tester:

Schneider: "The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate include a lot of newly elected moderates like Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a former Washington Redskins quarterback who was courted by the Republicans, and Brad Ellsworth, an Indiana County sheriff who signed a pledge not to raise taxes. In the Senate, there is Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Jon Tester of Montana and Jim Webb of Virginia, who used to be a Republican and was President Reagan’s navy secretary. And Joe Lieberman will still be around."

Joe Lieberman may support the Iraq War, but his lifetime American Conservative Union score is 17. Moveon.org campaigned for Montana Senator-elect Jon Tester (Click on link and scroll down to Montana). And anyone who expects Bob Casey and Jim Webb to be moderate or conservative will likely be disappointed.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 4:37pm on November 9, follows:

Wolf Blitzer: "So how will the new equation work? And can Democrats work with President Bush? Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider. Bill?"

Schneider: "Wolf, there are two ways of looking at what the voters have created. You could say they voted for divided government or government of national unity. President Bush seems to want a government of national unity to succeed".

Bush: "It's in the national interest of the United States that a unity government, based upon a constitution, that is advanced and modern succeed."

Schneider: "Except that he was not talking about the United States. He was talking about Iraq, where warring sects have to figure out how to work together, same as here."

Pelosi: "Democrats are ready to lead, prepared to govern and absolutely willing to work in a bipartisan way."

Schneider: "Can it happen? There is reason for hope. The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate include a lot of newly elected moderates like Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a former Washington Redskins quarterback who was courted by the Republicans, and Brad Ellsworth, an Indiana County sheriff who signed a pledge not to raise taxes. In the Senate, there is Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Jon Tester of Montana and Jim Webb of Virginia, who used to be a Republican and was President Reagan’s navy secretary. And Joe Lieberman will still be around. How accommodating will Republicans be? Moderate Republicans have diminished in number. Representatives Jim Leach of Iowa and Nancy Johnson Connecticut were defeated. So were two moderate Republican Senators Lincoln Chafee and Mike DeWine of Ohio. Will Republicans move further to the right? Not if they got the message of the election. Republicans lost because they abandoned the center. Independents voted Democratic by the biggest margin ever recorded. The election also provides an alternative model of a Republican who moved to the center and thrived."

Schwarzenegger: "We fight our causes but, in the end, we find common grounds. This is the California way. The voters have endorsed it. I embrace it."

Schneider: "If unity government is going to work in Iraq, the various parties will have to disarm their militias. Some steps toward ending the political arms race might be a good idea in this country, too. Wolf?"

Blitzer: "Give us a little sense, Bill, ‘cause you've been covering this political story in Washington for a long time. The seismic nature of this power shift that we're seeing happen right now between the executive and the legislative branches of government."

Schneider: "This is a very big shift, Wolf. We haven't seen it since 1994 and it was very dramatic then and it hadn't happened then for 40 years. Now it's 12 years later. So you can say that it isn't even once a decade we get big shifts like this."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org