Is this more offensive to Democrats or Republicans? At least five separate reporters described incoming freshman Democrat Congressmen as conservative. On Wednesday’s "Early Show" Bob Schieffer noted "these Democrats that were elected last night are conservative Democrats." Later in the same program, CBS News Captiol Hill correspondent Sharyl Attkisson highlighted, "...a lot of these new Democrats who’ve been elected are social conservatives." Seconds later, CBS Political Correspondent Gloria Borger observed that with the Democrats taking the House, "the committee chairmen are going to be liberal and the people coming in are going to be these moderate conservatives." The trend continued on "Imus in the Morning" as NBC’s David Gregory remarked, "She’s [Nancy Pelosi] going to have a lot of center-right Democrats who won..."
While these reporters described these newly elected representatives as conservative, only David Gregory provided an example, Heath Shuler. Who are these other conservative Democrats? By what definition are they conservative? Sharyl Attkisson described many of them as "social conservatives," but she failed to provide examples of what makes them so. Time will tell how conservative these Democrats really are, but one should not be surprised if their records are anything but.
Transcripts of the exchanges in question follow:
Bob Schieffer: "I'll tell you, Hannah, the problem that Nancy Pelosi is going to have is not so much with the Republican White House but with her own party. These Democrats that were elected last night are conservative Democrats. They are not like some of the liberal fire brands that are in the House right now. So she's got to bring those two groups together, make them be a cohesive force, or else what you're going to see is a Republican president reaching out to the conservative Democrats and forming coalitions. That's what Eisenhower did, that's what often happens when you have a president of one party and a Congress controlled by the other party."
Hannah Storm: "Well, the picture is very clear in the House. Of course the Democrats take control for the first time in 12 years. Where does that leave Nancy Pelosi, she’s second in line for the presidency, the first female leader in the House, what sort of challenges does she face?"
Sharyl Attkisson: "Well, I think a lot of people are assuming there will be a sharp left turn in the House, because Nancy Pelosi is a left-winger and she’s well-known for her views there. But it's not going to be so easy for her. Her job is going to be to take two ends of a spectrum and try to make them work together within her own party because a lot of these new Democrats who’ve been elected are social conservatives and don't agree with hers and other liberal agendas on a lot of the issues."
Hannah Storm: "So she’s going to have to reach out to these conservative Democrats who were so key to this election."
Gloria Borger: "Well, she will. And the problem will be that a lot of the committee chairmen are going to be liberal and the people coming in are going to be these moderate conservatives and so there's going to be an issue within her own caucus."
David Gregory: You know, the other thing interesting is Republicans are starting to talk about what kind of majority Nancy Pelosi as Speaker will have in the House.
Don Imus: Well, that’s a downside, what a nightmare.
David Gregory: Well, she’s not going to have a liberal, you know, majority there. She’s going to have a lot of center-right Democrats who won, people like Heath Shuler down in North Carolina and others who are not going to be part of the kind of liberal coalition. So there, Republicans say ‘hey, we may have an opportunity to do some work in the House. Some of the spin too is, you know, does the president have an opportunity here to get immigration reform with Republicans out of power in the House?