I think Jim Geraghty vastly oversells the virtues of moderate Republicans here — Republicans of all stripes are great in opposition but their recent record in power is rather less impressive. But his point about centrist and conservative Democrats is important. Only three Democrats — Bobby Bright of Alabama, Walt Minnick of Idaho, and Gene Taylor of Mississippi — voted against the stimulus, cap and trade, and the health care bill. Of those, only Taylor has compiled a fairly conservative voting record of any length, without being at imminent risk of Republican defeat.
It’s going to be awfully hard for the Brad Ellsworths of the world to sell themselves as “independent” red-state Democrats, complicating — if not ending — the project Rahm Emanuel began when he started recruiting them to run in these conservative districts in the first place.