Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, November 17, 2006

What Did The Election Mean?

What’s your take on the election results? Rightwing bloggers seem to think American voters want to keep invading more countries, cut taxes even further and give even more power to the Biblethumping element. According to these people, Republicans got voted out because they were too moderate and wishy-washy. They need to get out there and rattle those sabers and show the world who’s Number One.

And too many Liberals are ready to pretend the last 26 years never happened. Ah yes, where were we before we were so rudely interrupted in 1980?

American voters have NOT moved to the Left. They were tired of the arrogance, corruption and complacency of the party in power. Both parties have been guilty of this in the past. Voters of all political viewpoints were alarmed by the assaults on our Constitution and the mind-numbing incompetence of our government.

A record budget surplus turned into a crippling deficit that our children’s children’s children will be paying off. (And let’s hope our Chinese landlords don’t decide to repossess our country.) A 3-day cakewalk turned into a four-year quagmire which has killed almost 3,000 American soldiers. FEMA’s paralyzed spastic “response” to Katrina would have been disgraceful even in the poorest Third World country, let alone America. The voters finally said: YOU’RE FIRED!

The worst thing Congressional Democrats could do is read too much into this election and overplay their hand (like the Republicans just did). If they do this, they’ll be the minority party again in two years.

Nancy Pelosi has promised the most open transparent government in our history. Maybe those are just campaign buzzwords, but that’s the smartest move the Democratic Congress could make. The best way for the Democrats to get even is to NOT be a bunch of unaccountable powerdrunk mean-spirited douchebags like their predecessors.

I think the voters are tired of partisanship and extremism from both sides. A lot of great liberal programs were created from the 1930s through the ‘70s. After that, the voters apparently decided enough was enough (that wasn’t my opinion). And now this Newsweek column has sounded the death knell for Conservative extremism. It’s about time.

The author, Jonathan Alter, says the 2006 election is the end of the 42-year movement that began with Barry Goldwater. He says “the intellectual vitality and coherence that once characterized modern conservatism have been shattered…In the Schiavo case, in which 70 percent of voters thought Washington should have butted out, Republicans drove a wedge through their own ranks…Most important, the stitching that was meant to hold the GOP’s big tent together contained none of the hope and optimism essential to success in American politics. Fear failed.”

He also says “Smart politicians have always known that the G spot of the American body politic is in the middle…So the Conservative Era is over, a cautionary tale for Democrats who might be tempted to impose a liberal one. Bush, who worked well with a Democratic legislature in Texas, must now admit that America is not Dittohead Nation.”

Maybe, just maybe, both parties could work together to find pragmatic solutions to America’s problems. Think that’s possible?

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Blogger lilfeathers2000 said...

Have A Blessed Weekend

November 17, 2006 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lilfeathers2000: Thanks. Same to you.

November 17, 2006 at 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. I've been amused by commentators like Limbaugh and Hannity who say many of the Republicans lost because they weren't conservative enough. What utter bullshit.

I think what the Dems have to do is play it cool for the next couple years and prove to the American public our party is the sane, responsible one. Raise the minimum wage, come up with a reasonable border control solution, raise taxes on the super rich, propose a sensible energy program and figure out the least dangerous exit strategy from Iraq.

If they can do that, the public will give them a vote of confidence in 2008 that will hopefully help sweep our presidential candidate into office. Then we could start talking about some more ambitious programs and reforms.

November 17, 2006 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J. Marquis: Thanks. Yeah, I can’t believe how may rightwingers think the Republicans lost because they were too moderate. Let ‘em keep thinking that; they’ll really get trounced in 2008.

Yes the Dems really have to play it cool for these 2 years. They need to be cautious about any legislation they introduce. Raising the minimum wage is a perfect issue; it’s perceived as being a liberal issue and yet the vast majority of the public is in favor of it. Energy independence and getting us out of Iraq will be difficult but those are the 2 most important issues. If they can solve one or both of those problems — with or without help from the Republicans — they’ll be well positioned for ‘08. Repealing the tax cuts might be dangerous politically. I’m in favor of it, but if it’s perceived as a party-line issue it could alienate some swing/moderate voters.

I think investigating 6 years of Bush sleaze is the most important thing the Democrats can do. That, and being the complete opposite of their Republican predecessors — open and accountable instead of secretive and powercrazed. The public will notice the difference and they’ll vote accordingly in 2008.

November 18, 2006 at 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with what's being said. "Responsibility" is going to be a key word the next two years. I really hope that they don't get power happy and go on a big power trip. The more down to earth and responsible they can be the next two years, the better chance they have of sticking around for the longterm.

November 18, 2006 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Dustin: You're right, they need to act responsibly. As tempting as it might be to get even or go on a legislative binge, they'll pay the price in '08 if they do that.

November 18, 2006 at 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom- You know, the Dems might want to avoid dealing with the tax cuts for right now if the stock market continues to do well and the deficit gradually comes down. It will keep the Right from screaming class warfare.

Raising the minimum wage is a winning issue in two ways...it helps the working poor and when the Right complains about it they look really selfish.

November 18, 2006 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J. Marquis: I think you're right. Raising the minimum wage is a winning issue, for the 2 reasons you gave. And trying to repeal the tax cuts might stir up too much partisan battling (plus Bush would veto it anyway).

November 18, 2006 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Three cheers to people like Hannity and Limbaugh... they are shooting their own party in the foot when they suggest that the party should become more conservative than it has already become. What an absurd notion, considering the message delivered by the voters Nov. 7! If the RNC doesn't talk to some of these jokers and get them in line, such idiotic talking will make the GOP leadership look like an out-of-touch collection of buffoons (which I think they are, but I'm biased), and will hurt their chances in 2008.

We know that the GOP will try and dig up all kinds of dirt on the Dems during the next two years, and that Karl Rove, if he's still powerful, will be advising the GOP to attack the Democrats' strengths. How will he and his buddies spin it if the Democrats actually CAN present a united party? If the Dems can't do this, the rightwing nutjobs are all going to be saying "See, we told you so!" If the Dems CAN all work together, the idiots will be making attacks of a more personal nature. So, I think that presenting a united Democratic party is essential.

However, presenting a Democratic party that stands for accountability and responsibility is probably the most important thing as I see it, because that is how I see the election results. If the Dems stand for such things, and if they want to provide a contrast to the way the Republicans work, they will take a long-range view, provide some suggestions for making things better a few decades down the road, as well as now. The GOP tends to go for quick fixes that create problems later on, and I think they count on the public's collective short attention span as an aid to getting voters to support them. I guess what I am trying to say is, the Dems need to demonstrate that they have a coherent vision for America, and sell it to the people as something that is in everybody's best interests. Basing much of their vision on what the people want is a huge part of this. The GOP (at least the Bush administration) tends to not pay attention to polls or to what people want, and to do what it feels necessary to maintain power.

If the Dems determine that the public wants to know more about why we are in Iraq, more about the September 11 attacks, more about the extent to which Abramoff influenced Congress, more about what has gone into the making of the administration's "energy policy"... then investigations will probably take place. If they determine the public is more interested in legislation, it might go that route. My guess is that with accountability and responsibility being the main things, we'll see a mix of investigating the administration and finding legislation that the people want to see in place.

The death knell for the modern conservative movement? It could well be. The GOP seems to me like it has been held together with thread, chewing gum, baling wire, etc. for quite some time. What a tough thing is must be for them to hold their party together... They have kowtowed to the evangelicals so much because without that group of voters, they wouldn't be able to win elections... but when they give the evangelical voters such special treatment, it tends to alienate the party's moderate element, which I happen to think is comprised of a LOT of voters. It's like the evangelicals represent a minority in the GOP, but without those voters, the GOP is sunk.

My hope is that the fiscal conservatives and the social conservative/evangelical people will have a big, ugly divorce. I think that would result in the Dems and the Republicans making up about 35% of the electorate each, an evangelical party and "independents" making up about 10% each, and other parties making up the rest. I think this would be beneficial to American politics, as I think it might water down the strength of the two major parties somewhat, allowing a wider range of opinions to be heard and considered. And as a Green, I like that idea very much.

November 18, 2006 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yup, it’s hopeful to see the GOP extremists shooting themselves in the foot. Maybe they’ll accomplish what the Democrats couldn’t do. I don’t know if the Democrats can present the kind of unity that Republicans have been famous for. It’s not in their nature; Republicans are more the lockstep kind of people. But as long as the Democrats are open and accountable and don’t get too carried with liberal legislation, it shouldn’t matter. If the voters see the Democrats as the party that isn’t plagued by secrecy and power-jockeying, the Dems should be rewarded in ‘08.

There’re a lot of scandals to investigate, but the Democrats should be able to do this without appearing vengeful, or letting other priorities slip away.

I hope the fiscal conservative/free enterprise Republicans divorce themselves from the Taliban wing of the party. But I’ve been thinking for years that that would happen; somehow they seem to gravitate together and prop each other up and use each other. If that coalition ever falls apart, the Republicans would turn into two 3rd parties. Works for me. And other alternative parties would gain strength too. A win-win all around.

November 19, 2006 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Like it has been said, let the Republicans think that they weren't extreme enough. Maybe they will send out a bunch of extreme candidates to get slaughtered in the next election.

The challenge for the Democrats will be to remain moderate. Let us not forget the Democrats themselves were ousted in 94 by an overly ambitious policy and the corruption that comes with nearly unlimited power (sound familiar?).

I think the Murtha nomination and subsequent bullying by Pelosi was a mistake. Dispite your politics on the Iraq issue, Murtha is a decisive figure and will probably be found to be corrupt in the end.

Hopefully Pelosi got the message and will try to work within the bounds of a moderate party.

We can hope.

November 19, 2006 at 4:36 AM  
Blogger The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

No, we don't WANT them to work together. We need for Dems to revert to their base instincts: Raise taxes, expand government, pass stupid laws.

We're just as doomed as we would've been if Repubs had retained the majority. Now, we just have a bunch of socialist, statist rich liberal politicians who pretend to give a flying damn about "the little guy".

November 19, 2006 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: Yup, that would be poetic if the Republicans keep playing to their “base” voters and alienate everyone else. Hopefully the Democrats can walk a tightrope: passing some legislation but not going too far to the Left; and doing the necessary investigations without appearing like they’re trying to get even. It’s better that Murtha didn’t get elected Majority Leader. I don’t remember much about ABSCAM (I don’t even remember when it was) but if there’s even the perception that Murtha is corrupt, that’ll ruin the image of transparency that the Democrats are trying to project (and hopefully it’s more than just an image).

Libertarian Guy: Presumably the Democrats will start doing that at some point — the pendulum always swings — but I hope it’ll take longer than just two years.

November 19, 2006 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

TLG, it is easy to be skeptical about politics and politicians in general. While I do tend to be a skeptic, this is one case where I feel hopeful rather than skeptical. I am a lefty, but hey, I would have even preferred to see moderate Republicans sweep into power than to see more of the same stuff we have endured for the past six years.

I think the challenge for the Republicans WILL be to try not to make their party even more "conservative", and that for the Dems it will be to resist the temptation to push a leftist agenda. Sure, they are all politicians, and probably not to be trusted, but I am ready to give the new editions of the House and Senate a chance. Innocent until proven guilty, I always say.

November 19, 2006 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger spaceneedl said...

"Raise taxes, expand government, pass stupid laws."

democrats have a long way to go to surpass the republicans' record of fiscal insanity, exponential government expansion, and grotesquely stupid laws.

i have to laugh at those of you who are already bashing or apologizing for the 110th congress.

they could not possibly do worse than the traitorous 109th.

November 19, 2006 at 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

personally, I fully support Pelosi's first 100 hour plan for the 110th:


Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds _ "I hope with a veto-proof majority," she added in an Associated Press interview Thursday.

All the days after that: "Pay as you go," meaning no increasing the deficit, whether the issue is middle class tax relief, health care or some other priority.

November 19, 2006 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger I.M. Dedd said...

TH: Happy Thanksgiving. That's it for me this week. Braindead.

November 20, 2006 at 6:20 PM  

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