Thursday, November 09, 2006

Post-Election Thoughts

Well, another election as come and gone.

It didn't turn out as well as the Republicans had hoped. From what I understand, most of the races that were considered toss-ups ended up being blow-outs. Republicans will have to live with being the minority party again, for God only knows how long.

How did it end up like this? As a lot of people are saying, the Republicans earned this. Yes, the Democrats played dirty in some ways, but the Republicans gave them the tools with which to do it. For example, Mark Foley wouldn't have been as big of a deal if the leadership had looked into that whole affair long ago.

Also, the war of ideas was really not in play in this election, at least not as in times past. This time around, the main Democratic argument was "Hey, we're not the Republicans and we hate George Bush." The Republican counter-argument wasn't any better: "Hey, if you think we're bad, just wait until the Democrats are in power." It doesn't surprise me that voters weren't convinced.

I've read some people saying that Democrats may have won, but so did conservative values. Apparently, much of the caucus that the Democrats built this time around was with conservative candidates (pro-life, low taxes, so on and so forth). Also, some conservative ballot initiatives passed, such as an anti-Affirmative Action bill in Michigan, as well as gay marriage initiatives in other states.

I can't say much about that. In MO, the constitutional amendment for therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research passed (though the cigarette tax failed), so I can't quite say what to make of it. Conservative Democrats will have a rough time in their caucus if history is any indicator. This election seems to have been dominated by a Republican vs. Democrat dynamic, with Iraq possibly being the only big issue in play. Perhaps in future election cycles, a move away from such party-based electioneering and back towards issue-oriented voting might take place. I don't think I'll hold my breath on that one, but the exit of President Bush from the political stage may play a role in that.

Despite the greater fears of some people, I don't think the sky is going to collapse. Democrats hold majorities, but it's especially slim in the Senate, 51-49. If any Democrats in the House attempt impeachment proceedings (which people are already calling them to do), I think they'll have an uphill battle with it, and I doubt it would succeed. Also, despite Democratic plans calling for a slide into socialism, I doubt they'll get anything too worrisome passed in the next few years.

My biggest worries fall into immigration and national security. I was never on the same page as President Bush on immigration, and unfortunately his plans for a "temporary worker" program and normalization for current illegals falls more in line with the party that was just put into power. I'm probably not goign to like what comes next.

As for national security, I see Democrats quickly calling for withdrawals from Iraq. I'm not sure they'd be so bold as to completely defund the mission, but it could happen. If we retreat as they want, I think that will do more to encourage Islamic terrorism at home and abroad than our continued presence ever would have. We'll see what happens.

As for Illinois, well, the voters will get what they deserved. More people voted to remove Rod from office than to keep him, but he still received the most votes. I guess there might be a chance of him being voted out if people actually get sick enough of him. We'll see what the next four years brings.

One last note: In the run-up to the election, I read a lot of frantic screeds declaring that Republicans would steal the elections, thanks to voter intimidation and Diebold vote stealing (not that they ever noticed dead voters or ACORN voter fraud). I'd like to know . . . what happened to all of that?

5 comments:

-Murphy said...

Yes, the Democrats played dirty in some ways

And Republicans in others, as with Laura Ingraham's campaign to flood call centers meant for reporting election day screwups, calls in Virginia to, oddly, voters registered as Democrats claiming that they'd be arrested if they went to vote or that they were supposed to go to a different voting area, a Republican in Idaho trying to stab people who disagree with him, some in the GOP telling anyone who's Latino that they can't vote and so on.

A very comprehensive look at the disgusting behavior from both parties is here.

Apparently, much of the caucus that the Democrats built this time around was with conservative candidates (pro-life, low taxes, so on and so forth).


To an extent. Casey Jr. is to the right of much of the Democratic Party on some social issues (pro-life, anti-gun control), but is way, way left of Santorum, not because he's a wild pinko, but because Santorum is off the edge right as far as Republican senators go. Jim Webb is also a relatively conservative Democrat, having worked for Reagan in the past and being brought back to the Democrats over the war in Iraq going up against Allen, who was trying to give off the whole Reagan vibe without, you know, actually making much sense at all. Sheldon Whitehouse is pretty moderate, as was Lincoln Chafee, so the choice there for Rhode Islanders was more or less "do you want a Republican who votes like a Democrat or just bypass the whole thing and just have a Democrat."

I actually really liked Chafee. He was actually for being fiscally responsible, pretty socially liberal and very big on the environment.

The DeWine/Brown race in Ohio seemed to be similar, as DeWine is about as moderate as Lincoln Chafee, which is to say as moderate as Republicans get.
I don't know too much about the Tester/Burns race, or the Talent/McCaskill thing, so I'll not comment.

Conservative Democrats will have a rough time in their caucus if history is any indicator.

Possibly, though with the recent successes of the Blue Dog Democrats, the party might be brought a bit back toward the center.

If any Democrats in the House attempt impeachment proceedings (which people are already calling them to do), I think they'll have an uphill battle with it, and I doubt it would succeed.

They'd never get the majority they'd need in the senate of 66 (or so, maybe just 60), and the whole thing would be, from my perspective, just about the most politically suicidal thing they could do (though, oddly, impeaching Clinton was good for the Republicans). Nancy Pelosi's said they won't do it, but I suppose we'll have to see.

Perhaps in future election cycles, a move away from such party-based electioneering and back towards issue-oriented voting might take place.


That'd be nice.


As for national security, I see Democrats quickly calling for withdrawals from Iraq.

Hopefully, that won't happen. They do need to come up with a plan for what to do there and figure out how to get the Iraqi national security up to the point that they can actually take care of some aspects of peacekeeping, but I've got the feeling that the "All Democrats want to cut and run" was a campaign slogan, especially considering that the Senate has, say, Jim Webb.

JayRodNU said...

I may have work to do - but it was about time I joined the party...
http://drchurch.blogspot.com/

Hal said...

Well, I'm not sure how much success Blue Dog Democrats are having, but at the last national convention, there was quite a stir from a pro-life Democrat wanting to give an address.

So, I'm curious to see how this will turn out. I can live with a Democratic majority if they're actually allowing moderates into the caucus.

And I never said Republicans weren't playing dirty. I was mainly focusing on reasons why the Republicans took it on the chin, and even then I was mainly thinking of the Democrats' focus on controversy and scandal. Except for the ACORN thing, I wasn't really aware of too many shenanigans this time around, but I guess they had to have happened, the law of averages being what it is.

Jen said...

"Perhaps in future election cycles, a move away from such party-based electioneering and back towards issue-oriented voting might take place."

This from the guy who suggested that a vote for a third party was a vote wasted? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Although I currently reside in North Carolina, I spent a majority of my life (21 years) in Illinois. I graduated from a public Illinois University (ISU GO) - this week, I was constantly checking the election coverage in IL to see if Blag got back in after he $*^$@# over our schools, and basically the whole state on many different levels. I was so sad to see he was re-elected. I'm glad I'm not there to see what'll become of IL in the next 4 years....