Friday, May 26, 2006

The national-local conundrum

Do the Republicans deserve to lose big in November? Oh, my, yes.

Does that mean we should all vote Democrat, regardless of who the respective candidates are in any given race? Well, no.

So what are we going to do?

The GOP is starting to pull out the desperation line: "if you don't vote for us the Dems will take over, and they'll destroy the country!" The hope is that no matter how badly the Republicans have messed things up, their conservative supporters will still consider them the lesser of two evils compared to Democrats.

Sure, guys, whatever. On the face of it, it's a silly argument: I don't think either party will "destroy the country" with regards to security or other bread-and-butter issues. So that's a straw man.

But let's say the GOP is right, and the Dems will try to turn us into the Socialist States of America. So what?

Even if they lose Congress the GOP would still control the White House, still have a sizable minority in both houses of Congress, and the judiciary would still lean right. Bush might finally have to exercise his veto pen, but the worst we risk is congressional paralysis.

So for me, the upcoming election is a referendum on the governing party. And they deserve to go down in flames. Big, hot, center-of-the-sun-type flames, the ashes burned and reburned until the electrons have been stripped from their atoms, leaving nothing but a subatomic mist in their wake.

Do I think the Dems will do better? Well, they’d have a hard time doing worse. And it would be a mistake to give the Reps a pass on their proven failures merely out of fear of what Dems might do.

That said, it can get complicated. I generally like my own representative, Jim Ramstad, and may well vote for him even though he’s GOP (the weak Democratic opposition makes that decision easier). So I’m both part of the problem (voting for a GOP candidate) and part of the solution (voting for a moderate).

My excuse is that if the GOP had more Ramstads, they wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in. But if everybody thinks that way, the Republicans might keep control of Congress. And they really, really need to lose there.

But I'll take my chances. Because until we find a good way to elect true independents, the next best strategy is to elect moderate members of the major parties and gradually bring those parties more strongly toward the middle and away from their fringes.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea what "failures" you're talking about. When one examines the Big Picture.....this administration was handed a failing economy; one headed into the tanker. The stock market "boom" of the late 90's was a false bubble with nothing substantial under it. The Bush administration turned that around.....despite the horrific attack of 9/11.......despite the corporate scandals that this administration was determined to address....and despite the worst natural disaster to EVER occur in our country. And more importantly, despite the fact we were engaged in a world-wide war on terrorism, as well as a war in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq. ALL that in just a 5 year period. And ALL with no additional terrorist attacks on our home soil.

So YES: the Democrats could do so much worse. And most likely would.

5/26/2006 9:26 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

And how did the administration do it? By borrowing $2 trillion and injecting it into the economy. Sheer genius. Got an economic problem? Break out the credit card!

The Dems could not have done worse than Bush in the "growth of government" and "economic irresponsibility" categories if they tried, even if they were allowed a head start and do-overs.

They also could not have been more incompetent in planning the occupation, or more corrupt than the current GOP leadership (though they're making a go of that last one).

The "no attacks since 9/11" line is a tired canard. There were no attacks in the eight years before 9/11, either. And the sort of tactics that are actually effective against terror -- taking out their havens, their money networks, their leaders -- are exactly the tactics that Democrats have embraced.

It's simply ludicrous to think that a Democratic administration wouldn't have taken effective steps to fight terrorism.

5/26/2006 10:03 PM  
Anonymous maxtrue said...

I won't get into the fight just yet, but certainly the Dems lead polls on domestic issues and Bush won on security issues with the help of Leftists looking insane quoting Iran, Hamas, Chevez and others. Perhaps this will shake the equation and give more power to the centrist Democrats Euston Manifest (thanks to Bobby B for the link) The Leftist reaction is a predictable riot. American Left hasn't quite awakened. And they are sure to blame for their part in the demise of the Liberal Consensus

Until the Democrats put their behavior in historical order, I do not see Independents and Liberal Centrists giving them a free pass.

5/27/2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in the Northeast,in NH. not exactly raging liberal. but can rightly be called moderate. there are 2 congressional seats here, both held by moderate republicans. they seem to hold pretty well. Bush and the right wing couldnt hold it here in 2004. The same is true for the senators, one (sunnunu)I think is up for re-election, with no opposition in sight
I think the only changes in congress we will see would be the likes of Ney,Jefferson who are involved in corruption scandals. otherwise I think the thought 'my congressman( even if republican) is doing fine' will hold good.
So even if I want the congressional majority change hands, it might not happen.
Of course, one should factor in the democrat's message or lack of in the whole picture. However in states like NY and CT the republicans ,even if moderate ,seem to be in trouble.
Ultimately it might be very close fight for congress.I would put my money on a slim Dem lead of 1-5 seats or close to a dead heat.
On the subject of Democrats not having a proper message or for that matter moderates not holding up the center .I think it is ok, but they should be a long term project of eductating electorate (through such blogs, for example). the education should be focused on how to eliminate pandering from the public life in this country.
since the 2000 elections It has almost become a crime to be sophisticated/learned and run for the high office.

5/28/2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Satterfield said...

The question that must be asked when you consider voting for a moderate Republican is that even if their personal views are moderate how often do they cave in to the pressure used on them by the leadership? I don't have that worry since no moderated Republicans will make it through primaries where I live.

And the other thing you must consider is the fact that when you vote for that moderate Republican you give the conservative Republicans more power simply by keeping the leadership positions in the hands of the conservative Republicans because your moderate representative has no true power in the deliberations of the Republican party. Not now they don't.

5/29/2006 6:11 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I'm getting sick of Hannity types with "You don't want to have to say 'Speaker Pelosi'! Vote GOP!" Give me something to latch onto, preferably besides gay marriage.

6/05/2006 8:33 AM  

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