Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Republicans Earned It

The Federal Elections

Well, the mid-term elections are in, and the Republicans faced the music for becoming a party in power acting like a party trying to keep power. What we know is that the Democrats routed the Republicans in the House, and you will all now be saying Maddam Speaker Pelosi. Many of the new Democrats are conservative Dems, but that won't make much difference. The agenda and committees will be run by long time serving uber-liberals.

The Senate, while officially undetermined, is going to go Dem also, as both Virginia and Montana, two states that should belong to the Republicans, will soon be called for the Dems.

In many ways, I see this as a positive. The Republicans perhaps will become conservative agenda focused again, which propelled them to power in the House in 1994. Maybe they could read that Contract With America again. Even in a post-9/11 world, that document describes good government. I didn't read anywhere in there about increasing spending beyond all control, expanding the Federal education department, lacking the guts to even try to reform social security or bringing a bunch of new entitlement programs on line.

Don't get me wrong. This is a victory for the party supported by the Communists (the official website here) and the Islamic Terrorists. That is sad. [Note: This AP article all but admits that those who want a weaker, less influential America wanted the Dems to win.] But it cannot be denied in my mind that the Republicans did everything to earn this defeat. My only hope is that they can regroup and ensure that America does what it needs to do in the War on Terror. And maybe they can come back looking more like the focused, principled Party of 1994 and less like the liberal, big spending, vote buying Party they were in 2006.

I must also admit that a Congress and President that can't pass anything might be a good thing, at least on domestic matters. In international policy, it really doesn't matter. President Bush has shown a willingness to do what he wants without Congressional authority. That isn't a criticism per se. It just is. So while I think Congress needs to pass laws dealing with the handling of terror suspects, I don't think gridlock will stop President Bush from doing what he thinks is necessary. I can only hope he handles that trust well.

FWIW, I really hated to see Steele lose in Maryland. I was rooting for that guy.

The States Give A Mixed Message

In many states, other issues were used to get people to the polls. People, ignorant of economics, continued to vote to increase the minimum wage, a wage that only applies to teenagers and the otherwise unemployable. All states considering minimum wage increases voted for them. Union pay is often tied to minimum wage, and other jobs that pay more than minimum wage will have to increase their pay, which is the real reason behind such measures. So what if a few jobs are lost entirely.

A good summary of state initiatives is here.

Other states dealt with the gay marriage issue again. As I understand it, 7 of 8 states voted for the bans. Arizona was the lone holdout, and the first state to reject the ban. This could be a trend in favor of the gay activists who seek to change the meaning of the word "marriage." Or, it could be that the ban in Arizona was overreaching as it also sought to ban civil unions or domestic partnerships, something with which most people generally have no problem. The Cheese doesn't think gay marriage should be a constitutional issue -- it should simply be a legislative issue. But, the Cheese understands why these bans are necessary. State Supreme Courts, ignoring their role, may otherwise change the law without regard to the legislative process. It has happened in Mass. and very recently in New Jersey. So these bans are probably necessary to either limit or send a message to the state Surpeme Court justices.

Abortion also went to the ballot box. South Dakota rejected 55-45 a tough ban on abortion in all cases but the life of the mother. This again could be simply overreaching -- people are hung up on the rape/incest exceptions, even though they constitute a miniscule number of abortions. Or it could mean that the majority of people, even in somewhat conservative South Dakota, are pro-choice. I think it was probably both. In any event, I think it was great that the issue was voted on in South Dakota. Abortion belongs to the political process, not the Courts. How it turns out I care less about, though this blog is moderately pro-choice until viability, and extremely pro-life after viability (Note: I did not ask the other contributors their opinions -- I unilaterly made this position the one for the blog).

Eminent domain limits were also on the ballots, though I don't know how most states did on that measure, but a Yahoo search reveals headlines that suggest most measures passed. For some reason, CNN didn't think this issue was worthy of its state initiatives chart linked above.

Elsewhere, land use was a hot issue, part of a backlash against a 2005 Supreme Court ruling allowing the city of New London, Conn., to buy up homes to make way for a private commercial development.

Eleven states considered eminent-domain measures barring the government from taking private property for a private use; Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Carolina approved them overwhelmingly. In four states - Arizona, California, Idaho and Washington - voters could require state and local authorities to compensate property owners if land-use regulations lowered the value of their property.

Georgia voted to limit it with 82% of the vote, and for that I cheer. Georgia also protected hunting and fishing rights with a constitutional amendment by 81% of the vote.

Stem-cell measures were also on the ballot in a few states. I think the Michael J. Fox crowd won these, but I'm not paying attention to this non-issue. If the research is promising enough, private money will finance it.

Georgia's Republican governor, who upset the incumbent 4 years ago, won in a landslide. He is a pretty good Gov., and our state is doing well. I applaud his victory. Georgia also elected the first Repbulican Lt. Gov. ever -- though I voted against him as explained below.

In Georgia, lots of tax issues are handled by a referendum. I must admit that these piss me off. They were as follows: expand homestead exemption for the elderly and surviving spouses of peace officers and firefighters, extend ad velorum exemption to farming equipment, verteran organizations which refurbish historic aircraft (what?), and charitable institutions, and give surviving spouses a base year value homestead exemptions.

What does all that mean? It means, essentially, do you want to give tax breaks to the elderly, farmers and surviving spouses of police and firefighters, and make the rest of us pick up the tab. The response, overwhelmingly, was yes. I voted no on every one of these measures except for the one that applied generally to all charitable institutions.

I think tax policy should be off limits to such games and free-riders. The elderly are the wealthiest class in our society on average, and they get the most tax/entitlement benefits. They should pay their taxes like the rest of us. The spouses of firefighters are no worse off than the spounses of construction workers who die on the job. We all must face spouces who die. There should be no special tax break class for this. I am all in favor of low taxes and low spending. But I hate special tax exemptions. We should all pay our share, to some degree. I voted Libertarian, and against the Republican candidate for Lt. Gov. in Georgia (he won anyway). I voted Libertarian in a few races anyhow, but I primarily voted this way because the Rep. candidate wants to eliminate the income tax on ALL senior citizens. Right, that's fair -- I have to pay more income tax because Ted Turner is exempt from state income tax. This type of tax policy making is garbage.

Here is looking to the future. I hope to find a principled, serious, and mostly conservative leader for 2008, and a large group of followers to take back the Congress from the Party supported by the Commies and Terrorists.


At 12:16 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Don't count Virginia's senate race over yet. The margin for Dem Jim Webb is razor-thin, and there are an awful lot of absentee ballots yet to be counted from our Virginia men and women serving overseas. I look for this raqce to be contested well into December.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Before I even read it KJ, not from me. Never from me.

Your analysis is well-written and coherent. It makes me wish I could believe most people vote that way.

Unfortunately, having listened to weeks of ads telling me various candidates sided with W 90% of the time, I find that hard to believe. We all know what the moose in this particular room was.

The truth is that you and spd were right all those weeks ago, or at least I am hopelessly stuck in a position I cannot abandon because I would cease to be who and what I am for better or worse. And so my friend, I leave all of this in your far more capable hands :)

I'm so glad to see you writing again.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Well, it's never clear to me whether and how many absentee ballots there are out there. But I doubt it make up the difference. If it does, fine. I would prefer a slip Congress to one controlled by Dems, especially if a Dem is in the White House in two years.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Desert Cat said...

I must also admit that a Congress and President that can't pass anything might be a good thing, at least on domestic matters.

Kidding, right? Has Bush ever seen a bad bill he isn't willing to sign?

I have no confidence we'll see anything like government gridlock in the next couple of years on the domestic side.

At 3:52 PM, Blogger KJ said...

I think Bush is less likely to sign bills coming from a Democratic Congress, even if he would have signed them coming from a Republican Congress.

But that remains to seen.

We can certainly count on illegal alien amnesty being passed though.

At 9:08 PM, Blogger Pile On® said...

I will not argue with you that Republicans brought this on themselves. They deserve to lose.

But as long as we are handing out just desserts, any conservative who stayed home or cast their votes for loser 3rd party candidates deserves the following.

**their tax cuts not renewed.

**amnesty for illegals

**no judges to the right of Souter

**the appeasement of terrorists, we may well be Bin Ladens paper tiger

At 10:07 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Well, I disagree with you on the third party candidate comment, if that candidate is one the voter wanted to support. In fact, right now the Greens helped make Virginia as close as it is. But you aren't talking about me. I only had one Congressional race, and I voted for the winner.

At 1:43 AM, Blogger camojack said...

We've been going through obstructionism from the Left; now it'll be obstructionism from the Right. Common theme: obstructionism...basically, status quo.


At 6:54 AM, Blogger Pile On® said...

Here is what I mean by that comment KJ. The dems now control the senate. In Montana Conrad Burns lost by about 3 thousand votes. The losertarian candidate Stan Jones, who made some comments that one could reasonably conclude he didn't even know what office he was running for, got 10 thousand votes.

Wasting votes on these egocentric losers makes a mockery of the right to vote that people have given their lives to preserve. If you want to make a difference, run in the primaries. If you want the ego rush of seeing your name on the ballot, go third party.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger KJ said...

I don't know anything about Montanta's libertarian candidate, but there are differences between libertarians and Reps and Dems. Moreso than b/t Dems and Greens even. And our country has not always been Reps and Dems -- parties change from the outside and the inside. We need more than two parties I think. If you want the libertarian vote, act more like a libertarian.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

I agree with Pile.

People want to have a three, or even four party system. The fact is that they do have that in Europe and it doesn't work. It's a superficially attractive idea that requires more commitment on the part of voters than they are willing to put in to stay informed and make rational choices. The fact is that Perot handed the election to Clinton. But we had a so-called third choice. Yee ha.

We have to live in the real world even if it isn't the world we'd like it to be, and that means making compromises and forming consensus to get and keep power. That means you aren't going to get the candidate who ascribes to your particular list of issues - no a la carte voting. Things gravitate to the center.

This is why the erosion of federalism is such a bad idea - it only exacerbates this tendency to agglomerate and homogenize issues and people tune out when they are no longer local, but federal. Face it KJ - we all checked our ideological purity at the door a long time ago.

This is why I have such issues with you guys b**ching about the Shrub. I think your beefs are impractical - he has to live in the real world and that said, he's been pretty damned gutsy about the things he cares about. They may not be the ones you care about.

But you choose your battles. When I look at what is likely to matter to my grandchildren - survival, for one - I'm damned glad the man is in office and I can't think of a single other man who would have stood the test.

/rest of rant preemtively deleted in the interests of preserving my rapidly vanishing sanity

At 11:35 AM, Blogger KJ said...

Every time someone sells out to principles, he calls it being a realist. Excuse me for expecting some compromises to be made in my favor. I refuse to reward people who aren't listening to me. I sucked it up and voted for Bush, and my Rep Congressman got my vote, but he is pretty libertarian but strong on defense as it is, so that wasn't much of a compromise for me. I am also suggesting that one day, either the Rep or the Dems will disappear altogether. I agree we tend back to 2 parties. But we don't have Whigs anymore. They imploded and were replaced.

I agree we need Federalism. Third parties are useful at the state level. Ventura won a governorship as a third party candidate. Perot won nearly 20% of the national vote. We have two independent Senators and one Representative. Third parties aren't always losers, and they aren't always bad.

Sure, Perot handed Clinton the election, but the Rep. Congress after 1994 kept Clinton in check most of the time. Bush didn't deserve re-election. He left Iraq undone and raised taxes in violation of his pledge. I voted against him for that. Would do it again if the next president is a Rep and he leaves Iraq undone and raises taxes.

That Perot's "new party" couldn't keep that momentum is a shame, but when the Republicans are lame and the Dems are lame, some people rightly choose to make a statement. Better this election than in 2008. Maybe the Reps will listen. If not, we are all going to suffer. But they still need to listen. Bush and the Rep. Congress frankly made too many compromises and given up on too many issues for me. I didn't punish them, but the conservatives in this country did. If you don't punish, you just get more of the same.

Again -- I didn't do this. My only libertarian votes were at the state level, and had I not voted libertarian, the person I would have voted for won anyway. I acted as the realist. But I understand these people's desire to vote for the best candidate.

Why is building a coalition always OK when I'm the person being ignored? I want national security first, so I sucked it up in 2004 and voted for Bush. But except for low taxes, he hasn't really done anything I wanted, and that includes some of his actual campaign promises, e.g., Social Security reform. And he gave up on those issues pretty easily. In other words, he really didn't want to fight for those issues -- he just paid those issues lip service to get my vote.

Well, some people feel (and I am one of them sometimes) that if they can't vote for the people they want, and they compromise for the "best" potential winner, then that person doesn't come through, why not punish them. And that included a whole load of Republicans this year. They run as conservatives and on fiscal responsibility. And they didn't deliver that -- instead they gave us a bridge to nowhere and voted to hide the line items on the budget. They deserved to lose.

Hopefully, as I said in the post, they will find their calling again. If not, the country is in trouble. But I refuse the blame the people who vote for the best candidate.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Suffice it to say that I disagree with you, KJ.

I would love for you to name another President who has tackled the number of big controversial issues this one has, especially during a war. I really don't think you are being terribly realistic about the prospects for success - he didn't give in on SS until it was apparent HIS OWN PARTY wouldn't even back him. That was the problem - exactly that people were doing what you describe - not being willing to form a consensus for the reason of getting some reform even if it wasn't exactly what they wanted.

So now we still have a broken system that will never be fixed at all. The perfect became the enemy of the good. What a victory for America.

I have to tell you KJ that I would like to find a principled serious and mostly conservative leader too.

But that person is not electible in the United States of America, nor IMO will he ever be. So what in the hell are you going to do with that person, once you find him?

At 3:28 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Well, Cass, much of my argument is actually about the Congress, but Bush is included. If he had simply failed to do what he promised, ok. But he didn't just not tackle social security. He affirmatively gave us by pushing or signing the drug plan, big discretionary budgets, McCain-Feingold and a growing Dept. of Ed. Congress helped, and for that, they too should be punished.

All I'm saying is the 1994 version of congress was much better. If it takes making the Reps a minority again to get that back, so be it. The Reps can win this back. But if they want my support, they need to be more like 1994, not 2006.

BTW, another reason I disagree with you is b/c I think arguments like yours keep losers, Rep or Dem, in office. Should the liberal voter in Louisianna vote the bribe taking Jefferson back into office b/c he is more liberal than the Rep running against him? No. Honest govt is more important than ideology. Then, in 2 years, vote for a liberal Dem if that is what you want. But don't reward someone who doesn't deserve it. Just like the Rep shoud vote against a Rep who took bribes or betrayed your trust. I see this election as that sort of correction. Hopefully.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger KJ said...

"So what in the hell are you going to do with that person, once you find him?"

Make him a CEO? Hell if I know.

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

But KJ, you and I have our eyes on different balls, so to speak. And I see things from a vastly different perspective.

I elect a President for foreign policy. I expect Congress to take care of most of the domestic front.

What happened to foreign policy while Clinton was in office?

1993 WTC
1993 former Pres Bush almost assassinated by a 'contained' Hussein in Kuwait
1995 Oklahoma City
The USS Cole
Khobar towers
the travesty in Mogadishu
the embassy in Nigeria

fast forward a bit

September 11th, 2001

THAT'S what I expect the President to take care of.

And what was the wonderful Congress doing during that time period? They gutted our armed forces, KJ. We lost infrastructure and manpower we will never regain. The military was running out of bullets and had to stop training for lack of funds. Life looks different from where I live and work.

But I don't want to argue with you. If there is one thing the past two months have convinced me of, it is the utter futility of words.

Not much to look back on, it is? :)

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

or... is it?

See. I am not even making sense anymore, if i ever was. Which is doubtful :p

At 4:22 PM, Blogger KJ said...

I'm confused Cass. You think we disagree, but I think we agree. I am mad at Bush (which you just hate), but I too elect a President for national security. That is why the Congress is the proper entity to punish when you are mad about the domestic front.

In choosing a President, I will vote for one issue in 2008 -- who will best fight the WOT. If it is the Dem, so be it. Congress is a different evaluation.

But that doesn't mean I should shut up about the domestic failings of the President. He did, after all, run on those issues, too.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

KJ, I think maybe I need to stop talking about this now. Every time this comes up, I try to engage and you guys accuse me of asking you to shut up or not wanting you to disagree with me, and that seems totally unfair when here I am having a conversation with you about it.

I took the time out of my day when I dont' really have it because I was so happy you had posted something.

I don't know what I'm doing that gives off that impression, but obviously it is something wrong, so I think I'd better just stop now. Whatever I said or did, I apologize.

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Pile On® said...

Okay great, congress has been punished.

We are Bin Ladens paper tiger. Terrorists are emboldened. Recruitment for Al Qaida will be up. People will die.

Pat Leahy is the chair of the senate judiciary committee. Don't expect anything close to Alito or Roberts for a long time to come.

Who is it exactly we are punishing here?

Again, if you are serious about change the primary is the place.

Anything else is all for ego. Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura were all about stroking their own ego.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Cass -- my bad. I was unfair to imply that. I'm glad we are having this discussion. Don't quit on me.

Pile -- Now who is being naive, Kate (Godfather line)? There are no primaries with incumbents. It is impossible to mount much of a primary against an incumbent. The party supports the incumbent every time -- there is no way to raise money. Primaries are for opposition party candidates and to replace the retiring candidate. Lieberman was a rare exception, and we see how that turned out (heh). It requires a perfect storm to beat an incumbent in a primary.

At 11:56 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Pile, I admit I would have preferred a 50/50 in the Senate b/c of the judge thing. Thanks to the Green Party, Allen almost held Virginia.

At 6:58 AM, Blogger Pile On® said...

You are right KJ, 3rd parties are so much more successful than running in a primary. I year there is a libertarian on the water board somewhere in Louisiana.

Plus running in the general election you get the added bonus of helping the party whose views are the farthest from your own win.

**scratching head**

At 7:39 AM, Blogger KJ said...

Greens and Dems go hand in hand. No doubt.

But lots of libertarians lean Dem, not Rep. That is not the same perfect correlation.

Look, Pile. You are right to a degree. I'm just saying, sometimes principle is worth it. Sometimes, you sell out. I do both depending on the circumstances. Reasonable people can draw the line in different places.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

No no no! Reasonable people can only draw the line where *I* say! :p

Major group hug, with a twist of lemon.

KJ, you know I adore you knuckleheads. Otherwise your opinions wouldn't be so important to me - Lord knows I don't waste time worrying what anyone else thinks about me.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

But lots of libertarians lean Dem, not Rep.

Personally I always thought you guys leaned... oh, nevermind.

*running away*

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Pile On® said...

Look, Pile. You are right to a degree.....KJ

You know KJ, you will be a valuable member of my administration, but I think I am going to need a few yes men too.

At 11:02 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Yes, sir. I understand.

(I can be all things.)

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

You know KJ, you will be a valuable member of my administration, but I think I am going to need a few yes men too.

It's lines like that that just make my morning. I am still smiling.

Knuckleheads :)


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