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
, 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.
Georgia voted to limit it with 82% of the vote, and for that I cheer
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 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.