Friday, November 10, 2006

Election Post Mortem: Democrats

Now the Democrats have siezed control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years, and outright control of the Senate to boot. They were more so beneficiaries of a tired and corpulent Republican majority, as well as fatigue with the perceived lack of progress in Iraq. The Democrats were able to win majorities by not offering any real alternatives, but by aggressively putting out the message that Republicans were wasteful, corrupt, and inept.

Credit needs to be given to Rahm Emanuel, who is largely responsible for the Democratic resurgence. Emanuel recruited candidates that would appeal to red-state voters: pro-gun, nominally pro-life, and adverse to tax and spend politics.

This victory is a great opportunity for the Democrats to become the pro-growth, hawkish party they once were. This election can be seen as repudiation of the Kossites, as their messiah, Ned Lamont was thoroughly thrashed by Joe Lieberman. A democratic majority that would run on a pro-growth, economically populist, and militarily robust party could garner a natural constituency. That, coupled with gubernatorial wins in several states which would provide the opportunity to re-draw more Democratically favorable congressional districts after the 2010 census, could start the beginning of the ascendancy of the party for a long time.

However, should the Democrats not heed the lessons of the Republican defeat and their own defeat of just twelve years ago, they can very well be doomed to repeat it. Art Laffer, the famed economist, said at a lecture I attended that the electorate hasn't really changed over the years, but the political parties have. He said there is a natural majority of the electorate that is pro-growth with a strong foreign policy. From the 30s through the 60's, it was the Democrats that embodied this, while the Republicans were isolationists and anti-growth. Roles reversed in the 70s and 80s. The Clintons managed to co-opt a lot of this during the 90s, but lost it when Clinton left office when the Democrats became infused with Bush Derangement Syndrome. They were rebuffed in 2002 and 2004 because they were seen as anti-growth and weak on national defense.

Thus lies the problem, they must eschew their baser tendencies to tax, spend, and incite more partisan rancor with unnecessary investigations and gridlock. So that means that they will end up infuriating the leftists on their base. But if they're willing to buck them (and they have proven that they have not delivered a single winner yet for the party) and grasp building a greater and lasting majority, the opportunity is there.

My take on it is that the opportunity is there, but it will be squandered. The problem is that the Pelosis, the Conyers, the Rangels, the Waxmans, the Waters of the party are socialists and their baser tendencies will override the bigger picture. I don't think that they can necessarily do what it takes to build that majority, but I can see the Republicans blowing it too.

I guess we'll be able to tell by what they do over the next few months. Stuff like John Bolton comes to mind. If they let him come to a vote, they're looking big picture. If they stuff him in committee and use him for partisan grudge settling, then they're not ready for prime time.


At 4:03 AM, Blogger The Salmon of Knowledge said...

Nice work on that Mitch,

though, I'll need to take issue witha couple of points in your write up.

1) The lack of progress in Iraq is not simply "perceived", its real. The US taxpayer has coughed up to this point approximaely $300 billion and 3000 lives, the fruits of which are an increased fatality rate, and the proverbial no end in sight.

The LA Times carried a piece recently on the shambles that is the health care system in Iraq currently.,0,3477207.story?coll=la-home-headlines

There is definitely real a "lack of progess". The elected government sits idle, US casualty rates are rising, money hemmorages from the US, and US troops stand in the firing lines in a civil war that we can neither actually win or lose.

2. While you correctly credit Rahm Emanuel for his recruiting of candidates, Dont you just have to ask what is wrong with the GOP when its gotten so bad that moderate conservatives in the mid south will actually put forth the effort to run as Democrats. For years the spin machines on the right have been screaming that the Democratic party is run by its anti war wing. Yet, at the first major accounting since the 2004 election, the Democrats appear to have again reached big tent mode. This isnt because the GOP folded on its conservative principles.... its becuase their supposed "principles" were out of whack with the mainstrema America... even in places like Kentucky, INdiana and Virgina.

3.) As for John Bolton, its the Bush admin that is hiding him instead of resubmitting him before this lame duck GOP onctrolled session of congress. If Bolton is the right choice, why would the administration not presnt him before a congress who faces no consequences in voting for him.

Simply put, Bolton is an ingredianet in failed foreign policy, and the electorate has learned by now that having flag wavers in positions of actual consequence doesnt translate into the real world very well.

Like with the resignation of Don Rusmfeld, the charade is over and exposed for the fruitleess self righteousness that it is.

At 4:19 AM, Blogger The Salmon of Knowledge said...

4) I guess I dotn get why they shoudl eschew investiagtions and hearings into whats happened re; Iraq?

This would just be a continuation of the lack of accountability that was among the Republicancongress' numerous vices. and not unlike the Ford parding of Richard Nixox as far as malfeasance unaccounted for. Of course the Republicans will denounce any attempt to hold them accountable under the guise of 'moving forward'.

The only logical defense I can see against call for investigations into the endless parade of misinformation, misappropriation, graft and dishonsety that have beset the war effort thus far is if a 1994 Republican freshman will come out and show us how much they regret the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the highly partisan era that it ushered in..... I wont hold my breath.

At 4:34 AM, Blogger The Salmon of Knowledge said...

sorry to keep adding posts....

But re; Pelosi, Rangel, et al not ebing able to handle their diverse party. I dont worry a bit. the Democratic Party has a long history of operating as a conglomerate of social liberals, organized labor, free thinkers, etc. Theyre able to do so because each of the factions contained within the party are focused on issues of secular nature.

The Republican party will have greater difficulty in keeping its centrsist support( to some that may means the pro growth /foriegn policy crwod of which Art Laffer speaks) reconciled with the moral absolutists in its Evangelical base.

There were serious cracks in evangelical support this time around....and with Democrats poised to enforce at least some measure of accountability in Iraq, the Bush admin forced by the will of the people to go along, the evangelical dream that Iraq serves as some sort of fulfillment of end time prophecy appears less and less likely.

Liberals arent supposed to know any better.....but th GOP on the other hand


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