Monday, November 13, 2006

Post Mortem

Last week, the voters fired the Republican Congress.

If we try to read the election any other way, we will reach the wrong conclusions.

We can't whitewash it or pretend that it didn't happen. If we don't figure out why it happened and make significant changes, it will take a very long time to recover.

On the other hand, the election was not a vote FOR the Democrats. They did not present a clear platform or communicate a direction for the country, so they can not claim any kind of a mandate for their agenda. This was purely a vote AGAINST Bush and the Republican Congress.

It is vital that Republican's correctly interpret the message we got from the voters and make the correct changes.

First of all, we should not mistake it as a push to become more liberal. Many of the Democrats who were elected were conservatives. There was not a liberal ideological move in the nation which brought about this change in the control of Congress. It would be more accurate to say that the Republican Party moved to the left of it's core supporters, the voters responsible for electing Reagan in 1980 and a Republican majority in 1994.

It is also wrong to dismiss the election as purely a statement against the war in Iraq or support for Murtha's plan to abandon Iraq. Joe Lieberman, a strong supporter of victory in Iraq, was elected by a wide margin, rejecting an anti-war Democrat alternative. Some voters were expressing their view that we should not have gone to war in Iraq. That is a valid view, and one which I expressed back in January of 2003. Today 20/20 hindsight is not very relevant, because we must deal with the reality that we are at war in Iraq. But I do think that the election was a demand for improved results in Iraq. We need a better strategy for victory in Iraq, not to redefine surrender as victory. I am eager to see Baker's recommendations, and I would embrace a plan which results in a stable, democratic ally in Iraq.

After studying the results of exit polls on the issues driving this election, it becomes clear that there are several things Republicans must do to regain momentum. When CNN asked voters what issues were most important, Iraq was forth on the list, behind corruption, terrorism, and the economy. Exit polling found that voters trusted Democrats more than Republicans on the issues of taxes and spending. Up until two years ago, this position would have been completely unjustified, but today it is quite understandable.

Corruption in the Republican Party is a serious issue which needs to be addressed. As taxpayers and citizens we should not put up with it. Democrats are certainly not immune from corruption, as evidenced by William Jefferson and his deep freeze full of cash. But the party in control is always going to more prone to corruption, because they have more influence. Democrats have created the perception that corruption is a Republican issue, and capitalized on that perception very successfully. As Republicans we need to do a much better job of keeping our house clean so that we will be above reproach and don’t give our opponents the opportunity to undermine our effort.

Terrorism ought to be a winning issue for Republicans. Democrats are pathetically weak in defending our nation and responding to terrorists actions. We saw Clinton’s way of dealing with terror, and there is a clear distinction in the decisive way that President Bush has responded. This is a case where we just need to stay on message and communicate the distinction without allowing Democrats to turn a positive into a negative.

Republicans won control of Congress in 1994 on a platform of limited government, controlled spending, and tax cuts. Newt Gingrich became the torch bearer for the Reagan Revolution. For six years they governed according to these principles, and the result was a large reduction in the deficit and a strong, growing economy. However, when George Bush became President, it broke the gridlock and resulted in an inexcusable spending binge. The principles on which the Reagan Revolution was built were quickly forgotten. On this blog, I have been hollering about fiscal responsibility and controlling spending, but no one, not even our representatives in Washington DC, is really listening.

In my view, the point where we lost was when we switched from being principle driven to politically driven. We need a leader who is more like Ronald Reagan or Newt Gingrich and less like Karl Rove. I am not yet ready to single out one person as that leader, but Mitt Romney or Newt would be candidates.

There was a clear message sent last Tuesday. We need to listen, respond, and move forward.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Silver lining

We always try to keep an upbeat outlook, so I have gone out of my way to find the positive side to the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives. There are a few very definite upsides:
  • The New York Times and CNN will have much more favorable coverage of Congress
  • Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee lost, and Connecticut Democrat Joe Lieberman won. That is a net gain of two for the GOP.
  • We finally get to see the Democrat's plan for victory in Iraq.
  • Taxpayers will be relieved of the stress of making so many investment decisions.
  • Reduction in attacks on our troops in Iraq, since terrorists fear attorneys.
  • Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is now available for Supreme Court appointment.
  • NSA agents could soon be freed from having to listen to annoying terrorist chatter.
  • Since a lot of the polling places are in church buildings, millions of Democrats actually went to church yesterday.
  • Democrats can sleep more peacefully, now that they know that Karl Rove does not control everything.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Republicans in a funk

Polls indicate that Republican voters are feeling hopeless and depressed by the course of the nation. Mired by relentless barrage of painful publicity of plunging gasoline prices, record stock market levels, reduced tax rates and surging tax revenues, and the Bush administration's failure to produce inflation despite the lowest unemployment rate in more than fiave years, Republicans believe that it could not get any worse. Meanwhile, Democrats ride a wave of public adoration due to the party's clear, positive vision for protecting the civil rights of foreign terrorists, retreating from Iraq so that the rival Muslim sects can work out their differences without American interference, and a return to the Clinton-era "spirit of cooperation" with North Korea.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kerry blames GOP for botched apology

Senator John Kerry today issued a statement on his web page blaming Republicans for misunderstanding his botched attempt at an apology for his remarks about the intellectual capacity of American soldiers:
“As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troop. I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.“

The junior senator from Massachusetts said that “in the course of my botched apology, I inadvertently used the word ‘troop’ to refer an individual soldier. I also said that I ‘personally apologize’ when in reality I just posted a few sentences on my web site, addressed to no one in particular.”

“Come to think of it,” he continued, “my apology didn’t admit wrong doing, express regret for my actions, or offer to make things right. I really just blamed the troops for being dumb enough to misunderstand the nuance of my joke.”

“It has been suggested that the context of my remarks should be considered. After all, I did take a cheap dig at the President earlier in the speech, and it is unlikely that I would just take a shot at our troops out of the blue. Of course, in the bigger context of my life, insulting the American military is a favorite pastime of mine. My comments about uneducated failures getting stuck in Iraq is just a reprise of my old anti-Vietnam shtick, which is the cornerstone of my political career.”

“The true significance of my botched apology is that Republicans will do anything to divert attention from the quagmire in Iraq, even if it means letting a Democrat Senator scuttle his party’s political strategy on the eve of national elections.”

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry pays respect

To all of our troops fighting bravely around the world, standing up against the forces of evil and terror who hate America and the freedom it represents, John Kerry salutes you.

Here is what the Democrat's 2004 Presidential Candidate had to say:

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

John Kerry, who I must remind you, voted FOR the war (before voting to defund our troops who were already there) supports you, even though you are stupid highschool flunk-out losers who have no better career prospects than terrorizing women and children in the dark of night.

It's good to know you are appreciated, huh?