Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Confounded Expectations

Objector World Headquarters, Pittsburgh PA, and November 8th, 2007 - Well, I have to say, the elections yesterday really did confound my expectations. If you read it here you know that I didn't think it was wise for the Democrats to take the House as a single legislative branch. I really didn't think the Democrats would take the Senate. The last time I wrote for this site I allowed that I was becoming more optimistic, but in the back of my mind I was fully prepared for another two years of Republican control of Congress.

Anticipating a favorable outcome in Virginia, I'm pleased to see that I was being pessimistic.

I very sincerely hope that the Democrats stick with a progressive, but relatively safe agenda for the next two years. They will certainly need to consolidate and expand their majority in 2008 and hopefully gain the White House to become truly effective. That will never happen if they try to govern like a bunch of New Deal re-treads. The public didn't elect them to be leftists; they elected them because the GOP had proved its incompetence and the people demanded a move towards at least passably good governance. Being the only other party around, the Democrats got the gig. They shouldn't have any illusions that in the interim two years W will suddenly become a liberal's best legislative pal. Patience and small steps are counseled. Go for the low-hanging fruit. Allow the Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Throw some cold water on the orgy of pork barrel spending that emerged over the past six years. Hold hearings on the wasteful ways of defense contractors in Iraq. Go for the stuff the executive troglodyte can't make a sound argument against.

I was surprised to see Rumsfeld get thrown under the bus. I'll give Bush this much, he has rewarded the loyalty of his employees, even the ones who were making him look bad, with reciprocal loyalty. That is a pretty rare thing these days when most politicians seek to eliminate problems the minute they rear their heads. I believe this is the first truly high-profile sacking of a staunch loyalist during this administration.

Other items of note: Governorships flip to almost 3/5th majority for the Democrats. The good people of North Dakota reject a sweeping (and wholly political) ban on almost all abortions (a lesson in active democracy that NARAL might want to consider in other states instead of relying on the courts). Democrats won in the South which only two years ago people predicted we would never see again in our lifetime. They picked up the Arkansas Governor’s seat with that office still uncalled in Louisiana and Mississippi(!). They also picked up seats in the House and Senate in Virginia, Texas, Florida and Georgia and held the ones they already had. The GOP did not gain a single seat that they did not have before the election. Solid South indeed!

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention PA’s own Senate race. Rick Santorum lost. I’ve never been a fan of the guy, but I’m not going to gloat or scorch him either. Plain and simple, I think people just came to see him as being too tightly connected with issues that had nothing to do with Pennsylvania. He was famous for his values politics – some of which was interpreted as disparaging to the value of women in society. His constituents were repelled that a hard conservative would take advantage of school tax dollars to pay for his kid's private schooling. People wondered when he went to Florida to stand with the family of Terri Sciavo (sp?) whether he was representing Pennsylvania or whether he was trying to bolster his standing with the Christian Right for a 2008 presidential bid. I think he just wore out his welcome. I’ll be curious to see how long it takes for him to put his house in Penn Hills up for sale.

It is a fine day for Democrats. They’ve been given a real opportunity to bring congress back to some semblance of prudent public policy. I hope they use it with a degree of wisdom. It won’t be easy for them - after all they are subject to the same temptations the GOP faced over the past decade – but I think they have the capacity to make something of it.

Truly, the best of success to them.


Anonymous l.smith said...

Tonight I’ll go a murderin’
The man in the moon to a powder
His dog I’ll shake and his staff I’ll break
And I’ll howl a wee bit louder

7:21 PM  
Blogger Unconscionable said...

Yeah.... he burned like a Roman candle too.

7:47 PM  

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