November 8, What then?

We have vote by mail here in Oregon, so I’ve already voted. (Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to see another ad for the next few weeks?) So, let’s just suppose the election is done and we’re surveying the mess. What’s changed? What’s the same? Where do we go now?

If Republicans maintain control of the legislature, do we still hear "hold the course," or have they learned something from a public that seems to be growing weary of losses in Iraq? President Bush seems to have set the stage for a shift in strategy with the commission led by James Baker, yet the President has already said he won't consider a partition of Iraq. Is he dooming Baker's work to the trash bin?

Will Republicans encounter any public discontent over the erosion of civil liberties, or have their ominous images of terrorists and burning buildings kept the public cowed? Perhaps banning internet gambling and working to protect the sanctity of marriage has really wowed the electorate. If Republicans win, will they see their victory as a mandate for more of the same, or a warning of shifting sentiments? I think whichever party comes out on top, they should realize that "more of the same" is not what voters are looking for.

So, if Democrats gain control of the House? Does presumed Speaker Pelosi come to the podium and lockdown government with confrontation on every mundane issue possible, or is there a way to move issues with numerous little nudges in a different direction? I'm not in the habit of considering what I want Democrats to do, so I'll fall back on what I hope Republicans do: I hope they don't just dig in their heels. I wouldn't suggest that they give Democrats a free ride, but I would suggest that they try to take a "high road" and look for constructive solutions. The 2008 campaign begins on November 8, and the party that can project an image of "problem solving" will have an edge in two years.

Will Democrats really try to impeach President Bush, as some of the more zealous anti-war critics have suggested? I think they realize that any impeachment talk has too much potential to blow up in their faces. If either party uses their majority for mere self-preservation they'll likely face voter backlash in 2008.

Will Speaker Pelosi work to un-fund the Iraq war? I think there's too much risk that they would be seen as not supporting our troops. But if they put support behind some of the Baker commission recommendations, that could be a good thing.

Maybe the best to be hoped for is a split government that doesn’t do much of anything. As a proponent of smaller government I rather enjoy seeing a bit of deadlock now and then.

Michael

Posted by Michael Smith at October 23, 2006 5:21 PM
Comments
Comment #189736

Michael,

I’m with you, dead.lock has its advantages. I’m a irm believer if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. There is a lot broke, but Congress rarely has the courage to face anything significant until it’s reached crisis proportions.

I personally have never understood people who evaluate congress by the amount of legislation passed. I never thought of congress as a legislation mill with production quotas.

Posted by: gergle at October 23, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #189762

Maybe the Dims will show the country a change. Like wholesale killing of enemy combatants. Throwing away the book and torture to get info damn the terrorist for what they are and how to run down the constitution and rearange some Amendments that get in their way of total control.

Maybe even pick up the murder of unborn children in the name of privacy.

just a thought, they might get a lot more change than they bargain for if they bring out that damn whip of pulosi’s.

Posted by: lm at October 23, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #189763

A super majority in both houses would serve AMERICA.We Need more CONSERVATIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!We are moving in the RIGHT dierction;let’s keep it going.The Democrats have turned AMERICA toward Socialism.If the Dems win a majority.America will loose not just Conservatives.Socialism is not the American Dream.Freedom and Capitalism and a small Governmentthat does not micro-manage our private lives but protects us from those who would attack us.

Posted by: rdavidc at October 23, 2006 7:04 PM
Comment #189772

Right and Wrong…

The right way to look at the elections upcoming is to view each race upon the merits of each candidate, not upon party politics. Some Democrats and some Republicans deserve to be re-elected. Some deserve to be fired.

While it is true that a majority switch could mean dirtier politics, my hope is that the make-up on the new House and Senate will be more willing to work together to BETTER America. Some call for ALL Dems to be fired, some call for all Reps to be canned and some are calling for any who have received a campaign contribution exceeding $200 to be canned because they are “bought and paid for.” What stupidity!

Politics is best dealt with on a case-by-case basis. It takes energy and persistence on the part of the individual voter to discover the values and person of each candidate, then vote according to his conscience (we could only hope that the winning candidate would do the same after election). The only way to solve the bitter disputes is to elect good, decent, and honorable people to represent us.

Posted by: Don at October 23, 2006 7:27 PM
Comment #189776

Nov. 8 A new day in america Dems take both houses. Sanity is restored and all is well.

Posted by: Jeff at October 23, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #189777

Don-

That point of view is a little naive and idyllic, no? Representatives from both parties have shown time and time again that it takes an act of god for them to vote against the party line. Those that do are quickly chastised, like McCain was a few years ago or Lieberman today. For the most part, the vote is determined less by the person in the seat than the side of the aisle the seat is on.

That said, if the Dems win the house but not the Senate there will be an opportunity to advance some very important causes. Most important, in my mind, is the power grab that has recently been made by the executive branch. Congress is going to realize that Presideny Bush is on his way out, and the ‘08 election is going to be as tight as the last two have been. Are the Republicans in Congress going to be comfortable with the possibility of President Hillary Clinton holding the same powers they just granted to Bush? Hopefully we’ll see the repeal of the Patriot Act, the re-establishment of Habeas Corpus and the shoring up of privacy laws. Damage has been done during this administration that needs to be undone.

Posted by: David S at October 23, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #189784
As a proponent of smaller government I rather enjoy seeing a bit of deadlock now and then.
Deadlock does not equate to smaller government. It may not grow much larger, but it’s not likely to grow smaller. Posted by: d.a.n at October 23, 2006 8:07 PM
Comment #189787

David S -
“That point of view is a little naive and idyllic, no?”

Not naive, hopeful! Indeed idyllic! Would that more people had this idyllic POV!

Posted by: Don at October 23, 2006 8:17 PM
Comment #189790

David S

Yes let’s repeal the Patirot act so that all of our police and intelligence agencies will once again stop sharing information. Your right to Habeas Corpus and privacy have not changed any. So what exactly are the ems going to do to help, if they ever get back in power.

Posted by: Keith at October 23, 2006 8:35 PM
Comment #189840

I think that its a bit of a foregone conclusion that the Dems are going to take the House, so a lot will hinge on the Senate. If the Republicans keep control of the Senate, I doubt the Democrats will push hard for impeachment as they know it will be unlikely to get traction in the Senate. Also, with the Senate in Republican hands, Bush will have a little more latitude in any future judicial appointments and some leverage on the House for the legislative agenda. Also, he’ll probably have a better shot at getting his immigration reform policy put into law with a Democratic House than with a Republican House, ironically enough.

In the end, I think that this “do nothing” Congress will be eclipsed in ineptitude by a Democratic controlled Congress. I can see Speaker Pelosi mistaking a general malaise with Iraq being an endorsement of Democratic policies and trying to ramrod them through Congress, only to be vetoed by Bush again and again. Plus, if she goes overboard on hearings, which I’ll bet she will, I think Bush will end up looking like an oppressed victim of a witch hunt, much as Clinton did.

Jeff,

You’re gravely mistaken if you believe a Democrat Congress will magically solve the ills we face. The problem of Muslim terrorism is the result of a complex series of actions and policies that go back decades. Lack of economic advancement in the Middle East coupled with US support for dictators friendly to us are the root causes of this, and a change in Congress won’t change the past. Given the threat the Soviet Union represented, it made sense for us to support dictators in the Middle East, and I doubt that anybody foresaw the potential consequences. As did Clinton, Bush inherited a problem that was the result of decades of policy that won the Cold War at the expense of Muslim hearts and minds. They both reacted to the problems differently, Clinton emphasizing long term goals in what I feel was an overly optimistic manner at the expense of shorter term actions, such as breaking al Quaeda. In fairness to him, I don’t think he would’ve been able to mobilize the American people over the terrorist attacks that happened in his time in office, and his domestic problems didn’t help much. Bush has taken strong action against terrorist groups but at the expense of further alienating the Middle Eastern man on the street. Niether extreme of policy has worked very well.

Don,

David S is right that your hopes are a bit idealistic and idyllic, but that’s more a sad reflection on how warped and screwed up politics is nowadays that the idea that they would actually do what they’re supposed to do is considered idyllic.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 24, 2006 2:46 AM
Comment #189874

Maybe the best result come Nov is a split Government. After being the majority for over 12 years, I believe the Republicans have lost their “edge” and forgotten who they are.

They spend, scandal and abuse power like liberals. A little “house cleaning” can do wonders to refocus the group and get ready for 08

If the Dems take the House, I don’t see alot happening in the next 2 years. If they seek retribution, it will only screw up their chances in 08, and that’s not a bad thing for Conservatives. It they work with the Senate and President, then that’s good for the country and we all win.

Posted by: mac6115cd at October 24, 2006 10:40 AM
Comment #189917

mac,

You may have a point. The Republicans can certainly be considered for proof of the maxim that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I generally agree with Bush’s policies, so the idea of a rubber stamp congress isn’t so bad for me. Further, its natural to run defecits in wartime. What gets me about Republicans is that they make an issue of the fact that we’re at war and contrast themselves against the Democrats for it, then fail to secure the border and still put through pork barrel spending. The “Bridge to Nowhere” incident is the best example of this in my mind. A defeat for the Republicans might very well be the shot in the arm they need to return to true conservativism.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 24, 2006 1:04 PM
Comment #189924

Maybe an informed electorate will vote for the right people regardless of party affiliation and we will move away from Red vs. Blue Rovian politics and become just Americans again. We can work together to solve real issues like national debt, education, Iraq, terrorism, healthcare, border security etc. instead of gay marriage, flag burning and wars on Christmas.
Far right and Far left should suffer in November.
Are you willing to make them pay?
Will you vote based on issues that matter, not on this historic notion of party platforms.
Cons are fiscally responsible. Not any more.
Dems are against all wars. Have you heard any complaints about Afghanistan? No, just Iraq.
Cons want small government. Not any more.
Dems want welfare. No we don’t, just like we don’t like welfare for corporations and the wealthiest 15% of Americans. We want to see all Americans working, at a living wage that makes it possible.
Cons are morally superior. I hope you have come to realize that this is a myth.
Vote for the better candidate, because there is no better party.
Vote for change. Get rid of bad Republicans and Democrats.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 24, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #190119

Hello Andre, you back? You want a living wage when you work not welfare, well become worth what you make. If you want to make $25 ph you must be worth it. you cannot expect to make $25 ph when you are not bringing in a profit. remember salary is an expense. if all the money goes out to make workers feel good and fuzzy then no more jobs.

how many illegal aliens are worth minimum wage much less $15 ph?

One more reason socialism does not and will not work.

If the dims get it all back, and I don’t think they will as many voters are remembering the klinton days, we will see a change. We will bring our troops home and the raghead terrorist will be right with them. then you can show us how to fight a war right here on our own ground.

what a bunch of DAs.

Posted by: lm at October 25, 2006 7:27 AM
Comment #190147

Im,

I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.
My point was, vote out all bad politicians regardless of party.
You can do the whole “raghead”, blame the illegals stuff all you want. I want competent, uncorrupt, intellectual, open minded leadership to represent me.
What do you want? Name calling, divisive loud mouths who play the race card against immigrants and Muslims?
I sure hope not.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 25, 2006 10:53 AM
Comment #190201

I think most people and most Democrats by now realize that there’s not much point to impeachment at this point. First, there’s only two years left in this ordeal, and we’d spend the better part of those two years just to probably kick him out a few months early.

Second, and here’s the clincher: if the President is impeached, The Vice President takes over. It’s like firing Lenin only to hire Stalin. We’ll do better to uncover corruption, raise accountability and oversight and put sensible legislation through congress.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 25, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #190295

“A defeat for the Republicans might very well be the shot in the arm they need to return to true conservativism.”

Amen!

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 25, 2006 7:48 PM
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