Monday, July 31, 2006

The Problem for Democrats in 2006

It is getting so you cannot walk out the (internet) door without tripping over yet another disgruntled Republican. I posted on this topic a few weeks ago. Last week, we had several more prominent examples, among them former seven term Republican congressman and Korean war hero Pete McCloskey - who saw fit to call for a divided congress on his website:

"I have found it difficult in the past several weeks to reach a conclusion as to what a citizen should do with respect to this fall's forthcoming congressional elections. I am a Republican, intend to remain a Republican, and am descended from three generations of California Republicans, active in Merced and San Bernardino Counties as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area... It has been difficult, nevertheless, to conclude as I have, that the Republican House leadership has been so unalterably corrupted by power and money that reasonable Republicans should support Democrats against DeLay-type Republican incumbents in 2006. Let me try to explain why..."
Good reasons, good read, good man. Left of center blogs like Stupid Evil Bastard, Seeing The Forest, Huffington Post, and Suburban Guerilla, take note and find reason for confidence in the prospects for November. But Pete McCloskey is too easy to dismiss. For many Republicans, he is the ultimate RINO, as he supported Kerry for President in 2004. Moreover, he was just soundly defeated in a quixotic attempt to unseat incumbent Richard Pombo in the CD-11 Republican primary, and can be easily painted the color of sour grapes.

More difficult to dismiss is uber-conservative William Buckley, who was complaining last week on CBS that George W Bush is not a real conservative:
Again bloggers take note: Balkinization decided that Bush really is a "uniter" as he is managing to unite liberals and conservatives in oppostion to his policies, and if you read this post on the Intellectual Conservative, one is inclined to agree. Newsbusters, on the other hand, just can't handle the truth, that Buckley really is saying Bush is not a conservative. They develop a "nuanced" interpretation of Buckley's remarks that would frankly make Bill ("depends on what the defintion of is is") Clinton proud, claiming he was misquoted (by CBS on their own interview, on video). The post stands out as a clear indication of Republican concern.

David Broder takes the search for disgruntled Republicans to a new level. He does not even need to walk out the door to find one. He has a disgruntled Republican as a houseguest and writes about it in hs Washington Post column:
So, you may ask, what does all this have to do with the the title of this post? Where is this "so-called" problem for Democrats here? The problem is right there in the middle of the Broder article: "If it wasn't for Pelosi," he said, "I'd just as soon the Democrats take over this fall."

"If it wasn't for Pelosi..." In other words - No matter how far the Republicans have strayed from bedrock "limited government" conservative principles, no matter how rampant the corruption, no matter how important it is to restore checks and balance between the executive and legislative branches, the disgruntled Republican cannot get past these words: "Speaker of House - Nancy Pelosi." And if the disgruntled Republican cannot get past those words, then when the disgruntled Republican gets in the voting booth in November, the disgruntled Republican is going to vote Republican.

This then is the problem for Democrats in November:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?

From the Brodie column again:
Karl Rove has found the weapon of fear he needs to "locate and turn out their voters". It is the bogeyman of a San Francisco Liberal as Speaker of the House, and third in the line of succession to the Presidency. Rove will be fanning this fear with hurricane force. The windspeed is already picking up. Examples:

Evans Novak Political Report - The Absurd Report
Republicans Ace in the Hole - Mike's America
Did I wake up and its November already? - Carolina Conservative

Note, I am not commenting on Nancy Pelosi, her politics, or fitness for the role of Speaker of the House. I am merely observing that she is a hurdle for conservatives and disgruntled Republicans who would otherwise be reluctant to continue supporting this crop of big government, big spending Republicans. There are two possible cures for this particular electoral virus. The first cure is the divided government voting strategy - which can innoculate the conservative voter against this Roveian infection, with the white blood cells of historically documented fact: Divided government restrains government spending. I submit, that the divided government rationale can get conservatives over the Pelosi hurdle, essentially givng conservatives permission to vote Democrat. The reason for conservatives to vote Democrat in '06 is purely to cast a tactical vote to secure the objective of restraining spending thorugh the documented mechanism of divided government. Conservatives should also recognize that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not as so bad, when you consider the other cure:

My preference ...
Just Vote Divided.


Anonymous said...

great post (in other words - agree with it all) - and here it comes...BUT why not take the next step in your analysis? yes, you reach the rational behind your blog name and make your point well - but I can't believe you are not curious as to why the Pelosi problem exists. I know I am.

me thinks it has nothing to do with nancy pelosi. i'm guessing that your average conservative could not tell you if pelosi is a man or women. all they know is that pelosi is evil. she's the one who will impeach bush, abolish all relgion, desicrate marriage by forcing gay couples to marry, etc. she, like all other democratic leaders, is a cartoon figure. other cartoonish clowns include ted kennedy, harry reid, kerry, gore, hillary, sheehan and, of course, babs streisand. for some reason babs must be included in every list.

this is the m.o. of the current conservative movement which has the ability to create these characters through the media led by Fox and talk radio and then parroted by the rest of the corporate owned media. and thats the real big picture problem. certainly a divided government would have more ability to keep the negative forces that pervade our government in check, but it is merely a mechanism for containment and does not address the problem itself.

and that problem is primarily money. money is what got congress to allow for media consolidation. money is what secures even the worst rep or senator reelection at a 95% clip. money is why congress voted against middle class interest in 16 of 16 votes this past year. money is why we no longer live in a democracy.

there are lots of solutions - from publicly financed elections to splitting up the media conclogmerates, net neutrality, passing a law whereby corporations are no longer given the status of people and all that comes with it, the fairness doctrine, enforcement of the law, etc. unfortunately, it's probably too late. congress is too entrenched. there really is no opposition party. and one party controls the election apparatus.

that's my 2 cents anyway, though its probaby not worth that much. not quite as elegant as your post or your blob. so, i know you have opinion. as you state, if your gonna tell me how to vote, i'm at least entitled to know where you stand.

mw said...

thanks for the thoughtful comments.

"Why the Pelosi problems exists?"

She is a liberal and she is from San Francisco, both of which have been demonized by the right to the point of caricature exactly as you suggest in your comment. Much like Santorum, Cheney and other Republicans have been demonized by the left to a similar state of caricature. This is the nature of the highly polarized political climate that is the United States of America today, and for at least the last two admininistrations. Our side is good, the other guys are evil. Black. White. No gray. That is the simple reality, and it is not going to change any time soon.

How to fix it? Frankly, I can't agree with some of the solutions in your comment, as I think they have the potential to impinge on free speech. Even people with a lot of money to spend get free speech. That's part of the deal.

However, I do think we have arrived at a state where things are spinning wildly out of control in Washington. I have a lot of ideas about long term solutions, absolutely none of which can be implemented in any meaningful way in the next three months.

On the other hand, just the simple act of voting the Dems into a majority in the House, can have a huge impact on reigning in some of the executive power grab in this administration, applying some fiscal restraint, and getting some reform on the budgeting/earmarking process. This is the reason why I have this single minded focus on making the case for Divided Government in this blog. It is the only thing can have an impact in this timeframe. And it can have a big impact. But you are absolutely right - "it is a containment mechanism and does not address the problem itself." Right now, our problems really need to be contained.

Once we apply a tourniquet, and stop the bleeding in November, we can start working on some longer term therapies and see if we can get the patient healthy. Today - I don't see any alternative to triage on the political front.

BTW - Since I live in the 8th Congressional District, Nancy Pelosi is my representative in Congress. I actually disagree with most of her positions, and have voted against her in the past (generally voting for the Libertarian candidate). However, I do think the best thing that can happen for our country right now, is that she winds up as Speaker of the House. So she gets my vote this time.

Anonymous said...

see, here you are trying to be practicable. my pessimism precludes real world solutions. maybe if i thought the dems had any chance in november i would be more focused. your reply above leads me to believe that you are doing something to try to fix our election process. b/c until that happens, i don't see a divided gov't in the cards. but i've been known to be wrong before. one time in '89 i believe. i do hope you succeed. and if pelosi does become speaker she better start them invetigations immediately.

finally, i don't think you can compare the caricature of those on the left and the right as you suggest for a couple of reasons. first, the left does not have the media capability of the right. second, the two examples you give of cheney and santorum have contributed greatly to those caricatures. off the top of my head with cheney -- he headed the search for a vp and somehow managed to get himself chosen, he shot his friend, he dropped an f bomb in congress and refused to apologize, he wore a ridiculous outfit to aushwitz (?), he has blatantly lied on national tv more than handful of times after profusely denying the original statement, he dissappears for weeks on end, he is largely responsible for a great deal of misinformation on Iraq, there's the 1% doctrine, there are former friends of his who make statements like they don't know him anymore, halliburton, torture, i mean that alone paints a picture of a pretty comic figure if it were not all true.

santorum is no less bad if you believe in reason. otherwise, i agree.