Saturday, September 22, 2007

Friday Flotsam (Saturday morning edition)

We wrap up the week by cleaning up some of the flotsam that washed ashore on the small beach serving as a metaphor for our little island of rationality in the great blogospheric ocean.

Yeah, yeah - I know it is Saturday, I just like the Friday Flotsam alliteration.

The Week that Was
It was not a week to be proud of our government and media. The Senate failed to restore the great writ Habeas Corpus by a vote of 56 For - 43 Against. This was shortly after failing to pass The Webb Amendment to limit the amount of time soldiers can be deployed in Iraq without down time at home. The measure was co-sponsored by Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel, the only two combat ground troop veterans in the Senate. It failed by a vote of 52 For - 47 Against. The week finished with the failure of the Reid - Levin Amendment 47 For - 47 Against which sought to change the mission of the troops in Iraq, set a timetable and begin their withdrawal. All these measures failed with a minority in opposition, because a sixty vote plurality is required to overcome a filibuster and pass these measures in the Senate.

While this was going on, the media was consumed by O.J. Simpson's arrest in Las Vegas, and a sophomoric newspaper ad by the Political Action Committee. Well, at least we in the blogosphere can hold our collective head high, knowing we were able to maintain some perspective, kepp our priorities right, and attention firmly focused on what was really important:


The Senate Moves On
The Senate did somehow manage to pass something - a measure to condemn the MoveOn NYT newspaper ad. In the context of the other votes this week, it is particularly galling that this is what the Senate considered a priority. My opinion of the Ad is in the left sidebar, but I will amplify a bit here. The MoveOn Ad was pure political masturbation. It may have felt good to the left-handed rosy palmed players, but as it persuaded exactly no one, there was no political intercourse. Something that MoveOn might have noticed if they could tear themselves away from the mirror and the "object" of their affection. The Senate vote was an equivalent exercise in political masturbation by right-handed self abusers. It is perfectly understandable why Republicans seized on the Ad as an issue. It was certainly a great deal more fun for Republicans and the right wing to play with themselves condemning a meaningless Ad, rather that deal with the majority of Americans that oppose this war. They would have to be completely delusional or believe that Americans are stupid to think that attacking this Advertisement drove any support for continuing this war. In fact, the additional focus on the ad fueled by the Republican's cynical outrage, apparently did succeed in driving another million dollars or so of contributions to Move-On. Money that will probably be used for more effective advertising against Republicans in 2008.

Nevertheless, the week is being hailed by right of center blogs and pundits as a victory for the Right and Republicans. If so, it was a pyrrhic victory. Through their actions, the minority Republicans in the Senate continue to tie the party's 2008 electoral hopes to a wildly unpopular President, and a wildly unpopular war. Minority votes can carry the day in the Senate. But minority votes do not carry elections. We are a representative Democracy. That Republican Senate minority is representative of a comparable minority in the US electorate. The wish of the majority of the electorate in the United States is being frustrated by the votes of the minority in the Senate. Here is a thought experiment to consider:

Which scenario do you think is more likely in 2008?
A frustrated majority electorate suddenly deciding to support minority candidates who ignored their policy preference?
- or -

A frustrated majority electorate taking out their frustration on an obstructionist minority party that ignored their policy preference?
No need to answer. It's a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious. The 2006 midterms were instructive in that regard.

The Republican right minority has become so ingrown, so incestuous, and so used to talking only to itself, that it can't seem to escape the delusion that a majority of Americans will support continuing this war or this President's policies. Newt Gingrich's warning to the Republican party should not go unheeded. Mitt Romney is the only top tier Republican candidate that appears to be getting the message. Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate that understands it perfectly.

For any readers stumbling on this post who are not regulars, let me be clear about my electoral preference - I vote for the restrained spending, better governance, and the effective oversight that is only obtained with divided government. The Dems will maintain their majority in the House, and the only suspense in the Senate outcome will be whether the Dems achieve a 60 vote plurality. My best guess is they just fall short, but it is not a sure thing. As a consequence, I will vote for whoever the Republicans nominate for President regardless of who the Democrats nominate for President. This is purely a practical consideration, as the only hope of re-electing a divided government in 2008 is to elect a Republican president. Unless the Republican party wakes up and starts to ignore the vocal minority on the right, I will not be optimistic.

I have been remiss in calling attention to some fine Carnivals and blog compilations posted over the last few weeks, Coincidently these compilations have seen fit to include some DWSUWF posts in their fine collections. Check them out.
Finally, let me call your attention to what promises to be an interesting and fun compilation as Jon Swift takes charge of the "Blog Round Up" at Crooks & Liars beginning this Sunday, September 23, 2007. If you are familiar with Jon Swift's modest efforts on his blog, you have some idea what to expect when he collides with the oh so earnest readership of Crooks & Liars. If not, just check it out. It is sure to be entertaining.

The beach is clear. One more reminder. Blog articles may be submitted for the next edition of the carnival of divided government (to be posted on or about Halloween) using the carnival submission form. Submitted posts must use include the words and/or concept of "divided government" to be considered. Past posts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

UPDATE (Saturday evening / Sunday morning):
Corrected typos. Added graphic. Turd polished. Added Ohio Jill per Pho comment. Added links.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.

Carnival of Divided Government


Scott Piepho said...

Two things. First off, credit where it's due, my friend Jill prepared the Ohio Carnival this week. There's a team of four of us splitting up admin duties.

As for the Ohio requirement, yea we are trying to tighten it up. I'm not sure how Paul (the Carnival founder) started posting your stuff but the idea has always been to showcase Ohio bloggers. As the Carnival has grown, we've needed to edit a bit.

I love DWSUWF and will continue reading. I hope at some time you find something to say about Ohio and submit again. As for "unfair," well need I point out that a post extolling the virtues of one-party government wouldn't make the Carnival of Divided Government?

mw said...

Thank for stopping by and leaving a comment. I corrected the credit on the post, but I was actually linking to COOP #80, which I think you did put together.

My tongue was firmly in cheek with the "unfair" comment. I am much more rigorous with my Carnival about on-topic posts. That said I was curious how I snuck into COOP in the first place. I believe it was this post in COOP #48 where I was predicting the mid-term election results - a post that was arguably relevant to Ohio. I guess I just got grandfathered in ever since.

Regarding future posts on Ohio - I dunno. I will be in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan next week. As you may know, the UP was ceded to Michigan as a direct result of the Ohio Michigan "Toledo" War of 1835. Michigan got the entire UP in compensation when they gave up claims to the 468 square mile Toledo Strip wrongly claimed by Ohio. Michigan definitely got the better end of that deal.

Still, not sure if I will be able to work that into a blog post. I'll be too busy fishing.

James Higham said...

Hope you don't mind me stealing your Ron Paul banner, MW.

mw said...

Not at all. I don't even remember where I stole it from. Probably the Ron Paul site. Great blog(s) BTW. I don't know how you can maintain so many blogs. Its all I can do to get 2-3 posts out a week on this one. Thanks for stopping by.