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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Desperate Republicans « Previous | |Next »
November 7, 2006

It's the last day of campaigning in the mid term US congressional elections. The judgement is that the Democrats will gain control of the House but not the Senate as there has been a late surge towards the 'last-stand ' Republicans. From what I can gather the strategy of the Democratic leaders has been to "lie low" and let anger toward Bush sweep them into office.

Peter Brookes

The local squabbles in Jersey, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia are crucial and the gerrymandering Republicans have been much better in getting their supporters to the polls. I presume that Republican state officials in a number of states will make use of the legal system to exclude otherwise eligible voters; or ensure that there aren't enough voting machines to accommodate all the voters in Democrat districts.

Will the Republicans be pushed back to the South? It does seem that the Democrats are not all that interested in developing policies to lead Americans in a new direction from Republican America. The election is still a referendum on Bush administration policies in Iraq.

As Paul Krugman says in the New York Times:

Pesident Bush isn’t on the ballot tomorrow. But this election is, nonetheless, all about him. The question is whether voters will pry his fingers loose from at least some of the levers of power, thereby limiting the damage he can inflict in his two remaining years in office...But here’s the thing: no matter how hard the Bush administration may try to ignore the constitutional division of power, Mr. Bush’s ability to make deadly mistakes has rested in part on G.O.P. control of Congress. That’s why many Americans, myself included, will breathe a lot easier if one-party rule ends tomorrow.

We should remind ourselves that Bush is the media face whilst Cheney & Rummy are the dirty engine of this conservative Republican administration.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:10 AM | | Comments (7)


Thompson - you are obviously very worried and somewhat pathetically desperate to use the sort of intemperate and pejorative language above. It is clear that it hurts you very badly to see anyone in office who has given your side a sound thrashing for the past six years, no matter what goals have been kicked.

It's Iraq Iraq Iraq.

Over and above that issue is Rove's political strategy. This focuses on mobilizing their hard-core supporters with an aggressively conservative agenda, even at the price of straining relations with moderate and independent swing voters. It is not working this time.

True, the polarizing strategy in which so many Americans have hardened in their loyalty to one of the two major parties, did work for the Republicans from 1994.

The centre is coming back into play as the swing voter returns. The Rovian political strategy has finally reached -- or exceeded -- it's limits.

The Republicans may be great at winning elections but they at poor at governing the country. The polls suggest a repudiation of the status quo.

Okay, according to the early exit polls, 40% of electors said corruption was the big issue for the voters. Only 36% said Iraq.

These numbers are interesting and point to the old truism about all politics being local.


CNN disagree--they are continually saying, that for all the local issues in play, its mostly a referendum on Bush and so about Iraq. The New York Times says:

The Democrats won a negative victory, riding on the wave of public anger about Republicans. The new House majority will certainly call the administration to account on any number of issues, but it will have to do far more than run investigations if it is to build on its victory.

Republican dominance in Washington has resulted in expanding government, runaway spending, Middle East entanglements, and government corruption. So many Republicans wonder why, exactly, the country should be grateful for Republican dominance of Washington.

For what its worth, the Washington post noted my point as well. But the wider point is that the Republicans just lost the plot after 2002, and corruption is the home problem just as Iraq is the away problem.

It would seem that the Americans cannot agree about what the American voters were voting for when they rejected the status quo. We sholdl expect conflict given the partisan nature of US politics.

I'm sticking with the interpretation that the American midterm elections were a vote of no confidence in the Bush administration. What the Republicans are denying is the electorates blunt rejection of the president, his party, and their conduct of the last few years. Their talking points are all about the Democrats in the house turning the place into a circus of hearings, subpoenas, etc. and the prospective difficulties of working with ultraliberal wackadoo Nancy Pelosi.

In a parliamentary system, these election results would lead to a change in government; in the US presidential system it should lead to a change in policy.So how will George Bush respond to the American voters' verdict in the 2006 midterms?

Will it be a president who says he has heard the popular verdict in 2006 and would act on it la the Texas model of yesteryear? Or will it be a defiant president, who opts to spend his final two years in office in conflict with the new legislature that Americans have chosen to represent them?

That means for many Americans changing course in Iraq---opting for a different strategy to staying the course, going full speed ahead, or getting the job done , achieving victory etc etc. That means minimizing the damage of defeat by disengaging the troops.

i've had a brilliant idea!

let's stop voting for corrupt/incompetent/crazy politicians!

instead, let's vote for individual policies, initiated by citizen committees, for approval by the whole electorate on an annual 'referendum day'.

brilliant, eh?

we'll call the process 'democracy', like aristotle did, and refer to the old (current) system as 'oligarchy'- as aristotle did.