Thursday, November 09, 2006

Brief Take on the Elections was down all day yesterday, so I couldn't post my brief reflections on the elections.

Basically, I'm glad the Republicans lost and sad the Democrats gained power!

What went wrong for Republicans? Dean Barrett, in his post on An Overdue Reckoning, makes a number of good points that I concur with in the main.

See also Fred Barnes' Weekly Standard column: "This one is pretty easy to explain. Republicans lost the House and probably the Senate because of Iraq, corruption, and a record of taking up big issues and then doing nothing on them. Of these, the war was by far the biggest factor." Later Barnes writes: "Republicans cast themselves as the party of reform, but they didn't reform anything. And heaven knows, the public is eager for a lot to be reformed, starting with Congress itself and moving on to taxes and entitlements."

Senator Tom Coburn (R, Oklahoma) issued a statement that reads in part: “The overriding theme of this election, however, is that voters are more interested in changing the culture in Washington than changing course in Washington, D.C. This election was not a rejection of conservative principles per se, but a rejection of corrupt, complacent and incompetent government. . . . This election does not show that voters have abandoned their belief in limited government; it shows that the Republican Party has abandoned them. In fact, these results represent the total failure of big government Republicanism. . . . Our short-term, politically-expedient, bread and circus governing philosophy has failed. Iraq is an important issue in the minds of voters but it is not the only issue. Our majority was severely weakened by a long series of decisions that pre-date the public’s current concern about Iraq. Republicans oversaw a seven-fold increase in pork projects since 1998. Republicans increased domestic spending by nearly 50 percent since 2001, increased the national debt to $9 trillion, passed a reckless Medicare expansion bill and neglected our oversight responsibilities. While some of these decisions may have helped secure specific seats in the short-term the totality of our excess did not secure our majority, but destroy it.

It's interesting, as John Podhoretz has noted, that President Bush hasn't been on the losing side of an election since his unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1978. (He was elected governor in 1994 and reelected in 1998, elected President in 2000 and reelected in 2004. And of course the Republicans won the midterm in 2002.) It will be interesting to see how he responds.

Nancy Pelosi will be the speaker of the House of Representatives. Donald Rumsfeld is now longer SecDef. Former CIA director Robert Gates has been nominated to head the Defense Dept.

I'm glad Tim Pawlenty is still the governor of Minnesota. Pawlenty proves that the concept of "virtuous politician" is not an oxymoron or a laugh line.

I'm also very glad that the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative passed--a major decision against racial discrimination--despite a concerted disinformation campaign against the initiative.

Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin all approved state constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage. Arizona rejected such an amendment.

South Dakota rejected a law that would ban virtually all abortions.

Missouri approved a proposition that protects human cloning and allows for the destruction of embryos in stem cell research.

Today is the unofficial start of the 2008 elections. Well, I've got to run and start making phone calls for the '08 Romney-Pawlenty presidential campaign!