Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Pundits win

Wow. I was wrong. It is obvious that I do not know much about national politics. So after tonight, I may just have to shut my mouth about politics on this blog. However, I will make three comments. Two about national politics and one about local politics.

1. This election illustrates that the North and South are still quite divided in many ways. The Democratic pick-ups were in the north, traditional blue states. They took Rhode Island and Pennsylvania Senate seats, and several House seats from Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut and one in New Hampshire. They did not do so well in the south with Florida being a grand example. Democrats were hoping for 4 to 6 seats in Florida, but ended up with only two. They narrowly held on to two seats in Georgia. Plus, they are recounting a narrow possible senate victory in Virginia, where the Republican candidate ran an awful campaign embarrassing himself several times, and they failed to win a House seat they were hoping to win. The other big indicator of what a divide exists between north and south was the MSNBC coverage of those races. How many times the pundits and Chris Mathews called the Tennessee voters racist for not voting for Harold Ford made me sick. Yet, the people of Maryland were never accused of being racist, nor were the people of South Dakota who handily defeated a Native American candidate for the House. A divide in the minds of the MSNBC hosts existed and comments like Mr. Mathews made do nothing but promote the divide. Will Southerners ever like Northerners when they regularly defeat African American candidates for Senate with no name-calling, and then when the South defeats one the name-calling flies? Probably not.

2. The Republicans cost themselves this election. Several stupid scandals hurt them. They lost Delay’s seat, Ney’s seat, and Foley’s seat because of well-publicized scandals. Heath Shuler also won North Carolina House seat 11 because his opponent had some scandals as well. The state Republican party in Ohio had about five scandals running at once that probably hurt Senator Dewine, but the Democrats failed to capitalize doing much worse than many thought in Ohio. They picked up one seat when most thought they would pick up four. Mainly, however, I think Republicans can blame the President and Karl Rove for the loss. I am not talking about Iraq. I am talking about the ‘toe-the-President’s-line-or-else-attitude.’ This hurt Republicans especially because his line is not conservative at all. The President and the RNC abandoned the poor guy running for the Senate in Connecticut in favor of Joe Lieberman who votes liberal Democratic almost 90% of the time, but is strong on the war. Take what happened in Arizona for example. The Bush backed candidate in Republican primaries in AZ House seat 8 lost to a strong boarder defense candidate. The RNC publicly announced they would not support him with any money. I do not think they even endorsed him. That is giving away one seat because of a disagreement with the President. They did little to help J.D. Hayworth in AZ 05, who was also a critic of the President’s immigration policy. Both seats will now be filled by Democrats who will probably pass the amnesty plan Bush wants. I think that there is a giant rift in the Republican Party, and Bush’s Boys are running the show, and they maybe running it into the ground.

3. Locally here in South Dakota, the Abortion ban lost. It lost because I think the Republican turnout was low. I could be wrong, but I am quite surprised at the margin of defeat. This bill overwhelmingly passed the State Legislature, which at least indicates the State Representatives thought it would be popular. The Vote Yes pro-life group did a very bad job running the campaign. They seemed to concentrate on door to door, meet your neighbor, House Parties. That did not get the job done. They also did not campaign on being pro-life, but rather they spoke only about how abortion hurt women. A rather disappointing stance. About three weeks before the election the Vote No crowd bombarded the airwaves with lies and propaganda. It was never really answered. The Vote No group did not argue that abortion was wrong. They argued that it was wrong to make women of rape or incest have children, claiming there was no exception for those women. This was untrue. There was an exception. Those who suffered rape or incest could go to the doctor and take the morning after pill. Thus, they had about a 14 day window to get something done. By the way, I think the exception is bad. I do not think people that have rape or incest should be allowed abortions or morning after pills. Polls showed that if people had known about the exception they would have voted 63% for the bill. The other thing that I believe hurt this bill was the supposedly non-biased Attorney General’s explanation that appeared on the official documents put out by the state on the amendments and initiated measures. The Attorney General made sure to note that this law would be challenged, go to the Supreme Court, and possibly stick the state of South Dakota with a large legal bill. It was an underhanded thing to put on a ‘non-biased’ official explanation sheet.

So, I did not beat any pundits and showed my true ignorance. However, I did enjoy seeing what I hope to be the new face of the Democratic Party. Harold Ford impressed me with his open quoting of Scripture and discussion of Jesus Christ. Jim Casey promises to be a pro-life vote. While I find politics fun and entertaining, it is good to remember that the fortunes of political parties has nothing to do with the church.


Andrew Duggan said...

The Republicans wasted their 12 years of Congressional power. In 1994 they were elected to majority on a specific platform, and then they abandoned it. They were the son that said "yes", but didn't go into the field to labor. Why should the Republicans keep a majority when they act (vis-a-vis spending and scandal and generally being liberal) just like Democrats of the 1960's, 70s, 80s and early 90s?

It's a shame that your abortion ban lost, since, some state needs to make that happen. If you can't even get the people of S.D. to outlaw the murder of babies, who in the US will?

How long will the King put up with his minister, when that minister doesn't even give lip service any more to being a minister for "good"? Instead he calls evil good and good evil, and not only doesn't punish the evil, but rewards it. The heathen rage and the people have imagine a vain thing. Did Jesus toss the Republicans out because he was displeased? Who can know, but they should look at their loss with that as a distinct possibility.

The next couple of years are going to be interesting...

Andrew McIntyre said...

Well, brother, I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so in a comment back in January. If I could see it coming, then certainly the Republicans should have seen it as well. As Mr. Duggan points out, the Republicans squandered their power. After twelve years, abortion is still just as legal, social security is still just as doomed, the budget is much larger, the debt remains, the borders remain open, there is no real vision for a way forward in the War on Terror, etc.

Now, as you point out, it remains to be seen what the Democrats will do with their new found popularity and political dominance. If they cater completely to their base, which I do not think they will do publicly, they will plummet in the polls and lose badly in 2008. After all, their victories were not gained by socialists, feminists, homosexuals, atheists, the NEA, etc. They were gained by "moderates." Tellingly, in many of the same states where the Democrats completely spanked the Republicans, the voters also supported the proper definition of marriage. If they let men like Ford and Casey speak for them, they will probably enjoy even more victories in the years to come. I think we will see a lot of populist rhetoric for a while, at least until 08. If the Democrats are able to court religious voters, I think the Republican party is in for a lot of seriously depressing Novembers.

Lee said...

I freely and humbly acknoweldge you were right, and I was miserablly wrong. I am also afraid that you may be right about the public tone of the Dems for the coming years. I just hope their actions back up their tone better than the Republicans backed up their actions. If Casey and others are truly pro-life, I hope they act on it. What worries me most is that our President who has held fast to what he believed was right for so long, seems to willingly jettison it now that the Democrats are in power. I worry he harmed his party, and will now effectively be a Democratic President.

Andrew Duggan said...

The only real impact a pro-life Senator can have is in the confirmation of federal judges. Given the leadership now, it's not very likely an originalist judge will ever see his name on the floor of the Senate for confirmation.

I agree, I think the President will be effectively a Democrat, but I don't really see that as much of a change, which is one of the big contributing factors in the loss for the Republicans. Except for his judge appointments and the NeoCon influence that lead him into the war(s) and tax-cuts he's pretty much been a Johnson/great-society liberal. The Republicans in Congress took their cues from him and they paid the price. (Well, make that we'll be paying the price in higher taxes)

Unfortunately, the President's jettison of Rumsfeld only signaled surrender. Surrendering to the Democrats is one thing, but the problem is that Chavez, Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-il also took it the same way.

Today, I saw a political cartoon of Rumsfeld losing his head on a chopping block of a ballot box, too bad that's going to translate into real heads rolling from real swords. That's not because Rumsfeld is some master military strategist, but because as the Arab proverb states, "A falling camel attracts many knives".

Just watch, the war will be defunded and if that happens, it will turn into Vietnam deja-vu. The trouble is, this time, unlike the Viet Cong this enemy won't stay put. Not that the war in Iraq with the President's stated goals, of "winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis" was really winnable in the first place. By the use of that phrase he admitted it's a religious war, and he is fighting the Jihad and the army of Mohammed with the American Civil Religion of 1960. That's not even a paper tiger, its more like a paper doll. The only way the war can be "won" is by the military suppression of Mohammedism to make Iraq and the rest of Near-East safe for evangelism. The trouble is, America is as much in need of evangelism as the rest of the world.

Our political problems are the result of our spiritual problems. We can't really solve the political problems so long as we're a dead society spiritually.

Andrew McIntyre said...

I certaintly don't delight in being right. I wish I were wrong. But, I have no faith in the intelligence of the populace.