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November 08, 2006

Election Roundup

As of now, Democrats have been given control of the House of Representatives, and there are two outstanding races in the Senate that will determine who controls that chamber. This is definitely going to make it harder for Republicans to get their initiatives through, to be sure, but let's look a little closer.

As Michelle Malkin notes, Republicans may have lost but conservatism did not. She lists a number of indicators.

Property rights initiatives limiting eminent domain won big. MCRI, the anti-racial preference measure, passed resoundingly. Congressman Tom Tancredo, the GOP's leading warrior against illegal immigration--opposed by both the open-borders Left and the open-borders White House--won a fifth term handily. Gay marriage bans won approval in 3 states. And as of this writing, the oil tax initiative, Prop. 87--backed by deep-pocketed Hollywood libs, is trailing badly in California.

While an AP article headlines 3 items that could be considered conservative setbacks--rejection of SD abortion ban and AZ gay marriage ban, and approval of stem cell research in Missouri--it lists later on in the article all the items that could be considered conservative wins, and on balance conservatism did very well. Written after Malkin's post, it notes 8 states that banned gay marriage, as well as the aforementioned sunsetting of affirmative action in Michigan, and a number of anti-illegal-immigration initiatives in Arizona. (And the Missouri stem cell amendment, as I noted previously, was passed with a margin that could suggest that if it had been worded honestly, it may not have passed at all.)

Also, as ScrappleFace notes, the win for Lieberman and the loss for Lincoln Chafee could be considered a gain of 2 seats for Republicans. >grin<

So unlike Democrats after previous elections, you won't find Republicans hiding under the covers for days, packing for their move to Canada, or suing Diebold. (Gee, where did all those Democrats go that insisted that Diebold machines were "fixed"? Is it OK when they're "fixed" for Democrats? Love the choice; either Democrats win, or someone cheated.) The victory for Democrats was more a typical 6-year-itch midterm result mixed with some "throw the bums out" mentality with some hope by Republican voters that this may wake up the Republican lawmakers, as I noted in this thread. I think that there was plenty of deserved anger with Republican lawmakers, but this, in my opinion, wasn't the way to express it.

And don't forget all the moderate to conservative Democrats that were elected, including many former Republicans like Webb in Virginia (though the "elected" part has yet to be determined there).

What will they do with that platform?

Will they try, for instance, to impeach the president? Or will they stick to Ms Pelosi's stated goal of leadership?

Probably the latter. Many of the new intake are moderate Democrats, conservatives even, who are not looking for an ideological fight.

Could they have won without pro-Iraq-war, anti-abortion Democrats? Given some of the margins of victory, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if they'd all looked more like Ned Lamont.

So Republicans should not, and most likely won't, go sulking around your office. Yeah we're disappointed, and we deserved much of what we got. On the other hand, apart from party label, this election shows that the American public in general still leans conservative.

Posted by Doug at November 8, 2006 01:43 PM

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Doug, 2 thoughts come to mind...

First, when I was driving to work this A.M., in a pretty stinko mood I might add, I realized that the sun DID rise this morning, once again showing that God was still in control. I calmed down pretty quickly and I've had a pretty good day since.

Second, I truly believe that the American voters said clearly, if you don't pay attention to the issues that are important to us, you're outta here!

I live in Tom DeLay's former district and once, back in 1994, I had an opportunity to produce a radio spot for his campaign that year. At that session, I met not nice guy Tom DeLay, but "The Hammer."

He was totally consumed with sticking to the Democrats and teaching them a lesson! As a life-long conservative voter, I was sick at my stomach. This was exactly what is wrong with Washington and why we the people wanted change.

Fast-forward to 2006, the main reason the Houston area lost that solid, Republican conservative seat in the House was that Mr. Delay refused to decide not to run before the primary was over. By his ego and pride he said, "That’s MY SEAT and if I can't have it, by golly no one can!" In Texas, once the primary has been run, the winner is the candidate.

I think the national Republican Party in the past 2 years was very representative of this. They were in it for the power and prestige and not for the common good.

When you have and live by principles, you step on toes, like Mr. Tancredo for example. The Washington “elite” is afraid to say that our border is an open sieve and it has to be closed. We're afraid to say this because it may offend someone! SO WHAT!! You don't keep information of chest pains away from your doctor because he might have an activity that evening and he may want to do that instead of open-heart surgery. No, you tell him I'm in pain, what can be done about it!

As many blogs have said today, the 2008 campaign starts today! Let’s get to work!

Posted by: Mark Triplett at November 8, 2006 03:42 PM

Mark Tapscott: "When Republicans worry more about staying in government than about limiting government, they get thrown out of government. That's the lesson of Nov. 7, 2006." I couldn't agree more. The anti-Iraq-war, centrist Republicans (e.g. Chafee) got booted and the pro-Iraq-war, rightist Democrats (e.g. Lieberman) got elected. In general, while there are exceptions, I think, unlike some pundits, this wasn't a rush to the Center, it was a shift to the Right. And the Right is a position that, unfortunately, the Republicans simply have not, as a party, been occupying with any real sense of intent. Good judges and some other points have been great to have, but there've just been too many missed (or ignored) opportunities.

Doesn't anybody remember how conservative Reagan was, and what a landslide he won by?

And yes, as you say, part of the problem was that Republicans got too big for their britches. They were swept in after decades of Democrat rule precisely to move government to the right. The Contract With America stated plainly what they were for and what they wanted to do. They forgot that, but I think the American people still remember it.

Posted by: Doug Payton at November 8, 2006 11:12 PM

"Doesn't anybody remember how conservative Reagan was"


Ronald Reagan? Who grew the gov't greatly? Who skyrocketed our national debt? Whose administration backed terrorists? Supported Saddam? Sold WMD to both Iraq AND Iran?

Whose administration had more convictions than any other? Who oversaw and increase in homelessness? Who deregulated industry, allowing for increased pollution?

THAT Reagan?

I didn't think any of those values listed above were "conservative." God, I'd hope not.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at November 9, 2006 09:08 AM

How soon they forget the Soviet threat, and the alliances that helped remove the communist threat without engaging directly in a superpower-to-superpower war. I'd rather spend an enemy to death than engage them in battle.

Government corrupts? Who knew?

Deregulation expanded job opportunities. Pollution may have come of that, but that can be, and has been, dealt with. The largest post-WWII economic expansion was started in the Reagan years. We dealt with the problems that caused as time went on. Would the unemployment and inflation figures under Carter have been preferable?

The actual point was that Reagan ran unabashedly conservative on the issues, and the public responded with an overwhelming landslide. Buttresses my point that, in general, the country is right-of-center.

Posted by: Doug Payton at November 9, 2006 10:35 AM

In general the country is pragmatic. We want to do what works. Sometimes that means advocating policies that are considered "liberal" and sometimes that means advocating policies that are considered "conservative."

Additionally, most of the country recognizes that those two labels are not all that helpful. I'm supportive of a smaller military and less military adventurism because I believe in a small gov't and I believe in the conservative notion of prudence AND because of my Christian beliefs. Those reasons cross the bounds of traditional conservative/liberal labels.

And I still say that Reagan is a pisspoor role model for actual conservatism. Exactly which conservative value did Reagan push in gov't? It wasn't smaller gov't. It wasn't high morals or law and order (given the astounding number of convictions by his cabinet). It wasn't concern for the poor by the standards that most people recognize. It wasn't environmental responsibility.

The only value that I can think of that you might say that has become adopted by "conservatives" (although I don't believe that it fits in real well with traditionally-defined conservatism) is unfettered capitalism/corporatism.

You know, don't you, that Reagan is the reason I ran away from the "conservative" label - if that's what conservatives consider a role model, I'll have to stay the heck away from them.

He supported known terrorists against the will of the American people, for crying out loud!

Posted by: Dan Trabue at November 9, 2006 02:06 PM

I'll take the big one; getting government out of the way of the average Joe trying to make a living. I could give details, but economic prosperity which lifts people out of the need for welfare while giving them a sense of self-worth, and letting them keep more of what they work for doesn't seem to resonate with you. Let's just keep giving the man the fish instead of giving him the chance to catch his own.

Was he wrong in trying to rid the western hemisphere of communism? No. Can we find fault with his methods? Sure. But if we decided to not deal with any unsavory characters, we'd have an expanding communist presence throughout the world. If not communist, then some other evil. No, I don't like the idea of dealing with what might be the lesser of two evils, when what might be is never assured. So let's hole ourselves up behind our borders and refuse to talk to anyone that isn't pure as the driven snow.

Gonna get kinda' quiet. And deadly in the meantime.

I say again, government corrupts? Who knew? Republicans associated with Reagan going bad says as much about conservatism as all the associates of the Clintons who are in jail says anything about liberalism.

Posted by: Doug Payton at November 9, 2006 02:45 PM

That would be 32 convictions vs 3, if memory serves correctly, Reagan vs Clinton administrations. And I think that says something about the particular administrations, although not necessarily about conservatives/liberals.

I'll add the note that I think (I'd have to check to be sure) that most of Reagan's convictions had to do with lying to congress over Iran-contra whereas Clinton's had to do with money offenses and, as you know, lying about adultery.

All bad, to be sure. But I'll take the thief adulterer over the war criminal any day.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at November 9, 2006 03:19 PM