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The ongoing post mortem

A lot of congressional Republicans (and former congressional Republicans) have a vested interest in blaming President Bush and the war in Iraq for Tuesday's electoral shellacking. These played a part, no doubt, but there's a lot more to it than that. Without the stench of corruption that surrounds the current leadership and the fiscal recklessness of the GOP caucus, it's easy to imagine that Tuesday's outcome might yet have been much different, despite all the other factors that contributed to a Republican headwind.

Dick Army had a great line in the Wall Street Journal today.

I've always wondered why Republicans insist on acting like Democrats in hopes of retaining political power, while Democrats act like us in order to win.

Yep, that's a good question, and one that all Republicans should be asking themselves during their time in the wilderness. Dick Army says the 1994 Republican Revolution officially ended this week, and history will probably record it as such. "Official" dates notwithstanding, I submit that the actual revolution ended almost a decade earlier, in 1998.

In 1994, when Republicans gained control of Congress for the first time in 40 years, I think they regarded it as some kind of a fluke. Consequently, they tried to ram through as many reforms as possible in the limited time they had available. I shared this viewpoint myself at the time. But the Republican's aggressive agenda, culminating with the impeachment of Bill Clinton, alarmed the country, and Newt Gingrich's popularity plummeted. The GOP got hammered in the mid-terms, and nearly lost its majority. Gingrich resigned as Speaker.

That's when the revolution ended. Republicans went into "hunker down" mode. They elected a new leadership whose focus was retaining power, period. Not retaining power as a tactical move for the purpose of enacting more conservative reforms, but maintaining a permanent majority as a goal in itself. That's when they began "acting like Democrats," to use Army's term. They became addicted to pork and perks and the conservative revolution died at their own hands. Bush, despite his many problems, cannot be blamed for that.

Social conservatives and libertarians are not natural allies, and yet the Republican Party needs both in order to win elections. Fiscal prudence has always been the glue that held this uneasy coalition together. This season, however, the defining trait of tradition Republicanism had been so thoroughly tarnished that both the libertarians and the social conservatives abandoned the party in droves.

Maybe with enough soul-searching, the GOP can eventually become a conservative party again. Some time in the back benches will help realize that. It will remove the conflict of interest that the enemies of big government inevitably face when elected to power. I think it may be a while, though. And if they do get their conservative street cred back, will they remember the lessons learned about power versus principle? I'm not holding my breath for that either.


I don't see how anyone could possibly blame the war in Iraq for this election.

An election that saw an ANTI-war Republican (Chafee) lose in RI, while a PRO-war Democrat, running as an Independent won big (over 10 points) in Connecticut.

The Republicans have been terrible on immigration, even the border fence is, to date, unfunded.

They've also been pretty bad on non-dicretionary (and non-military, non-security) spending.

What Rahm Emanuel (a DLC "centrist") did was great for the Two Party system. He recruited Conservative, mostly pro-Life and even some Evangelical Democrats to run in the American heartland.

The KY, the IN delegation are very socially Conservative, Casey of PA is pro-life (I'm not, but I like the fact that such folks are generally more Conservative than not)...even in KS, where one of my favorite Americans, Jim Ryun-R (former world record holder in the mile - 3.51.1) was defeated, it was by a woman (Nancy Boyda) who is strongly anti-immigration, in favor of confronting Iran over its nuclear ambitions and supports tax cuts.

Could Emanuel have finally done what Clinton's DLC had hoped to do since the early 1990s - move that Party firmly to the "Right?" Yeah, "back to the center," as they say. Call it what you will, but it's far to the Right of AlGore and Howard Dean, that's for sure.

I know many Conservatives fear that these could be "mere election stance facades," to be dropped once in power, but I doubt it.

That's certainly not the case for Heath Schuler, in North Carolina.

Moroever, the Ballot Initiatives proved how rock-ribbed Conservative America really is.

Eleven states had severe restrictions on Eminent Domain, almost all of them opposed by various Liberal and pro-government groups.

They passed in NINE states, ONLY CA (a bunch of kooks) and ID (maybe Eminent Domain isn't a big deal up in Idaho) failed to pass them.

Marriage DEFINING initiatives were on NINE statewide Ballots. These initiatives DEFINED (retricted is a poor word) marriage to be a union of one man & one woman. It passed in EIGHT states, including usually Liberal WI and in CO depite the last gasp attempt by gays to discredit it by linking it to Rev Haggert. Only AZ failed to pass that initiative.

BUT Arizonans totally redeemed themselves by passing some of the most restrictive anti-illegal immigration measures in the country - one that denied bail to illegal immigrants charged with a felony, one denying punitive judgments for illegal immigrants when they win civil suits and another that bars illegal immigrants from any government funded programs such as child care and adult education...not to mention the initiative that made ENGLISH the official language of AZ!

Those Ballot Initiatives show me that America is still much more "my kind of country" than say Barely's or Blue's.

The wave of socially Conservative Democrats in the heartland makes me very happy. My cousin Mike won his bid for a second term as a NYS Assemblyman as a Conservative Democrat (he got boh Party endorsements), so maybe Conservative Democrats ("Blue Dawgs") are making a real comeback?

I'm not sure of that just yet, BUT I sure do like the thought of that!

Heh, nice try JMK, but your kind of country is Big Government without restraints entering our houses to cavity check us at will.

My kind of country would enforce immigration laws against employers, which Chimp won't do, and pass even greater penalties against companies that use illegal immigrants. All illegal immigrants would be deported, and if they return they would be shot in the head and deported again.

My kind of country would also actually enforce the laws that do not allow any foreigner to take any job from a qualified American, including stiff penalties for corporations that try to worm their way around the law.

My kind of country is America for Americans, not for Corporations or foreigners.

Corporations that want to use foreign labor when their is American labor available would need to relocate to the country they want to employ. If you don't employ Americans, you aren't an American corporation and have no entitlement to the benefits of American corporations.

I proudly voted YES to the ban on Affirmative Action in Michigan.

My kind of country doesn't allow Chimp to decide which American citizens have rights and which are "enemy combatants" without oversight or court approval. Your kind of country is totalitarian.

You lost. I won.

I support the Patriot Act in full and the NSA wiretaps....so do MOST Americans at this point.

I oppose same-sex marriage, a view vindicated by the fact that 8 states passed ballot initiatives defining marriage and only one state (AZ) failed to pass it, 51 to 49, I believe). Don't YOU support "gay marriage?" If you did, you "lost."

The H-1B Visas are not America's enemy.

They've halped us deal with significant structural unemployment are most certainly here to stay...for the forseeable future.

In fact, I'd expect the new Congress to possibly raise those limits, until we can get more Americans set to take all those accounting, radiology, etc jobs that are suffering form America's structural unemployment gap. Don't you oppose "H-1B Visas?" If you do, again, you "lost."

I support severe restrictions on Eminent Domain...again a POV vindicated by the overwhelming response of the American people, with 9 of 11 states passing those restrictions. Didn't you expres some support for Eminent Domain awhile back?

Well, if you did...(you know the rest)

I'm glad you supported the MCRI that passed...(a rare lucid moment?)

The Conservative deology is NOT the ideology of racism, xenophobia and anti-immigrant hysteria, that's the Know Nothing Party - "The Know Nothing movement was a nativist American political movement of the 1850s. It grew up as a popular reaction to fears that major cities were being overwhelmed by Irish Catholic immigrants. It was a short-lived movement mainly active 1854-56; it demanded reform measures but few were passed. There were few prominent leaders, and the membership, mostly middle-class and Protestant, apparently was soon absorbed by the Republican Party in the North."

illegal immigration notwithstanding.

On virtually every stance, you're out of step with Conservatism, from gay marriage, to tax policy, to national defense during wartime.

Barely! You're NOT a Conservative.

The simple answer is term limits.

Presidents, VPs, Senators and Representatives all get a single 6-year term. The term limits for Congress would be staggered so that 1/3 of the seats would turn over every 2 years.

No more perpetual campaigns, no more career politicians.

CRB, I agree. I didn't use to think that. I think there are other ways as well, but I sometimes wonder if my other ideas are a little naive and impossible to pass. Of course since it's Congress that would have to pass this as well, perhaps it's also wishful thinking, but it's a nice thought, isn't it?

CRB, I believe your partly...even MOSTLY right, but the problem is deeper than mere term limits and people insisting on voting in incumbents who've grown lazy and corrupt.

The problem is Party domination of politics and the innate conflict of interest that is the lawyer/legislator.

Party bosses routinely nominate Party hacks for positions from local alderman to Congressmen.

The Party system both serves a purpose and does a disservice to the people.

In a "normal year," hell, in most years, Dem Party bosses would've nominated typical Liberal Dems to run in those races in Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and Georgia (a disaster), but this year the DLC's Rahm Emanuel saw the chance socially Conservative Dems had and they went out of their way to nominate socially Conservative, pro-life and even some Evangelicals for office in the heartland...all to the ultimate good.

But BOTH Parties are top heavy with career lawyer/legislators and run by career bureaucrats and Party hacks, so the underlying cancer remains active in the body politic.

I have a feeling that if Congress were to enact a term limits law, it would exempt itself from the law's terms.

No, JMK, I quite clearly stated that I am personally against gay marriage and gay rights in general.

My argument was that the government needed to get out of the marriage business, as it is religion. It should not be used to adjust taxes up or down, or for anything else. Dependents might be taken into consideration, but marital status should not.

So I won on all the gay marriage bans.

If Repug Corporatists didn't raise the H1B limits, I seriously doubt the Dems will. They are more for labor than the corporate slave GOP.

It was the Repug congress who raised the H1B limit to astronomical levels and put Americans out of work. Clinton should have vetoed it, but he didn't.

No Repug congress, I win again.

I have always been completely against Eminent Domain. Your simple mind just says "liberal liberal liberal!" and assigns me what you believe to be liberal stances.

I win again.

I am out of step with neocons and corporatists. You are the one out of step with conservatism. No one can support the Patriot Act and call themselves a conservative, a constitutionalist, or a patriot.

It's real simple. The Republicans lost their political soul. Fiscal Conservative/Libertarian types, like me, did indeed desert. I dropped from the Republican Party a year ago and became an "I". The only problem now is; bad gov. just got more expensive. The Democrats are not good for our; liberties, property rights, or bank accounts. The new socialist regime will be after all three... real soon. As they say in the Corps; Stand by ladies, stand the "F" by.

That assumes that the GOP had a soul to begin with.

I'm not convinced.

"No, JMK, I quite clearly stated that I am personally against gay marriage and gay rights in general." (BH)
I am against "gay marriage," BUT I am in largely favor of "gay rights" (that is, homosexuals having pretty much the same "rights" as anyone else). Gays should be able to walk the streets, hold jobs, etc without fear of reprisals. They, of course, SHOULD, like everyone should, keep their sexuality personal or "closeted."

Most people I know prefer NOT to hear about other folks sexual "exploits."

On marriage and adoption, I'm against homosexual unions being called "marriage" and I'm against gay adoption as well, but they shouldn't be intimidated for being who or what they are.
"My argument was that the government needed to get out of the marriage business..." (BH)
Again, since our government is mandated to support activities (yes, even private activities) that promote "the general welfare," it is right & just that the government promote and encourage heterosexual marriage.
"If Repug Corporatists didn't raise the H1B limits, I seriously doubt the Dems will." (BH)
Uhhh....wrong yet again.

It was a Democrat Congress that expanded GATT and foist that upon George Bush Sr...who enthusiastically signed it into law.

It was a Democrat Congress that passed NAFTA in January of 1994 ( a full year before the GOP took power) and a Democrat President signed that into law.

Those two Treaties are the basis for ALL the outsourcing we see today.

Not that outsourcing is a bad thing per se...proponents point out that Free Trade has produced millions more American jobs than its lost.

I'd prefer Fair Trade to Free Trade - I don't have the time, nor inclination to explain the difference between those two things to you right now...and it doesn't matter - because Free Trade or "Globalization" is the way of the world right now.

Those battles have been fought by "Fair Traders," and those battles have been lost by SAME.
Look, Pugsley, you're out of step with everything except your own naked self-interest. That's the problem Pugsle-I mean Barely, you seem to mistake your own self-interest for a cogent political viewpoint you like to call "Conservatism."

Sadly, you're viewpoint is neither very cogent, nor at all Conservative.

"I have a feeling that if Congress were to enact a term limits law, it would exempt itself from the law's terms." (Fred)

Well, given their history, that is sadly, though probably correct.

"It's real simple. The Republicans lost their political soul. Fiscal Conservative/Libertarian types, like me, did indeed desert." (John the Marine)

And deservedly so. It's hard to defend a Party that refused to deal with the porous border, that spent almost as wildly as Dems (the NCLB Act & the prescription Drug Boondoggle) and turned a noble effort to oust the leading state sponsor of international terrorism (Hussein) into one of nation building and peace-keeping.

Iraq was an artificial construct, like the former Yugoslavia, since it was formed in 1919. It should've been partitioned right after Saddam Hussein's forces were defeated and he was captured...we then should've turned our attentions to Syria and Iran.

It is very possible that BOTH current major Parties have lost their usefulness.

Both Parties are a collection of disparate ideologies increasingly at odds with each other and controlled by Party Bosses increasingly at odds with the will of most of the American people.

In the Republican Party, the schism isn't merely between socially Conservative religious Republicans and Libertarian Republicans, but between the largely Conservative base and the socially Liberal "Moderate" monied interests - the "Country Club Republicans."

The Democrats are a hodgepodge of far flung competing special interests and with the election of so many socially Conservative Democrats in the heartland, an increasing ideological divide will become apparent as well.

At this point NO ONE and NO Party looks out for working people at all.

The lawyer/legislator has been a curse upon the political process and its counterpart, the "former-elected official (career politician) turned paid lobbyist" assures we get a government of, by and for the special interests.


"I am out of step with neocons and corporatists." (BH)
Look, Pugsley, you're out of step with everything except your own naked self-interest. That's the problem Pugsle-I mean Barely, you seem to mistake your own self-interest for a cogent political viewpoint you like to call "Conservatism."

Sadly, you're viewpoint is neither very cogent, nor at all Conservative.

Let's see, who is only looking out for their own self-interest:

A fireman who likes the idea of bashing in doors and rummaging through belonging for "crimes", restricting citizens use of those dangerous *cameras* in public, spying, torturing, and suspending the rights of American citizens based on the opinion of HIS president ... or ...

A worker who is not employed by the government who wants government power to stay within its constitutional band and wants labor and the middle class to continue to exist in this country instead of racing to the bottom by having to compete with slave labor from third-world countries with no infrastructure or taxes, employed by so-called American corporations.

Your tune would change overnight if they started hauling in Russian firemen by the hundreds of thousands.

Barely, as a firefighter I already HAVE the "right" to "bash in people's doors in emergencies.

Yes, a resident can even stand outside his/her apartment and deamnd that we "respect their privacy," and when called to a fire or emergency, we're duty-bound to ignore that person, even subdue that person and have them arrested (for "obstructing governmental administration," - that's the actual charge) if they attempt to impede our work.

We actually had that happen once, while I was working. It turned out this guy had beaten his "girlfriend and her mother with a hammer and set the apartment he shared with them on fire.

He met firefighters in the public hall and attempted to deny us access to that apartment. After a brief hallway confrontation, he barracaded himself in the apartment and eventually jumped out of the fifth floor window (to his eventual death) as firefighters forced the doors and the OV came through the fire escape window.

No, he DIDN'T have any 4th Amendment Right to privacy/sanctity within his own apartment. Neither do those people who call EMS for an ambulance and aren't there to answer the door when the ambulance arrives.

The EMS crew is going to operate on the premise that the person "could have slipped into unconsciousness" and needs their help and they'll call in a nearby Fire Company to force open that door, with the Police present.

I'm saddened that you're sonaive that you don't see the necessiaty for these OBVIOUS 4th Amendment exceptions.

The threat of terrorism is far more severe than the threat of fire. Moreover, Islamo-fascist international terrorism is NOT a mere "crime," but an "act of unconventional warfare," so the rules in dealing with terrorism are very different from the standard we use to prosecute ordinary criminals.

The current administration has claimed various "war powers," including the right to prosecute terrorists differently than ordinary "criminals." Yes, even terrorists who're born here and fight with the current enemy AGAINST America.

Indeed most of the cases of Americans held as "enemy combatants" HAVE been made known to the American people - by the government!

In one such case, "Yaser Esam Hamdi, born in Louisiana and raised in Saudi Arabia, is being held in a Navy brig in Norfolk without charges or access to an attorney. The administration says he was fighting for the Taliban and can be held as an enemy combatant out of reach of the civil courts."

You don't believe that Hamdi should be given a forum in an American courtroom do you, Barely?

Of course not.

He'll get a better hearing before a Military Tribunal, better because they'll better understand the situation and better because any classified information Hamdi may seek to use in his defense will be out-of-sight in this secret proceeding.

If you believe, as I do, that the likes of Lynne Stewart, John "Taliban Johnny" Walker-Lindt and Adam Gadahne have ALL breached their American citizenship by "aiding and abetting an enemy during wartime," than Hamdi is guilty of even far worse - fighting with that enemy in open battle.

Now, if this administration OR any other, were to use these "war powers" against American citizens for criminal acts (drug crimes, etc) or political beliefs (Black Panthers, the KKK, etc...hell I'd hate to see them used against REAL domestic terror groups like ALF & ELF)) than THAT would be a serious abuse of the law AND of the public trust.

But that breach of trust and that abuse WAS CARRIED OUT - BY Janet Reno!

TWICE!!! (Ruby Ridge & Waco)

And the folks who are most apopleptic NOW, barely raised a their voices when those REAL ABUSES, of REAL AMERICAN CITIZENS (Randy Weaver was a decorated former Green Beret hero) were carried out.

But don't worry, should any actual abuses, should any Americans be abused by these war time powers y'all can count on the RIGHT being there to challenge it.

There's a huge difference between Randy Weaver (a REAL American) and Yaser Esam Hamdi (a terrorist and "enemy combatant born here, who fought with the Taliban)...if you don't get the distinction, it's probably because of your concrete operational thinking, coupled with your profound naivete.

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