Thursday, October 19, 2006

Who I'm Rooting For

Recently I’ve come to terms with the fact that although my stances on individual issues are all over the map, the sum total of my political philosophy is to the right of center. If both parties were weighted to the middle, I’d probably be a Republican. But that’s not how it is. The political gravities of modern America have moved towards the ends. So I sit without a party, trying to determine who I’d rather see win control of Congress.

I will probably split my own ticket as I tend to vote for the candidate and not the letter after their name. But as I watch the election results, I will root for the Democrats. Here’s the not-so-short reasoning:

My biggest concern about the Democrats is that many members of the party, particularly the hard-left base, clearly misunderstand the nature of the conflicts encompassed by what’s called the War on Terror. It’s not just that they have ineffective plans on how to deal with the threats, it’s that they habitually minimize the threat, believing it to be more a PR trick of Bush’s than a real and serious issue.

This is not me being bamboozled by the Republican’s attempts to paint the Democrats as weak on national security. This is me taking a hard look at what is said and written by Democrats and their supporters and concluding that a solid portion of the party lacks the good sense and necessary wisdom to adequately confront the terrorist/radical Islamic threat or deal with the problem of Iraq.

So how do I get past this? For one, it’s easy to be out of power and claim that threats are being grossly exaggerated. It’s another thing to be in power and make the decision to temper or cease efforts to protect the nation. I have full faith that there are more than enough Democrats serving in the House and the Senate to ensure Congress doesn’t do anything monumentally stupid on national security or on Iraq. Plus, President Bush has final say on Iraq and almost every national security issue anyway, so a Democratic Congress will still lack the power to enact a leftist foreign policy agenda—even if it somehow wanted to.

My other concern with the Democrats is that, should they seize the Congress, they will turn it into a Bush-bashing circus of investigations, hearings and even impeachment. While I have no problem with Congressional investigations into the executive branch, I worry that Democrats won’t bother to consider merit or need and their lust to go after Bush will eclipse all other concerns that face the nation.

But isn’t that version of the future really just a little too heavy with Republican propaganda? Nancy Pelosi has insisted there would be no impeachment and that Democrats would focus on real issues. Should we trust her? Is it really any harder to trust what she says than it is to believe the predictions of a Congress gone wild?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in politics, it’s that things never turn out as badly as the partisans predict. In 1994, Democrats made dire predictions about what a Republican Congress would bring. If even half of those hysterical warnings had come true, we’d be living under a Christian Fascist state.

So, if the Democrats aren’t going to get us all killed and aren’t going to set up a big top inside the Capitol, why not give them a shot at running the shop? Call it a two-year probationary period with Bush around to provide some checks-and-balances. Let’s see what they can do.

The Republicans no longer have a real agenda and are focused mostly on adding pork-filled earmarks onto spending bills and trying to get useless Constitutional amendments passed. Even on national security they seem to have lost much of their clarity and can no longer distinguish necessary actions from politically opportunistic ones.

So let’s find out if the Democrats can do better. Let’s give them a chance to stop complaining and start governing. Have they really skewed unacceptably far to the left or is that just an illusion created by the fundraising power of the liberal base? Are they serious about helping out the least among us without taxing the rest of us to death? Do they have a vision of a better America like they claim?

Give them two years and we’ll see what they got. If they blow it, we’ll vote them out and cast them to the depths. It’s not so much that they’ve earned control of Congress. It’s that the Republicans have lost the right to be in charge. Democrats win by forced forfeiture. They’ll earn no mandate. They’ll have no time for crowing. We’ll give them just enough skeptical trust to allow them to prove whether or not there’s something there.

I offer no ringing endorsement. I simply think we can afford to try a little change.


Anonymous BrianinMa said...

Prior to 1994, Democrats had control of the house for 40 years. Clinton(the party hero) made himself busy giving North Korea nuclear capabilities under the promise they wouldn't be misused (Kimmy really followed through on that one, didn't he) and passing any defense or intelligence cut possible, oh, and not catching Bin Laden when he had a chance, to the point where he attacks Cris Wallace.

The idea the Republicans no longer have a "real agenda" is ludicrous. Keep tax cuts permanent, stay in Iraq until the country is stable, and try to privatize social security again so that people under 40 won't get utterly screwed. I'm not lending over my security to a party that has sold it down the river in the past and has been nonchalantly pushing the most insane left-wing Kos Kandidates available.

I'm usually with you Alan, but what exactly do you stand to gain from the Democrats? Remember, these are the people who want there to be more Ned Lamonts and less Liebermans in Congress, and don't think for a second the Democrats aren't going to impeach Bush, their shrill left-wing base would never allow it. They also would combat pork with the strength of a sleeping kitten, so you won't get anything there.

This isn't your father's Democratic Party. They cannot be trusted with our security or our support, they have no acrual plan, and the campaigns of those running for Senate focus SOLELY on how horrible George W. Bush and a Republican controlled Congress is. Their argument is essentially "pick the devil you used to know."

Two years is far too long a time for me to give up security to a bunch of Mcgovernites. I'll hold my nose and vote for porky republicans over suicidal dhimmicrats. The way I see it, we have little to gain if the Democrats win power, but much to lose.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Brian, I admit I could be greatly misplacing my trust here. But, everytime I criticize the Dems for being too liberal, too weak on security or too directionless, I get a host of people telling me I'm wrong and I'm just confusing the crazies at Kos with the Real Democratic Party.

So, basically I'm saying, o.k., show me. Prove to me you've got more to offer. As for the Republicans, they botched the whole privatizing Social Security thing, so that's not coming up again in the next 2 years. And Bush will veto anything too crazy the Dems do--so I really don't see why I need to support an incumbent Congress that has become disturbingly corrupt and ineffective.

We'll see what happens. I could eat me words.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My biggest concern about the Democrats is that many members of the party, particularly the hard-left base, clearly misunderstand the nature of the conflicts encompassed by what’s called the War on Terror. It’s not just that they have ineffective plans on how to deal with the threats, it’s that they habitually minimize the threat, believing it to be more a PR trick of Bush’s than a real and serious issue."

Much of what you say is true, although I would say that the Repubs in power today aren't taking this life and death struggle against Jihadism seriously either. Seems to me the WHite House and their Congressional apologits care more about using the "war on terror" as a way to line their corporate friends pockets and seize more power for the executive branch than really defeating this enemy. Unlike the folks who ran post0war Japan and Germany, these folks were more interested in political litmus tests for new hires than they were about building post-Saddam Iraq.
It really make me sad for my counyry and scaredd for future generations how Republicans are screwing up this serious fight.

1:42 AM  
Blogger cakreiz said...

My thoughts and views are much similar to yours, Alan, particularly on the left's tendency to underplay foreign threats and to overstate the evils of the Rumsfeld-Rove dictatorship. It's difficult for me to feel much sympathy for the Reps, given its ineffectual leadership on many issues over the last few years.

Here's the political reality for the Dems. Gaining narrow control of the House wll mean little as they will have much responsibility and little authority- not an enviable position. In contrast, the GOP does its best when counterpunching, not governing. ounterpunching, not governing. Ergo, expect much demonizing of the House leadership. The realistic bottom line is more rancor and division, just when we need to build a bipartisan foreign policy. It's a sad state of affairs.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Dyre42 said...

There is another benefit to the Dem's winning and that is it will show the GOP that what they have been trying to do isn't what many Americans (or even their base) wants. And as a result 2008 may usher in more fiscally conservative and pragmatic GOP candidates.

7:51 PM  
Blogger cakreiz said...

Alan- the lesson you've learned (that things are never as bad as the other party predicts) is exactly right. A Democratic House or Senate (or both) will have some effect on our body politic but not a wholesale one. Our ship of state needs a correction, and it will happen in a few weeks. Taken as a whole, that redirection will be modest.

11:15 AM  
Blogger cakreiz said...

Mark Daniels wrote this: "The bottom line is this: Voters are, by and large, disgusted with the Republicans. But they're not enchanted with the Democrats either." Exactly. A lesson I've learned, Alan, is that a prevailing party that's been out of power always overreads its mandate. So your fears of House impeachment aren't unreasonable, especially after the frustration that House Dems are likely to experience. Let's hope Speaker Pelosi has the wisdom to refrain (unlike her counterpart in 1998).

11:51 AM  
Blogger Seixon said...

Wow! I'm glad I found a place with what appear to be true centrists/moderates!

Anyways, Alan, I think I'm largely in agreement with you here. In the least, I think that if the Democrats take the House, it might be a good thing for the country. The Democrats will finally feel like they have some responsibility and might stop whining as much as they are now.

I'm just so damn tired of the Democrats ginning up scandals against Bush instead of doing their damn job of legislating for the American people. I'm so tired of the DailyKos-hypnotized Democrats buying into BS propaganda and lies.

However, I don't doubt for a minute that the Democrats will turn the House into a circus investigating the entire Bush administration for all their "war crimes" and so on, and so forth.

But I think I want to at least give them the chance to prove me wrong.

As you, I think that the majority of Democrats understand the stakes in this war, and wouldn't sell us out. There definitely is a wing within the party that does not get it. The Kennedy-Pelosi faction. They don't get it. They are beyond hope. They are part of the troupe that asks questions like "Why can't North Korea build nukes when we have them?"

I come across those types of hippies here in Norway all the time who are more scared of Bush than the Islamic extremist sitting right behind them waiting to slit their throat for criticizing Islam.

I am just so damn tired of all this partisan BS.

A new political party needs to be formed in the USA, a centrist party, and many of the politicians in the two parties need to break off and form it. A party that does what Americans as a people want, and not what liberal hippies or Christian fundamentalists want.

I think the best solution we can aim for today is a Republican president, and a Democratic Congress. You know, if the Democrats could just throw those damn moron "Bush is Hitler" liberals under the bus first.

Again, glad to find some independent voices out there in blog land.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is this "checks and balances" you speak of?

3:45 PM  

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