After letting the election digest for another day, I have a few thoughts. First, it still doesn't taste good. I never thought that the losing leads to winning theory had much merit. I still don't. Funny, I can't many successful people who believe that losing necessarily leads to winning, either.
But things will get better. The sun came up again today, making it two days in a row since Tuesday. Still, the opportunity for mischief in D.C. has now increased dramatically. It's already underway, with Nancy Pelosi correcting Brit Hume by stating that "victory" in Iraq is not the objective, but rather, "solving a problem". Wow, I feel encouraged already that she is in charge and those evil Republicans are gone. Remind me: Who gets punished when Demos are in charge?
I enjoyed very much Don Surber's comment that people had "fired the amateur crooks and replaced them with the pros." No kidding. Don's sentiment underlies a lot of my thoughts, that is, that the nation opted for curing a nagging ailment by replacing it with a deadly disease.
So, without further delay and in no particular order, here are my random thoughts as we thankfully and finally put the '06 debacle to bed:
Perfect Storm -- A lot of people are trying to crystallize what happened around a single theme, such as Iraq ... or corruption ... or the Demo strategy of nationalizing the elections in this political environment ... or the Republicans losing their way. In my view, it was a perfect storm of all of the above and then some.
Indeed, the level of corruption on the part of Republican officeholders was high. For sure, some, such as the Delay indictment fiasco, was cooked up. But there was some "there" there across the board. Plus, there were a number of open seats in the House, and Iraq, and an Admistration unable to coherently explain its position on Iraq, and the Republicans' seeming contentment to govern as moderates after campaigning as conservatives. Plus, there was the natural six-year itch. It was all of this. Still, I think conservatism (or rather the lack thereof by the Republicans) was the biggest factor.
But Conservatism is Alive and Well -- I know some of you don't agree, but conservatism is alive and doing fine. Ask Harold "My Lord and Savior, the Gun is in the Pickup and We'll Meet You at the Redneck Bar" Ford in TN. Harold kept trying to outflank Corker on the right until Corker woke up and started telling the truth to voters. Demos won in the House with a wide array of conservative Demos whose platforms would be called fascist by the Kos-Stitutents, had these Blue Dogs not paved the way for Pelosi and Co.. Demos looked up and found Republicans afraid to behave like a majority and explain their views, and the Demos accordingly moved to outflank them on the right. Conservatives need to be able to explain their views and aggressively defend their position. Absent the conservative case being made by Republicanss, Demos moved to fill the vacuum, particularly in the Midwest and South. This was smart politicking, but it will be interesting to see how it works out for them in the majority. By the way, the "non-generic ballot" was actually 51-46.5 in favor of the Demos.
Consider, too, that in PA, pro-life Bob Casey kept his mouth shut and won. In VA, Webb the novelist ran to the right of Allen, who was content to make it a personality contest. A number of Republicans turned out alright, and they voted for Webb. In 7 of 8 states, gay nups were nixed. AZ made English the official language and outlawed giving punitive damages to illegals. J.D. Heyworth's opponent campaigned as tough on immigration and took advantage of J.D.'s Republican colleagues failure to do anything on immigration. Affirmative action was shot down ... in Michigan. On the Demos' side, a few minimum wage initiatives passed. Say, I wonder ... what does all the foregoing say to the pocketbook first-and-only conservatives?
The Candidates Matter -- People look at elections and tend to discount the human element, but it counts for a lot. In VA, George Allen essentially gave up his seat via a horrendous campaign that didn't campaign enough on conservatism. Instead, he seemed content to go personal and made news only by breaking out Webb's disturbing novels (didn't he know that porn rallies the Demo base?). But seriously, Republicans who get outflanked by Demos on the right lose. Demos who get outflanked by Republicans on the left win. What does that say about the location of the almighty "political center"?
And speaking of candidates, let me say a word about the only remaining Republican (really RINO) congressman, Christopher Shays of CT. You know, Shays is a mess. But he knows how to campaign. One blogger (I forgot who) said that he likes a guy who knows how to swim with a knife in his teeth. When all of the Foley garbage (and it was garbage) was flying, Shays responded to calls for Hastert's head by pointing out that "no one had died" as a result of what Hastert had done. Shays fought back, rather than trying to make nice with those who were engaging in demagoguery. He won. He may be a RINO, but any politician who has risen up and stuck a harpoon in that tub of goo named Kennedy (particularly in New England) is alright with me.
To win, Republicans need to understand the opposition and fight to win.
Link Chafee Lost -- That's a good thing. The only reason, and I do mean only, for him to have won would have been to preserve a Republican majority. RINO's generally end up hurting the party's conservative majority and depressing the base turnout. And Mike DeWine lost, too. I was pulling for him, but ... at least he went down being most known for preserving the Democrats' right to filibuster Republican judicial nominees. McCain and his cohorts in the Senate, as much as any Republicans, are responsible for the new Demo congressional majority.
But ... Santorum, Talent, Steele, Allen, and Burns also lost -- People who rejoice at housecleaning for housecleaning's sake are morons. A lot of of good people got washed away in the Demo flood. This is what happens when Republicans are elected by a conservative base and certain senators from AZ and their ilk appease the opposition rather than their own voters.
A Majority for a Majority's Sake is Worthless -- This is what the Republicans have learned now, and the Demos will be faced with this problem soon. Like I said a few days ago, if a disasterous immigration bill comes out of a Demo congress, it will be Demos who are responsible ... not Republicans. Remember every one that Pres. Bush wanted "comprehensive immigration reform" this year, but a House Republican majority stopped him. People who thought they might punish Republicans for inaction on immigration are probably going to see some action from this Congress.
This reminds me: Things can always get worse -- The quest for perfection in this life is futile. The admission of imperfection in oneself and others is the road to real progress. Yes, the Republicans spent too much. Yes, they did not stand up and defend conservative principles loud enough and long enough. A Republican Senate, though, confirmed two conservative Supreme Court justices, cut taxes, supported the war with Militant Islam and passed the Patriot Act. And when it tried to go too far and pass McCain's disasterous immigration bill, Republicans in the House stopped it. For those conservatives that didn't like the Republican Congress, get back to me in a couple of years.
Libertarians and Other Perfect-Church Third Party Types Should be Allowed to Attend Meetings But Should Not be Allowed to Vote -- In Montana, reliably conservative Conrad Burns was defeated by the leftist Tester by 3,000 votes. I looked at the vote total and learned that 10,000 blazing idiots provided the margin of victory by voting for the Libertarian candidate. Why? Well, it seems they wanted to be heard. I think I did hear the faint cries from Big Sky on Election Night: "We're idiots!!! Look at us!! Do you hear?! We're making a stand for stupidity!!" It appears that the Conservatives on Drugs were upset about the Patriot Act and its potential limits on their freedom. What?!! It seems that these lads didn't realize that Tester can't and won't do anything about the Patriot Act. But he can hold them upside down and shake every last coin out of their pockets. Maybe some porn and/or pot will fall out, too. But to Tester and the libertarians, that's okay. It's the hypothetical freedom, baby. So, now we get Harry Reid and Co. setting the Senate agenda. Surely, that's better for liberty.
Here's what you need to know about libertarians and their third-party kinfolk and so-called "independent" types of all stripes ... you know, those too high and mighty to ever associate with a political party: They believe they are either too virtuous or too smart to work with or for a political party. Truth is, they are neither virtuous nor smart. In fact, they lack common sense and should sit out elections until they get some. In wartime, these perfect-churchers can get Americans killed if they are able to affect elections. Sound harsh? Well, a Demo Senate awaits and we will have no more conservative SC justices for the foreseeable future. You can thank the libertarians in MT for that. Elections are won by gaining majorities and forging coalitions. Finding a half-dozen disgruntled likeminded rejects does not qualify as a coalition.
Finally, my political political strategy remains the same -- Redstate put it well in a post this a.m.: "We remain committed to being conservative first and Republican second. We also remain committed to being a part of the Republican coalition, which is still the best vehicle to advance the conservative agenda." Amen and amen.
Random Thought -- Please promise never to come back to the site again if I ever write, "Heh" (other than this one occasion and/or to deride those who utilize said phrase).
Now, back to business. I see the sun is predicted to rise again tomorrow. I'll be.