Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Post Mortem


We lost fair and square. No doubt there was cheating in places, but there always is. Sure, we had all of the media except for Fox News against us (the Washington Times is too small to count much), but that's always been the case, and this time we do have the blogosphere. Bottom line is we shouldn't start in on how "the people are stupid", but rather use it as a time to plan for victory in 2008.

Let's not become like a bunch of moonbats and start falling for all sorts of wild conspiracy theories about voter "intimidation", Diebold machines and all what-not.

Further, let's not overreact. I can't find the link right now to prove it, but from what I've read GOP losses were about average for a the 2nd mid-term elections of a two-term president. Clinton did well in 1998, but he suffered his loss in 1994.

The Blame
Although most MSM pundits, and the Democrat leadership, will say that the reason Republicans were defeated was that going into Iraq was a mistake. More about the war below, but this is at best a half-truth.

Michael Ledeen had it partially right when he wrote that
I think Mark Steyn sums it up well: this was a normal 6th year election, not a paradigm shift. narrow margins in both houses of Congress, and we're back to divided government. I think the left's pickups were basically due to disenchantment with Bush and the state of the war in Iraq. In retrospect, isn't it fair to say that Bush's reelection and the Congressional results in '04 were basically a message to him? Get Iraq right, you've got two years or else.

And he hasn't got Iraq right, so the "or else" arrived as threatened.
No doubt there is a lot of truth to this. The American people are frustrated with Iraq. They want - or wanted - victory. Since this has not occured, they want to put someone else in charge. This is understandable.

But I think that Republicans could have survived had they kept their base. They didn't because the President and the Republicans in Congress didn't carry forth on their promises. The big three that I can think of are: 1) Spending on pork-barrell projects. Too many thought that they could buy off their constituants by "bringing home the bacon". This might work with liberals, but it turns off conservatives. 2) An ever-increasing federal government. At least Reagan tried to kill the utterly useless Dept of Education, and in the 1990s we tried to get rid of federal spending for the arts, but today's Republicans don't even try. 3) Illegan immigration. More on this below, but suffice it to say that this has become a huge issue and the national GOP refused to address the issue until it was too late.

Corruption was also an issue. It's not so much specific cases, as it is just the perception that Haskert et al didn't want to reform the system after the Abramoff scandal broke. And it's based in truth, because they didn't. It's no use complaining that there's a double standard, our guys (Cunningham, Foley) resign while theirs (Studds, Hastings) continue in office. Let's just resolve to purge our ranks of wrong-doers and start over again.

The War
The Democrat leadership will say that the election proves that Iraq was a mistake and that we need an immediate pull-out. I think it's more that Americans' are just disappointed that we haven't won it. The lesson, I think, is that after the initial invasion we lapsed into a series of half-measures when we should have gone for broke.

James Robbins thinks we're headed "back to the seventies", and it's hard to disagree.
The outcome of the 2006 midterm elections will have serious consequences for the war on terrorism and U.S. national security generally. If you liked the foreign-policy impotence of the 1970s, get ready for more
Whether they did so consciously or not, the American people chose the party of cut-and-run. There's no no nice way to put it. You can say that the Virginia Senate race, for example, was lost by Allen's mistakes all you want, but the fact is that Webb was Mr. anti-war and this is who they chose.

A reader they called the Pessimistic Hawk wrote into NRO with sentiments I again find hard to disagree with
Sooner or later, Baker's recommendations will likely be implemented, at which point al-Qaeda will be left in control of Anbar, Salahaddin, and possibly Babil and Diyala as well. They won't have any oil, but they'll have their failed state and that will give them a base from which to strike throughout the rest of the Middle East. Whether or not they are able to work out a manageable detente with Muqtada al-Sadr (who I expect will likely seize the southern part of the country), they won't be able to conquer his territory nor vice versa, meaning that we will still have a failed terrorist state made up of what was central Iraq to deal with. Oh, and a lot of innocent Iraqis are going to die, probably in the tens of thousands. But no one here will care about them, just like no one ever cares about the hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese and Cambodians who died when we abandoned Vietnam, but the important thing is that we'll all feel that much better.
Illegal Aliens

You'll hear a lot of "The GOP lost the Latino vote because of it's hard-line stance on illegals". Me: so you're saying that Latinos are in favor of illegal behavior? If so, then I don't want them in my party. Now, maybe we revisit the details of how we go about stopping illegal crossings (focus more on jailing employers or increasing legal immigration), but no way am I going to turn a blind eye to illegal immigration. Besides, it'll just alienate the base, and all you'll have accomplished is trade one voter for another.

The big danger here is that Bush or some other Republican will say that "this proves the need for comprehensive immigration reform", which will only drive the base further from the party.

I disagree with Fred Barnes that "what Americans want is a comprehensive solution to the immigration crisis" He says that Republicans "come together on a "comprehensive" measure that not only secures the border but also provides a way for illegals in the United States to work their way to citizenship and establishes a temporary worker program."

What a joke. We've been down this path before. When Reagain was president they passed a "comprehensive" bill which legalized the illegals, but it ended up ignoring the border problem. If they pass another "comprehensive" bill, we'll get the same thing: they'll legalize the legals, and once the see that attention is diverted to something else will go back on their promises to secure the border. It's all guaranteed to keep illegals streaming into the country. What a joke.

Yes I know, what about JD Hayworth? He's big on stopping illegal immigration and he lost his house seat. I'd say that his problem was that he made it his centerpiece, and it's the single issue by which we came to know him. He became too vehement on it and became perceived as a bit of a fanatic. Basically, he overplayed his hand. So while stopping illegal immigration should be part of the conservative agenda, it should not be centerpiece of the agenda.

Closer to Home

Last night I wrote about how my local congressman, Frank Wolf, won reelection. It was about the only good news of the night.

It looks like James Webb, who defeated Senator George Allen in Virginia, is going to play the Absolute Moral Authority card if anyone questions his stance on Iraq. As John Miller pointed out on NRO
The Washington Post, on Oct. 18:
Virginia Democratic Senate candidate James Webb, who was critically wounded as a Marine in Vietnam, said yesterday that he is uncomfortable talking about his personal story even if doing so could help him unseat Republican Sen. George Allen on Nov. 7.
The Washington Post, right now:
When Webb claimed victory, he did it as a Marine. He came into the Vienna hotel ballroom accompanied by his brother Gary playing the bagpipes, and about a dozen of his Marine buddies emerged from behind the stage. He stood at attention, ramrod straight, as they filed in.
The biggest disappointment of the night was Michael Steele's loss in Maryland. I think everyone in the conservative camp was pulling for him, and if it hadn't been a hard year for Republicans all 'round, he would have won. I don't think we've heard the last of him, though, and that is a good thing.

Allen and Steele lost, and The Washington Post won.

Also, I've heard that this enhances the prestige of John McCain. Obviously, with the defeat of George Allen, this removes one of his potential challengers for 2008. Given that evangelicals will likely reject Mitt Romney because of his Morman beliefs, and Guliani is simply too liberal, this enhances McCain's chances of getting the nomination. But since he is despised by so many conservatives, it also greatly increases the chance of a Democrat seizing the White House.

Romney, in his press release, said all the things that conservatives want to hear. I'm starting to like him more and more, but I just don't think he'll be able to get over the "Mormon thing".

Meanwhile, John McCain is saying all the right things on Iraq in his most recent press releases, see here and here.

For all of my differences w/McCain, he is right on the war. And his take down of Barack Obama last February was beautiful. And deserved.

The Good News

Pretty sparse, but here are a few things to consider.

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, and the Marriage Amendment in Virginia won by convincing margins. So the left needs to realize that the American people aren't buying their social visions.

Also, notice now gun control and abortion have disappeared from Democrat talking points? With the former, almost all Democrats now at least say that they're pro-2nd Amendment. Only the ones in the bluest of districts talk about passing new gun-control laws. See David Kopel's article on how our Second Amendment freedoms are largely still secure even with a Democrat House and Senate.

In addition, Arizona passed Prop. 103, English as the state's official language, 74%-26%. This, too, is a good thing.

Other than that, I hear we won a few dogcatcher races out west somewhere.