Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Democracy Wins

Well, I'm going to bed, but Publius demanded a concession. Here it is. I was wrong. You were right. I'll pay up directly. You need it more than me anyway.

The Senate still hangs in the balance. I think Talent will still pull it out, which is good for judges. (Maybe not - it just tightened again, and now it looks bad for Talent. Looks like we won't know who controls the Senate for a few months - ugh!) Why judicial nominations weren't a bigger issue in this campaign I'll never know.

I'm disappointed, but only a little. I worry about national security, and don't trust the 109th Dems on the subject. But I have faith that the new Democrats that were elected, especially from the Midwest, will take their responsibility seriously. I think the center of balance has actually moved a little to the right. And I think the American people get the big things right. (And even if we don't, we correct ourselves quickly - we survived the Carter Years, after all.) The Republicans didn't deserve to win, and it may be that a banishment to the wilderness for awhile is exactly what they need to return to the values I'm certain they share with the American people - spending, immigration control, etc.

And I've learned that I have work to do as a prognosticator. I'll take solace only in that I had the guts to put it in writing under my own name for all to criticize... I'm generally comfortable in my arrogance, but a little humble pie is usually good for us all.

Here's what I will say. You'll never see me wear black on the day after an American election, or sit around and mope. To do so is un-American, and I use that word as strongly as I know how. Every election we have in accordance with our two-centuries-old founding document represents a transfer of power without violence, with extraordinarily minimal cheating, and with grace befitting a great nation. Candidates will call their lawyers, not their militias, and the decisions of judges will be obeyed willingly. I won't ever accuse people of "voting against their economic interests" - people know what they're voting for. No matter how much we dislike candidates or outcomes, it is shameful to react with anything but joy over that fact. Shameful.

So there it is. I'm glad it's over, and now we move forward. On this night I'm proud to be an American. God bless America, and may our children tell us we did the right things at this most dangerous time in our history.

29 comments:

Derek said...

Oops...one more wrong prognostication for the road...

"I think Talent will still pull it out, which is good for judges."

ModMilq said...

Okay, who is Talent? What is he/she running for? I saw nothing on my ballot about this person yesterday

Derek said...

Jim Talent WAS an incumbent Senator from Missouri. He was beaten by Claire McCaskill.

Now he is going to be a lobbyist for some defense firm I'm sure.

Waldo said...

Another lesson to be learned for Republicans, which Orrin alluded to, is don't blame the people for not being smart enough. This loss requires some introspection on the part of the Republican leadership. The correct response is to return to the ideals that the party is founded on. When your base is begging you to address an issue, such as immigration and spending, listen to them. The issue of corruption, although it may not be as widespread as it is made out to be, needs to be tackled and dealt with.
A setback should not deter us from our goals. Our vision for America remains the same. We just need to alter our gameplan. God bless America.

Orrin Johnson said...

Derek - did you NOT see the parenthetical? Talent is one of the bigger losses this year. I'll shed no tears for Allen, Chafee, or Burns, but Talent was one of the good guys. Way to meet magnanimity with snidness. Sigh.

Waldo, you're so right. And look at the Democrats who won - hardly the wacky left. The Daily Kos and their ilk will celebrate this as THEIR victory, while ignoring their direct repudiation in Connecticut.

The GOP won in 1994 because they were unapologetic conservatives. Reagan won so overwhelmingly in the 80's for the same reason. Bush I lost in '92 because of his lack of conservatism, allowing Perot to take 19% of the vote.

PubliusRex said...

This may be a win for democracy, but we're not a democracy, we're a limited, constitutional democracy and a federal republic and it's a loss for both of those things.

ranjit Narayanan said...

Publius -- to quote Faith Hill, "Whaaat?" I don't see how this is a loss for a limited constitutional democracy or a federal republic. Its a loss for policies that both you and I support, but surely to see this slight re-alignment of the political forces in the country as the beginning of the end of the federal republic is a little too much, no?

PubliusRex said...

What the heck are YOU talking about?

I didn't say "beginning of the end." The beginning of the end was perhaps the New Deal.

To the extent that the vote put Alcee Hastings and Charles Rangel in charge of a House committees and Patrick Leahy in charge of the Senate Judiciary committee, it's exactly that - a victory for unlimited democracy. It's a victory for the "living constitution" which as we know, is no constitution at all. It's really about much more than any policy in particular - it's about the legitimate boundaries of government.

I'll buy the argument that the Republicans weren't true to the idea of limited government, but at least in Repulican circles, those ideas and discussions have currency.

SirWhoopass said...

Orrin, what do you mean by "unapologetic conservative"? If you mean in terms of small-government/personal-responsibility/fiscal conservative, then I completely agree.

What is conspicuously absent in the examples you cite is moral conservatism. The 1994 Contract didn't involve any moralily issues. Reagan is given a lot of credit for the defeat of the Prop 6/Brigg's Initiative (banning homosexual teachers) in 1978. Perot was a fiscal conservative and social libertarian.

PubliusRex said...

And to Orrin's larger point...

While I do think this is a (small) defeat for my view and the Federalist Soceity view on the legitimacy and role of government, I agree with Orrin about crying in one's beer or wearing black.

1L year, after the 2004 election, in my first class of the day, there was much wailing and nashing of teeth as well as insinuations about the bigoted nature of people who put the President over the top - temper tantrums like that. We then heard a soliloquy from our contracts professor about how life goes one. Pathetic. I don't view this as a victory in any way, but I also won't pout like many of my classmates did then and have been doing since.

Incidentally, some of what you say is true, Orrin. The Senate got more conservative in adding Webb and losing Chafee. And given some of the other nominated candidates, perhaps the democrat party is breaking free of the chains that ran from McGovern down to MoveOn.Org...perhaps it's going to sane again. Having two serious parties would be a good thing.

ranjit said...

Publius. The values you point to have almost no currency on the Republican side. This last Congress saw Republicans doing their best to expand the reach and power of the federal government to push their values. The Democrats will do the same. The Republicans are not, and have not been for the last 6 odd years the party of limited federal government -- spending, Terri Schiavo, No Child Left Behind, Prescription Drugs you can go on and on.

What happened yesterday is a political realignment, to say that the federal republic is dead because people you don't agree with will be controlling its legislature is frankly absurd.

How does Alcee Hastings rising to the chairmanship of a committee portend the death of the Republic? It seemed to survive several Republican congressman taking millions in bribes it should be able to survive a once impeached judge running a house committee. Or is Democratic corruption much worse than Republican corruption just because its Democratic?

PubliusRex said...

I have only two pieces of evidence that the ideas of which I am speaking have currency on the Republican side: A) Samuel Alito, B) John Roberts.

PubliusRex said...

Ranjit -

When did "defeat for limited government" = "death of the republic?"

ranjit said...

I think Alito and Roberts are strong, but do two nominations really outweigh all of the other steps taken by Republicans to grow the federal government?

PubliusRex said...

That's like weighing incomparables. I don't know. But I do know that there wouldn't be anything to weigh had the Republicans not gotten those two nominations through.

Orrin Johnson said...

Come on, now - it hasn't been that bad. We've killed a hell of a lot of bad guys. And while the spending has been shameful, the tax cuts have been huge. And it's not just Roberts and Alito - with the exception of Meyers, the judicial nominations have been on the whole very good.

ranjit said...

publius, sure I used a little hyperbole there, but you still have n't told me why Alcee Hastings' brand of corruption is a greater threat to the "federal republic" (your words) than all the Republican corruption we've seen over the last Congress ...

Orrin Johnson said...

Since he's an impeached judge on the INTELLIGENCE committee, which requires an unbelievable amount of integrity, I'd say Alcee is particularly dangerous.

PubliusRex said...

I never mentioned corruption. I don't know why you're challenging me on it. I'm against corruption, of course. That Alcee Hastings is corrupt is not why I'm against his chairing a committe. It has more to do with the fact that he is a (and I'm being nice here) socialist.

I should add, we wouldn't have to worry about the corruption so much if these legislators didn't have absolute power (which of course absolutely corrupts); power that has been usurped over the last 100 years because of the "living constitution" view. You shoudl expect corruption when there are three trillion dollars at stake in the federal budget.

ranjit said...

"I should add, we wouldn't have to worry about the corruption so much if these legislators didn't have absolute power (which of course absolutely corrupts); power that has been usurped over the last 100 years because of the "living constitution" view. You shoudl expect corruption when there are three trillion dollars at stake in the federal budget."

Now on that, I'll agree with you.

Orrin Johnson said...

SirW, what I mean by unapologetic conservatism is more in the Reagan vein.

- Fiscal Conservatism does NOT mean "pay as you go" - socialists can do that with huge taxes. It means tax cuts and government reductions.

- Strong military/American exceptionalism. Republicans have been better on this than Dems by far, but they're all wusses compared to Reagan's 600 Ship Navy and "we win, they lose" stance on Communism.

- Reagan was a deeply religious man who was against abortion, would certainly have been against gay marriage had it been an issue, etc. But he framed it more positively, and spoke of "virtue" as being central to sustaining a free society. Successful social conservatism is saying that two parent households are the best way to raise kids, it's OK to spank your kids, unabashed pride in a free society run on free markets, that we shouldn't be ashamed of humble beginings, and that there is nothing wrong with talking about God even in the public sphere. That's a clumsy description, but I think his cultural conservatism was more hollistic and more powerful than the current issue based sniping that people now associate with "Social Conservatives."

Those issues all are central. That's why Dems (especially the successful ones) ran as self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives who hate abortion and are against gay marriage, love to shoot things, and argued that Rummy was a failure because we didn't have ENOUGH troops in Iraq. We'll see how much their policies reflect their promises, but it's undeniable that socialist-liberalism is in profound retreat as an electoral strategy. If the Dems raise taxes or flee Iraq, they will be punished severely for their betrayal.

UWLawschoolhunk99 said...

I call it a welcome mat for the terrorists- but I also think that saying it makes the libs mad which is funny.

Derek said...

"Derek - did you NOT see the parenthetical? Talent is one of the bigger losses this year. I'll shed no tears for Allen, Chafee, or Burns, but Talent was one of the good guys. Way to meet magnanimity with snidness. Sigh."

Apologies Orrin. It wasn't intended to be snide, but I can see how that happened. I posted that shortly after Talent conceded, as much for a news item as anything. Again, my apologies.

Talent was a good guy, but I won't miss any righties that want to make my decisions for me.

PubliusRex said...

"Talent was a good guy, but I won't miss any righties that want to make my decisions for me." I can only assume this is a reference to abortion.

How do you feel about lefties who do the same, on taxes, 2nd amendment, property rights, contract rights, etc?

Why is it the only "decision" or right that seems to be acknowledged by "liberals" is the right to kill the unborn?

Derek said...

Pub-
I can only assume that you want me to share my opinion with others, because we've talked about this extensively.

I am for freedom in all its forms. That's why I voted against the strip club ban.

However, this also includes the freedom from being threatened by others actions.

PubliusRex said...

Higher taxes and more regulations make decisions for you.

Derek said...

Publius-
Taxes and regulation are a tradeoff I make with my neighbors to combat the free rider problem.

I am in control of those things through the people I send to congress and the legislature.

Outlawing strip clubs does not combat the free rider problem, it merely prevents people from making thier own choices.

Gun control, abortion, making drugs and prostitution illegal, outlawing online gambling, the smoking ban, trans-fats ban are all examples of the improper use of government power.

PubliusRex said...

"Gun control, abortion, making drugs and prostitution illegal, outlawing online gambling, the smoking ban, trans-fats ban are all examples of the improper use of government power."

It all depends on what you think the extent/nature of the transcendent police power is/was at the time of the founding and how the bill of rights and other constitutional provisions carve out exceptions.

Gov't health care is another good example of something that absolutely kills freedom. It makes millions of people's choices for them. As does "affirmative action" - which I was glad to see the voters of Michigan strike down notwithstanding the cowardice of politicians who refused to touch the issue.

Orrin Johnson said...

Derek, all of the regulations you cited as "improper" are also subject to your review via your vote, and all affect the entirerty of society (including "free riders"). You are no less "in control" of those things than you are "in control" of taxes. The impingment on freedom is still there. And to the extent that other people want lower taxes than you, you are the government making decisions for other people. The distinctions you make don't make sense.

Frankly, as much as I think strip clubs should be legal, I don't question society's interest in regulating or even eliminating them if they so choose. And poor access to strip clubs impacts my freedom FAR less than high taxes.

What's more, high taxes CREATE "free riders" - they don't solve the problem of it. Look at the failure of socialism for proof positive.

ALL government regulation - taxes, safety regs, liquor laws, etc. - should be enacted ONLY when absolutely necessary.