Thursday, October 19, 2006

On the 2006 Midterm Election

The litany is old hat by now, vote Republican or else you'll get the Democrat. Iraq will be lost, no more nominations the likes of Roberts and Alito, taxes will go up, and on goes the familiar parade of horribles.

But one refrain has gained volume, Conservative voters likely to stay home. And the rebuttal, or better, remedy, is more of the same parade of horribles and tooting of the horn regarding past success.

There is no acknowledgment of a need to "do better," or "be more conservative," or to "reduce the size and involvement of government," or whatever. If you vote Republican, you get, well, what you have been getting -- no change. And if you don't vote Republican? the GOP will pile guilt and ridicule on you - in fact, for good measure, they'll pile that on before you go to the polls. It's the old blame the voter ploy, the ploy of parties that lost and won't take responsibility for their own fate.

"We promise not to change" and "they are worse than us" are not energizing pitches. Not at all. Piling guilt and ridicule on people tends to piss them off. Blaming the voter before losing the election? Strengthen the party by mocking conservatives? Stupid party indeed. I'll add, "lazy."

How about some improvement? How about a promise to try to rid the Senate of the 60 vote hurdle of "threat of cloture rejection" that was successfully used by the Democrats to keep Myers, Haynes, Boyle, Smith and Wallace from getting an up-or-down vote? How about an articulate presentation and defense of effective immigration and border control? How about admitting that flag burning amendment is an infringement of speech? and that campaign finance laws are too? And what's up with the focus on Foley? If friendly e-mails and cyber masturbation are the threshold for cause to eject a member, say so - and investigate ALL of Congress, not just contact with Foley.

That's just a quick "off the top of the head" list. Make your own. Are you content with Republicans? Fine. Do you want to sell Republicans to the lethargic voters? Do you think "we're great just the way we are" is a powerful selling point? It is not, and emphatically "not" to a voter who is disappointed in Republican performance.

And on disappointment, having read what the Republicans really do, and comparing it with what they say they do, I come away feeling misled more often than I expect. Usually on small points, but not always. And even if the Republican misdirection is on trivial points, honesty and transparency counts for something - it's reasonable to be unenthusiastic about a group that one doesn't fully trust.

And another - the Republican leadership has cultivated a sense of "party ├╝ber alles." Support Lincoln Chafee because he has an (R) after his name? Maybe Hillary! will do better as an (R) than as a (D) - hey why not, if you can't beat them, join them!

Are the Republicans as a group more intellectually honest, moral and transparent than Democrats? No doubt in my mind, they are, absolutely. But neither party is as intellectually honest as I would like, and I find both parties to be manipulative.

What would enthuse me to vote Republican would be a promise to work on those points - starting with straight answers instead of bullshit. The Democrats successfully block more Senate floor votes for Circuit Courts of Appeal nominees than has ever happened in history, and the GOP message is "we have done a great job at passing nominations." John Bolton's nomination - likewise held up, if judges aren't your cup of tea.

And when the Secure Fence Act of 2006 is signed into law, the Republicans will crow "success," while in fact, "success" is far afield, needing appropriation of funds, and probably significant revisions to the statute.

I wish for an honest government - and realize that this is just not in the nature of things. I wish for voters to expect transparent government, and to detect bullshit - and realize that this too is a pipe dream. And the beat goes on.

P.S. I vote Republican. Save your guilt and ridicule for a more manipulable mark.

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