I’ve had a few days to savor the Democrat landslide victory this past Tuesday. I was half right about the razor thin majorities. Democrats have a slim two seat advantage in the senate, but a fairly significant thirty-four seat majority in the house (with ten races undecided). Given that the Republicans had a twenty-eight seat majority in the last congress, that’s a pretty significant turnaround for the Democrats. Frankly, I’m pretty excited.
Here are a few short takes on the election:
- We can close the book on Rove’s “permanent republican majority” pipe dream. America isn’t a conservative country. It isn’t a liberal country, either. It’s a moderate country. Liberal and conservative are the words we use to describe the direction one diverges from the middle ground. This election was decided by the moderates in this country, which isn’t surprising as the bell curve tells us that it’s the moderates who are in the majority. Political parties ignore the middle at their own peril.
- Democrats didn’t win the election on Tuesday, the Republicans lost it. Hard working moderate Americans have limited tolerance for ineptitude and corruption, as the Democrats found out in ’94 and the Republicans found out this week. There are those on the left howling for elephant blood, but spending time exacting revenge on the Republicans won’t solve any of America’s hard problems. The Democrats are talking like they realize this, but actions speak louder than words.
- Speaking of actions and words, President Bush talked a good talk Wednesday, but I’ll believe President “The Decider” Bush honestly wants to “work with the new Congress in a bipartisan way” when I see it. Trying to push John Bolton’s confirmation as well as retroactive authorization for the warrantless wiretapping program through congress before Democrats officially take control isn’t a promising start.
- There’s no such thing as a political party that actively works for limited government. It isn’t that surprising, as it violates my Numero Uno theory. Individuals may want limited government, but there’s no way a government entity like a political party will actively work to reduce their own importance. Republicans claim to be for shrinking the federal government, but their actions contradict that claim. Republicans like Reagan and Bush cut taxes, but they never actually cut spending to match. As such, the Federal Debt / GDP ratio has about doubled in the past 18 years, with the only reduction coming while Clinton was in office. Claiming to cut taxes without cutting spending is like claiming you’re making more money because you’re not paying your mortgage. Republicans aren’t cutting taxes, they’re deferring them. It’s time to realize that you can’t starve the beast and move on to more pragmatic policies. Better a tax-and-spend liberal than a borrow-and-spend conservative.
Update: In the interest of bipartisanship, here are some less than reputable Democrats poised to take key positions in the new Democrat controlled congress. Making someone with a congressional impeachment or under FBI investigation the chair of a congressional committee isn’t a promising start to “draining the swamp”.