Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Like The "I Voted" Stickers...

My theme for this year’s election is borrowed from Nancy Reagan and is: “Just Say No.” Hopefully my usage of that trilexical slogan is less “head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist” than her usage of it was. 80s Flashbacks aside, the issue all the pundits seem to focus on is that Election 2006 is a mid (second) term report card for Bush and Co.; that a Democratic takeover is a bookend to the Republican “revolution” of 1994 (which, ironically enough was based on the idea of a smaller Federal government…boy did they screw that promise up).

The polls say at the very least, the House goes from Red to Blue. But me, I don’t really trust the polls. A lot o f them seem to be of the general “do you prefer Democrat or Republican?” and on probably most of the ballots, actual people with names will be used instead. Joe Six-pack may hate George W., but have an absolute man-crush on his local Congressman, who just might be a Republican. Obviously, the big worry here is that the polls turn out completely wrong, and Bush takes the slim congressional majority as a clear sign of yet another mandate of the people for him to go carte blanche and ignore the Bill of Rights even more in his final two years.

For all the right-wing “leftist media conspiracy” talk about how coverage of the leader of the Evangelical Council just happened to have multiple trysts with someone of his same gender and not his wife is a nefarious plot to keep the Religious Right from voting, it’s still pretty much just talk. And pretty insubstantial talk at that. If there was a media conspiracy, they’d be smart enough to know that the vast majority of that voting bloc isn’t about to vote Democratic, as they by-and-large see the whole party as Godless heathens, and you can’t trust Atheists to establish a theocracy.

The best case is that the House and Senate go blue, the likeliest outcome is that the House turns. I’d say slim Democratic control of both would be a great outcome. Democratic control would block most of Bush’s attempts to expand the Executive branch’s power, and possibly even scale it back, while between Republican filibusters (oh the irony possible there) and Bush’s sudden discovery of veto power could result in a glorious two years where the Federal government basically does nothing. If, like me, you think the government hasn’t really done anything good with the trillions of tax-dollars collected lately, a government that gets nothing done is a breath of fresh air.

Several months back, Atlantic had a great speculative article on the future US that had a great summation of Americans’ general take on our current two-party system (and I’m paraphrasing because I haven’t been able to find the damn issue, even after not one but two room semi-cleanings): we don’t trust the democrats to lead, and the republicans simply don’t know what to do once in power.

For the validity of the first part of that statement I think you can assign blame (or thanks, depending on your party loyalties) to Mr. Rove and company. A sizeable chunk of the population has practically been Pavlovianly set-up to nearly foam at the mouth in apoplexy when the words “liberal” or “democrat” are mentioned. Rove and others also like to perpetuate the myth that Republicans and only Republicans would do anything about terrorism (conveniently ignoring the fact that terrorism wasn’t much of priority for Dubya prior to 2001.) To hear some pundits tell it, if John Kerry had been elected, his first order of business would be to cede control of the US to whatever terrorist leader could catch the first flight out of the Middle East. Kerry’s near-terminal case of foot-in-mouth disease hurts his credibility, but his idea of approaching terrorism like a police action—while roundly mocked in talk-show and republican circles—seems like a sound approach. It’s the Right’s lunatic “war on an idea” approach that arises suspicions that a lot of the things done in the name of “protection” for us are maybe less for our own good and more for military-industrial complex spending. Extreme Islamic fundamentalist terrorists are not a country or countries, and neither are murders, roving gangs and thieves. At the very least, the lighter touch of strategic special forces use would attract both less media attention and possibly less international criticism, which, jingoism aside, is something we as Americans should have to consider. It’s all well and good to make fun of the French, but if too many people outside the US start to really dislike us, we can’t blame that on CNN, and things could get really ugly.

But the truly amazing thing to me, and I can’t figure it out (unless it goes back to the whole Pavlov thing) is the sheer cognitive dissonance it would take to vote Republican. The party took over Congress (and the Reagan Revolution also followed this plan) on promises of smaller federal government and lower spending. What have they done, especially since a Republican was in the White House? Grown the Federal Government and spent at rates not seen since FDR (that’s right, the guy that started all the social programs and withholding and all those programs people call talk radio shows to complain about.) Many terms of so-called “tax and spend” liberals couldn’t do it, it took a Republican to spend and grow the government at FDR levels.

And yet for millions of Republican voters, this apparently doesn’t matter. And I think it’s a major failing of the Democratic party to approach the whole War on Terror from a different angle. Refuse to be accused of “cutting-and-running” in Iraq. Didn’t Bush himself hang the “Mission Acomplished” banner years ago? What were the goals? Dispose the despot? Check. Set up a new government? They’ve had an election already. At what point do you say, “we’re trying to force the horse to drink?” Would it have been so wrong to say, as another Atlantic Monthly article did “we won” the war on terror and get rid of the whole “war” part? Just a thought…At this point I’m filing it as a “if it weren’t for my horse, I never would’ve spent that year in college” moment and forgetting about it.

Locally, well, first I’d be remiss if I didn’t say for local Athens politics you’re at the wrong blog, JMAC at Safe as Houses knows his steez, and I’m not even registered in Clarke, so that pretty much means the only thing of consequence I can vote for is governor.

For non-Georgians we have two main choices (and a Libertarian candidate that gets my vote): Mark “The Big Guy” Taylor, and Sonny “The Big Idiot” Purdue. I imagine poll workers will hear multiple people singing the “Douche & Turd” song from South Park. The polling numbers here basically have it as a near miracle if Taylor can even force a run-off, which is bad. Sonny got the gig primarily because Georgia’s previous governor, Roy Barnes, royally pissed of the teacher’s union. Sonny managed to piss of thousands of Dawg fans (myself included) by supporting Mike Adams in the Dooley incident, and as far as I’m concerned, generally sticking up for Adams in general (and generous contributions from a certain Board of Regents Member that may or may not be dating a certain gymnastics coach has nothing to do with I’m sure…) is cause for Sonny to go. Adams was brought in to raise money for UGA, and he’s been about as useful to the University’s endowment as those pumps that they advertise on the back pages of Hust…the point is he hasn’t gotten the job done. And really Sonny hasn’t either, but we’re likely stuck with him.

So bascially it's an election day that's about as fun and exciting as the fione Irish weather outside (cold, grey, and rainy.) Anyone for a belt of Jameson?

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I like the "I Voted" stickers much better than the "I Pooted" billboards.