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08 November 2006 @ 06:44 pm
Post-Election Thoughts  
In general, I am not unhappy about the outcome of the election. A party in power needs its butts kicked on a regular basis to keep things fresh. However, "not unhappy" does not necessarily mean "optimistic".

I am concerned that the rose-colored glasses will be scratched fairly early in the next Congress as people realize that - much as they might want to deride those who are currently discussing it - the newly-elected Democrats are not nearly as liberal as one might have thought and they mostly displaced the more moderate Republicans. I expect things to be nastier betweern the parties, not nicer. I expect those who were most speaking of compromise when they were in the minority to suddenly denigrate compromise as evil. I suspect that the lack of ability to force cloture in the Senate (should Virginia give the Dems the 51st vote) will lead the ones once screaming at the idea of gutting the filibuster to themselves again start discussing how anti-democratic the filibuster is.

It remains to be seen if there will be a new plan for Iraq or whether things continue to go to hell in a handcart while vengeance is wreaked upon those who got us into this mess. It remains to be seen whether subpoenas will be issued to find out what really happened or just to assign blame to someone - guaranteeing only that the next time no one will want to take action under any circumstances because any interpretational disagreement could become a criminal indictment when the tables turn. It remains to be seen if (once again) judicial approvals by the Senate grind to a halt hoping the Executive branch changes, handicapping our ability to function now.

I'm not saying any of these concerns are new or would be original to the party now in power. These seem to be the modern consequences of a divided government. Where once compromise was required, now inaction and deadlock are acceptable because it might lead to accusations that the "other guys" are at fault in the next election cycle. Sacrifice action now for a win later, and damn the consequences.

I'm not trying to poop on anybody's parade, but it isn't like the Satanic Legions of Hastert have just been replaced wholesale with Nancy Pureheart and her Cohorts of Goodness. These are still politicians, mostly pretty rich, with political axes to grind, special interests to please, and another election to win in two years. They are just different politicians, who favor certain rights and want to restrict others depending on their view of the good of society.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Robautographedcat on November 9th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
I am optimistic, but I'm prone to optimism in the face of daunting odds. It's part of what makes me, well, me.

I don't necessarily agree that what we mostly have are moderate dems replacing moderate repubs. In several cases, Pennsylvania's Santorum being one case that comes immediately to mind, a ultra-conservative was replaced with a more moderate Democrat. I'm in favour of moderates, being more of one myself.

How it plays out....remains to be seen. I hope we might see a shift back to centre, and in ANY case, I'm glad to see the return of a divided government, so there can be some checks on the balance of powers. The unitary executive scares me silly, no matter which party is weilding it.

Finally, I think everyone gets 48 hours of unbridaled celebration when the side they supported wins an election, especially if it's a sea change like this. After that, folks can settle down and we'll go on about the business of the day. :)

(Deleted comment)
Robautographedcat on November 9th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC)
In the closing weeks of the 1988 Presidential election, comedian Mark Russell quipped, "At this stage in the campaign, my greatest fear is that one of the cantidates....will win. No matter what happens, it will be the evil of to lessers."
mbumbymbumby on November 9th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)
I hope that you are being unduly pessimistic.

I'm not optimistic enough to believe that, though.
אליזהkestrels_nest on November 9th, 2006 02:03 am (UTC)
I read an analysis that Reagan's true legacy was that his policies had moved everything, and everyone, to the right. The Dems were more liberal than the Not-so-Grand-Old-Party, but nowhere so liberal as they had been in, say, Johnson's term. It seems to me that's true.
Bill Roperbillroper on November 9th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)
I don't know if that is Reagan's legacy or simply a shift in the national center that Reagan took advantage of. But I certainly believe that the country is more conservative now than it was when I was younger.
Keriskeristor on November 9th, 2006 09:24 am (UTC)
I don't know it it was Reagan or just the way things move. In the UK it is also true that the major parties are all well to the right of their traditional positions, with "New Labour" being well to the right of the old Tories (Labour are traditionally socialist and the Tories capitalist). Our "Liberal Democrats" are neither what I would call liberal nor much more democratic than the others...

Yes, "no matter how we vote the government still gets in..."
Susanlil_shepherd on November 9th, 2006 09:28 am (UTC)
And I remember all too well my euphoria at the first Blair victory.
stevieanniestevieannie on November 9th, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC)
Me too. I thought the world would change.


Well, at least New Labour taught me the danger of naivete...
Cat Sitting Stillcatsittingstill on November 9th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
My response to this got so long I decided to post it in my blog instead. Here I'll just say that I think some of the things you say or seem to be implying strike me as unfair, and leave it at that.

I'm sure the new government won't be perfect. And some of the problems the previous government saddled us with are not going to be easy to solve. Some of them may not be soluble. But I have high hopes the new Congress will make more progress.