Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Only the Names Have Been Changed..."

What happened to all the idealists in the “new era?” I remember last November – Nancy Pelosi, shining and triumphant. After all, the big “house-cleaning” had been a mandate of the people. They wanted liberal policies, she supposed: more taxes, bigger government, universal health insurance, liberalized abortion laws, and more rights for gays and lesbians. Isn't that what the party is about? Obviously, that’s what America wanted, because they had thrown out the pro-life, anti-gay, fundamentalist conservatives.

Now, there’s something that most of the media does not want you to know. As dismal as Bush’s approval rating is (and you haven’t heard much about it lately because it’s been going up), he’s got a double-digit lead on congress. Wonder of wonders; even Dick Cheney has a higher approval rating than congress.** Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that the people that put them there are somewhat dissatisfied with their first year of performance? I mean, you can only milk “history” so far. It’s one thing to be the first woman speaker of the House, but finally, you have to do something besides wear a dress to congress and talk about your grandchildren. These people were put into congress last November by two groups: those who were “protest voting” the incumbents, and those who want to see more liberal tax laws, abortion funding, and gay/lesbian rights, including gay marriages. I have no data, but I suppose that the former was a much larger group than the latter.

And what have they done with their “mandate?” Well, they’ve drummed out an Attorney-general, issued several worthless subpoenas that cannot be enforced, and made sure that every Iraqi insurgent wakes up each morning with confidence that American troops will soon be gone. Honestly, can anyone tell me anything else Congress has done since January? They have spent a whole year throwing firecrackers at the White House with totally meaningless non-binding resolutions. At least, most normal people (notice I didn’t say the media) consider them meaningless. If they want us out of Iraq, why don’t they flex some of that newly-acquired political muscle and get us out of Iraq? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not in favor of liberal government, but if I were, I would be bitterly disappointed right now – no concerted effort to overthrow Bush’s tax cuts; no attempt to fund abortions; no efforts to add gay marriage to federal law – nothing.

In an amazing role reversal, the Democrats and Republicans are pretending to be – get this – each other! Republicans want to protect the poor, honor alternative lifestyles, and distance themselves from pro-lifers as much as possible. They want to court the gay vote, and while they don’t want to tax us further (at least publicly), they want to escalate spending. Meanwhile, the Democrats are quoting scripture, preaching in pulpits – sometimes even in white churches, and talking about God and government.

Never have I wanted a third party as much as I do now. I’ve looked into some of the others, but most just don’t have the heart – or the leader – to inspire enough Americans to abandon their own useless parties and “cross over.” It can happen, though. In the late 1970’s the Republican party was not a major contender. It had most of the characteristics of a third party, and then it had a leader. Ronald Reagan could inspire people to “take the plunge.” Even after he was out of office and suffering from Alzheimer’s, his momentum was still rolling. In 1995, I heard an East Texas farmer tell me, “I had never voted for a Republican in my life, but this past election, I voted a straight Republican ticket.”

Is there anybody out there with more charisma than I have, who could form a new party that inspired and actually had some convictions that did not change every hundred miles down the road? I have an idea for a name for your new party: call it the “Reaganite” party. However, one caution: look past anyone – even the obscure candidates – who are running right now. Find someone else with the spine that Reagan had. Even if I don’t agree with him on all issues, I’ll vote for his backbone (that’s the way RR did it).

In 2008, there may be a Democratic president elected, provided they can continue to keep everyone disillusioned about Iraq. If they win, they will manage to hang on to congress as well. But in 2010, it will swing back, and when it does, we will have a whole new slate of politicians to keep on doing the same things that have been done since 94 – nothing important. Or, we can vote for someone else. What if we woke up on a January day in 2011, and found that congress’ majority was made up of Independents? It could happen, couldn’t it? Or am I being too idealistic?

**Update, 9/19/07 -- both the President and congress have plunged to new lows, though Bush maintains his double-digit lead over congress. Check the story at:http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN1844140220070919?feedType=RSS&feedName=politicsNews&rpc=22&sp=true

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