Friday, January 15, 2010

Dropping the Ball Big-Time

I did not think it was possible to do it this fast. Oh, I knew it was possible to accomplish, but this was a speed record. In one of my earliest posts in this blog, I commented on the Republican party and the great election sweep of 1994, which was followed by a Republican president in 2001. Suddenly, this party was in the driver's seat: both houses of congress, the White House, and the prospects of three or four new Supreme Court justices.

They had a mandate including such new ideas as the "Contract with America," involfing term limits, the line item veto, and a return of tenth amendment power to the states. But what happened when they got there? It must be the swampy air of the Potomac. It seems that most people's minds lose IQ points when they get to Washington.

Fast forward to 2008. The Republicans had already lost their majorities; now they lost the White House, and gave up even more congressional and senate seats. I looked back on those fourteen Republican "golden years," and I could find nothing -- nothing -- of the "Contract with America." What we had was greed, pork, corruption, increased spending, and general incompetence. Their brightest new stars, such as J.C. Watts and Steve Largent, had disappeared earilier, seemingly disillusioned by "business as usual" politics of their own party in the Capitol cloakroom. The "pro-life" party had allowed abortion in America to increase; the "pro-family" party had stood by apathetically as radical "gay" rights groups had made violent invasions into the institutions of family, religion, education, and state.

But it took Republicans fourteen years to make a shambles of their party. Democrats will do it in two. They may be candidates for Guiness' Book of World Records. Whether I agree with their principles or not, they have failed miserably to accomplish anything at all. The war continues, and they promised it would be over. All of the special interest groups: abortion rights feminists, gays and lesbians, and government-controlled education radicals, have all been disappointed. Many now call Mr. Obama "Bush-Lite," and wonder what happened to the other people that they sent to Washington in the November sweep of 2008.

One case in point is the obscene "health care" bill, which no one has read, the majority of Americans don't want, and whose contents are being kept "top secret" by Reid and Pelosi. The bill has already cost us more than we can imagine, and if it comes to pass, the gigantic pork-filled earmarks will bankrupt our descendants four generations from now. We have watched them spend over two trillion dollars with no visible improvement to the economy, the job situation, or the general welfare of Americans. The only ones who seem to have benefited at all are those large Wall Street businesses and money-collecting banks that the Democrats told us were so evil and were in "cahoots" with Republicans.

Harry Reid's numbers are so low that even though he's from Nevada, I don't know how his own Las Vegas could give him any odds on winning. Yet he says it's all "okay." Massachusetts, where I didn't even know any Republicans lived, including Mitt Romney, the Democratic party has been seriously embarrassed. Scott Brown may not win next week, but the fact that the Democratic Party has ramped up money and publicity to try to protect "Ted Kennedy's seat" says to me that the Republicans have already won this election, even if Brown does not, by making it an actual race. Most people, conservatives included, thought it would be a coronation for Kennedy's heir apparent. The very idea that it is even close is frightening to the Democratic party, which really thought it had been given a carte blanche by American voters.

The free-wheeling spending, the abuse of power, and the wholesale breaking of promises has destroyed the faith that the electorate put in the Democratic party in 2008. Everywhere you look, you hear of "buyer's remorse," especially among independents.

America has even been disillusioned by the so-called "independents." Whether they are "blue dog" Democrats like Nebraska's Ben Nelson, pseudo-Republicans like Arlen Specter claimed to be, or self-aggrandizing fence-sitters like Joe Leiberman, we have realized that these people were not really "independent" thinkers, but people who realized their significance as "swing votes" and used that power to obtain special favors. Nelson is probably the biggest traitor with a close second being Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, who both pretended to have the interest of the nation at heart, to be fiscal conservatives and social moderates, but who, when offered literally hundreds of millions of dollars in state pork, quickly abandoned their own convictions and those of their constituencies for a bribe.

We have watched as Democratic leaders have cut special deals for special interest groups. Perhaps the most obscene is organized labor, which was rightfully incensed at the tax penalty that is proposed for those who actually have good health insurance. They were quick to back down when the Senate leadership promised them that unions would be exempt for a few years.

This Democratic session has been anything but "democratic." They have lived off the "me first" mentality that they were so fond of accusing Republicans of having in the Reagan years. What we as Americans have to look forward to is an ever-burgeoning, gigantic debt, which realistically, any economist will tell you our collected taxes can not even pay the interest on the interest of what we owe. This bill will further erode what little medical care we have in rural areas -- any district of less than 250,000 people -- and consequently will further crowd and congest the hospitals and emergency rooms of our metropolitan areas.

Republicans are gleefully clapping their hands at the gains they will make in November, but most Americans are not. Republicans will gain ground, of course, but we had a fourteen year lesson in what will happen to them. As I see the same tired, failed poster children of the last Republican takeover, Newt Gingrich being their leader, I realize that we have nothing to look forward to in this party.

The best we can hope for in current conditions is a "draw." We need a 50/50 senate, and a house with a less than ten margin either way. Such close numbers tend to deflate partisan arrogance and encourage the bipartisan cooperation that we heard Democrats boasting about so much in early 2009.

But can I close this by dreaming a little? What we really need is a purge. We need to vote out incumbents in both houses. The best way to do it, of course, would be to put third party candidates in the house and senate. I'm not talking about "independents." There is a special arrogance there, and I haven't really seen an indepentent recently who wasn't either a traitor to his former party or a boot licker to it. Some have even been both.

What we need is to elect people from identifiable third parties. The Libertarian and Constitution party come to mind, though if you are more to the left, there are others, such as the Green party that I guarantee will do more for environmental causes than any Democrat with lobby money in his pocket.

At the very least, Americans should seriously consider other political parties besides the "big two." Republicans and Democrats, in spite of all their differences, work together on one issue: keeping third parties off state ballots. Even if you don't want to vote for them, you can sign petitions, or start one, to get more parties permanently on your state's ballot. Encourage people to run for positions at all levels in these parties. The Democrats and Republicans are counting on you to ignore the other columns on the ballot. They both want "status quo," and we will never get any new, fresh ideas until we are willing to break out of the two party mold.

My dream for a better America is to wake up on a January morning where no political party has a majority, where politicians must come together and work out bills, rather than draw up obscene agreements behind locked doors. It is a dream I hope to see fulfilled in my lifetime. It is a dream that would make me supremely happy next January.

No comments: