Views on politics and current events

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Random Thoughts On The Aftermath Of Election '06

With Democrats having a majority now in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, the American electorate has spoken. It tends to happen that congress switches controlling parties, many times congress switches to the opposite party of the sitting adminstration. This in itself can be looked upon as evidence that the American electorate prefers a division of power between the parties. And is most evident in this current election result after six years of one party controlling two branches of government.

So now the question is, what does this mean? After one of the greatest do-nothing congresses in American history, does the shift of power mean that finally some much-needed legislation will be forthcoming from the new congress? Being a born-again skeptic, the best I can be is cautiously optimistic. Some reasons for that optimism:

  • The 'resignation' (more like a boot out the door) of Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld in my opinion, along with Vice-President Cheney is one of the torch-bearers of neoconservatism. In one move, President Bush has removed one torch-bearer, and gone against the influence of another. Perhaps for the first time in his presidency, Bush made a decision that is counter to an ideology that was taking this country down the road to fascism. Some analysts have taken this to be the death-knell of neoconservatism. Time will tell if that is a fact. If it indeed is a fact, everyone in this country, including conservatives, should celebrate. Neoconservatism has been the wolf in sheep's clothing, for there is nothing 'neo' (meaning new) or 'conservative' about it. It is but a reclothing of undue corporate influence in government, erosion of freedom, militarism, and power-mongering.
  • The President's jab at Karl Rove. Asked about an apparent 'book reading contest' between Bush and Rove, Bush replied that since he was busy campaigning, Rove had more time to read. This may not look like much, but as Rove is also a torch-bearer of neoconservatism, it was significant, and it implied that Rove didn't 'come through' this time. Rove's predictions of Republican victory in the election did not hold true. Has Bush finally seen the writing on the wall?
  • The President's agreement that comprehensive immigration legislation will be easier to accomplish with a Democratic congress. For a Republican president to say any legislation would be easier to arrive at with the opposition party in power is huge.
  • Bush's 'We took a thumpin' statement. Actually, what he said was a 'collective thumpin'. Admitting that many of the races were close, collectively it was a thumpin'. Perhaps Bush realizes that he has to work with the opposition? Time will tell.
  • Absence of much of Bush's previous swagger and arrogance. Have the neoconservative ideologues' failure to 'bring home the bacon' in this election caused the President to feel a loss of power? Again, perhaps. Again, time will tell.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that I am now a full supporter of Bush. He has been the President after all, and has either gone along with the neoconservatives out of personal conviction or convenience. Either way, Bush still has much to atone for in my book. And this one press conference could have been an anomoly for an otherwise arrogant President. But with power comes arrogance, and without control of congress perhaps that arrogance will be stifled.

The liberal/progressive community has had a long dry spell. The Republican-controlled congress and executive branch have accomplished very little, if anything, constructive for the country as a whole. The dry spell is over. The Democrats now are in a position to lead instead of being led. Hope springs eternal.

I sincerely hope that the Democrats use their power for the constructive solving of issues, that they leave room for compromise where there is an opportunity for compromise. And let's not go off on the use of the word 'compromise'. Compromising can only be done when there is room for compromise. I am not suggesting that Democrats need to kow-tow to anyone or sacrifice basic liberal/progressive beliefs. Not every issue is compromisable to be sure.

I would hope that the Democrats will offer a hand to the opposition, realize that a loyal opposition is vital to the working of our government, work towards changing the incredible nastiness that the Republican majority have injected into politics. It may be a tall order, after so many years of being in the minority, to not lapse into the same rut of power politics and vindictiveness. We have seen how the opposite side of the political fence operates, and it was not good for anyone. It will not be good for anyone if the Democrats do the same.

1 comment:

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