Sunday, January 01, 2006

Looking ahead in U.S. politics

Pundits are making their political predictions for 2006 and beyond, and none are doing a better job of it than R. Emmett Tyrrell. Tyrrell writes, "In the media the [Republican] party is depicted as being in danger of losing to the Democrats in the off-year elections next fall. That probably will be the case, unless the Republicans have to run against the Democrats. Against the Democrats they could win with Warren Harding in the White House."

A stunning observation! Tyrrell reasons that "the Democratic leadership is fractured and dominated by people who are hysterical, abusive and oblivious. The things they have called George W. Bush this past year are as excessive as anything Joe McCarthy ever called his opponents, but without the charm or, for that matter, the factual basis. Not only that but they are feeding on their own. They have now made Sen. Joe Lieberman controversial and among the Democrats' left-wingers, objectionable."

Indeed, Sen. Lieberman grows more likeable every day! What accounts for this?
His transgression is to treat a war as a serious matter and demur from criticizing the government in a way that might encourage our enemies. He is also consistent. As a Democrat, he has stood by the principles outlined by Harry Truman in the Truman Doctrine. In sum: "I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." President Truman enunciated that principle before a joint session of Congress on March 12, 1947, after which he defied the last of America's isolationists and sought appropriations to take up the position of faltering Great Britain in Greece and Turkey.

Sure, there can be sincere disagreements and debates among politicians - but today's Democratic leaders have apparently lost all sense (and all sense of civility and rational discussion - e.g., see Howard Dean), their minds warped to a dangerous degree.
I think what is at the heart of the Democratic leadership's rants and partisanship is a refusal to admit the opposition's good motives. Second there is a refusal to understand the opposition's policies. As the Republicans' policies, both domestic and in foreign policy, are adaptions to the way the world is, that leaves the Democratic leadership in denial of the way the world is. It is this denial that will ensure the party's continued decline. The Democrats do have an alternative. Joe Lieberman is from the same wing of the party as Penn Kemble, and he is equally civilized. My guess is that the Democratic rank and file will in the years ahead side with Lieberman. That is the intelligent future for the party and there are still plenty of intelligent Democrats. It is just that they are not numbered with the likes of [Harry] Reid.

Speaking of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and his lunacy, Tim Chapman reports that he'll be joining ultra-left wing bloggers at a convention this summer - the "Yearly Kos" convention, designed to bring together the Daily Kos blog's community of liberals. Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, of course, was the guy who said "screw them" after four American civilians were murdered in Iraq.

Across the aisle, one of the biggest problems for the Republicans, in my mind, is their shameful deviance from small-government conservatism. Fiscal conservatives in the GOP base are alienated, and the Democrats will use the GOP's irresponsibility against them (but only because the Democrats simply oppose whatever the Republicans do, not because they actually take issue with such behavior). In light of this Republican failure (some might call it a betrayal), Scott Ott has a list of what President Bush's New Year's resolutions should be.

Indeed, in this opinion piece, Chapman says the GOP has "strayed from core conservative principles and fallen prey to many of the trappings of power." Still, Chapman agrees with Tyrrell that Democrats continue to shoot themselves in the foot. Top Dems are now advocating surrender to terrorists in Iraq (which seems to be an ill-advised policy position). The party reached a new low when, as Chapman explains, "In an interview with a San Antonio radio station, [DNC Chairman Howard] Dean said the U.S. would not win the war in Iraq. The 'idea that we are going to win the war in Iraq is just plain wrong,' said Dean. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman could not have written the script better if he tried."

Again, the question is whether the Democratic Party will join the apparently-sane Joe Lieberman, or continue on its present course. Chapman writes that
Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman stands virtually alone in the Democratic Party right now as a voice of moderation and reason. While his colleagues are bashing the war effort, he actually went to Iraq to see for himself the work being done by our troops on the ground. What he found, he liked. Lieberman's message: “Stay the course, have patience, we are doing the right thing, don’t politicize this effort…” Lieberman is certainly a lonely man in the party of Moveon (a name that is more apt now than ever before).

Along with the Iraq issue, the Alito nomination stands out as another example of Democratic insanity: They'll do anything (seriously) to stop the confirmation of a well-qualified judge with the proper judicial philosophy.

By overreaching first on the Iraq issue, and soon after on the nomination of Alito, Democrats have left behind the passive observer stance that had played well for them politically. Now, they have become the aggressor and unfortunately for them, the policies on which they have become aggressive -- immediate Iraq withdrawal and abortion litmus tests for judges -- are anything but mainstream.

This is a political implosion that was purely self-made. The Democrats have nobody to blame but themselves.

Though it's tremendously important, and often tremendously upsetting, politics is still always fun.

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