Political history should have taught some lessons, but historical ignorance has been bipartisan,
What will people in positions of power learn from the election results today?
Seeming no-win wars in Asia were political millstones for both Truman and Johnson. The situation in Iraq is far different from that in either previous conflict. The Middle East has tremendous impact on the world economy and there have been attacks on American soil as well as on our external interests. Yet given the limited attention span of the public, it is difficult to sustain enthusiasm for a conflict that has degenerated from quick traditional military victories into a protracted war of attrition of will.
One Republican domestic failure came as a result of the fumbling of the illegal immigration issue. Democrats could have been pushed into the hot seat on this issue, but Senate Republicans seemed to have thrown away the potential political advantage by not even showing a dime’s worth of difference with Democrats. House Republicans were more vigorous in displaying traditional respect for the tenets of meaningful National sovereignty. It is ironic that Republican control of the House is more under threat than with the Senate.
There is also a form of victory disease that has made too many Republicans display venality typically associated with Democrats supported by big city machines with politics based on graft and heavy-handed dispensing of patronage. Prolifigate spending on pork may be a means of buying votes, but is it not the moral equivalent of selling one’s soul?
We see political ‘master technicians’ with skills in playing a triangulation game that stresses what will win over that which is right. For decades the GOP drifted as a second-rate party controlled by the Country Club/Board Room set dominated by the so-called ‘Eastern Establishment’. They seemingly saved themselves by Running Eisenhower, but this ‘cult of personality’ approach had marginal coattails. The public did have concern over high taxes and the Soviet threat. Eight years of (nominal) Republican rule did little about the former and nothing (visibly) spectacular about the latter. When Democrats dumped the left-of-center Stevenson for the more conservative sounding Kennedy in 1960, they did convince many ‘security voters’ that it was time to take some bold action and Kennedy won a narrow victory, albeit with the help of some questionable electoral jiggering in Illinois, Missouri, and Texas. Kennedy did cut taxes.
A popular revolt by young activists in the GOP overturned the dominance of the Eastern Establishment in 1964 but the Goldwater nomination was followed by a debacle, one in which Republican liberals (conveniently disguised as ‘moderate’ by Big Media) went out of their way to stab their party’s nominee in the back. The Left won in 1964 but principle won in the longer run, when Southern-fried Liberal Jimmy Carter was dumped in favor of Ronald Reagan, a vocal Goldwater supporter. Ending the potential threat from the Evil Empire was Reagan’s primary goal and he never lost sight of it.
George Bush has been faulted for his policy in Iraq but his domestic behavior may have damaged his party base even more. Pork and good intentions may have played into the hands of the enemy. Where were the vetoes of measures that should have been blocked? An effort to ‘help America vote’ has subsidized the enforced acquisition of the first election recording equipment with a potential to enhance wholesale vote fraud. Any would-be Cassandras on this issue were dismissed as latter day Luddites or technophobes, even though many critics of touch-screen technology were from the technological community.
With the GOP base dispirited and the opposition in thralldom to the angry left, America faces a dire immediate threat that could turn into a potential dark age of lasting impact. In the worst-case scenario, radical Democrats formally control both houses and push an agenda that is not resisted with Bush vetoes and Republican filibusters. Judicial reform is halted, and judicial activism makes life safer for criminals and terrorists, more lucrative for trial lawyers, and costlier and less free for the average citizen. Taxes will be accelerated in the quest of a faux ‘fairness’ to the detriment of the economy. Can anyone remember the job-killing ‘luxury tax’ that was foisted on the nation by Democrats in the Administration of George H. W. Bush? National security would see crooks and radicals in charge of key committee posts. Incremental appeasement will no more satisfy the blood-lust of the terror establishment than Munich kept Hitler content.
In a lesser disaster, some hope that Democrats will take control of only the House. However, Republicans have never held ideological control of either Congressional body. The Senate has been less than stellar in pursuing an agenda that is supported by the GOP base. There is weakness in standing up to the bullying of Democrats who want to continue unrestrained judicial activism. Illegal aliens are courted as converts to the GOP ranks. Where is the red meat? A House of Representatives controlled by Pelosi and her band of radicals and former ward heelers would delight in obstructing and humiliating the President and pushing a leftist agenda that would delight our foreign enemies and undermine our traditions.
With weakened or lost control in Congress, we need to see a reinvigorated George Bush who finally learns to use the veto pen. We also must demand a return to principle in the GOP.