Category Archive '2006 Elections'
05 May 2009

Culture of Corruption

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Jonah Goldberg reminds readers that the voters threw out the GOP majority in Congress in 2006 because of corruption scandals. But replacing them with democrats has not proven to be a very effective cure, has it?

Democrats took back Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008 in no small part because of their ability to bang their spoons on their high chairs about what they called the Republican “culture of corruption.” Their choreographed outrage was coordinated with the precision of a North Korean missile launch pageant. And, to be fair, they had a point. The GOP did have its legitimate embarrassments. California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham and lobbyist Jack Abramoff were fair game, and so was Rep. Mark Foley, the twisted Florida congressman who allegedly wanted male congressional pages cleaned and perfumed and brought to his tent, as it were.

Of course, it wasn’t as if Democrats were without sin. Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson was indicted on fraud, bribery and corruption charges in 2007, after an investigation unearthed, among other things, $90,000 in his freezer. Then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was busted in a prostitution scandal.

But that’s all yesterday’s news. Let’s look at the here and now.

Read the whole thing.

29 Apr 2009

When Democrats Are in Charge

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These charts from Policy Watch demonstrate “the change” in action.

14 Mar 2008

The Party of Change

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Texas Rainmaker wonders how America is enjoying the fruits of the 2006 election.

06 May 2007

The Press Is Not The Public

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David Broder, in today’s Washington Post, claims the left has a mandate for defeat, surrender, and withdrawal.

The gap between public opinion and Washington reality has rarely been wider than on the issue of the Iraq war. A clear national mandate is being blocked — for now — by constraints that make sense only in the short-term calculus of politics in this capital city.

The public verdict on the war is plain. Large majorities have come to believe that it was a mistake to go in, and equally large majorities want to begin the process of getting out. That is what the polls say; it is what the mail to Capitol Hill says; and it is what voters signaled when they put the Democrats back into control of Congress in November. …

The question that naturally arises is why the strongly expressed judgment of the people — responding to news of increasing American casualties in a seemingly intractable sectarian conflict — cannot be translated into action in Washington. …

One way or another, public opinion ultimately will be heeded on the war in Iraq. It is hard to imagine the Republicans going into the presidential election of 2008 with 150,000 American troops still taking heavy casualties in Iraq.

It’s true that the democrats won control of Congress last November, but many other issues and factors besides the war, and a number of Republican scandals, undoubtedly also played a role in that election’s results. The democrats gained a very narrow Congressional majority, and can hardly be described as possessing a mandate to do anything other than avoid taking bribes and molesting pages.

Which mandate alone should represent a more than adequate challenge, requiring all the moral resolve and political will the democrat party can possibly muster, if not more.

One hears the claim a lot these days that public opinion thinks this, and public opinion demands that, as if opinion polls conducted by news organizations represented some sort of meaningful, objective, binding, and official process. This sort of claim represents the grossest sort of attempt by journalists to usurp political authority.

The poll Mr. Broder cites in his own editorial was conducted by two notoriously biased news organizations, the Washington Post and ABC News. And its results are based on the responses of a mere 1082 adults, including an intentional “oversample of African-Americans.”

Opinion polls of 1000 or so of the people willing to talk to pollsters on the phone prove basically nothing. Opinion polls are typically artfully crafted. The questions they contain steer answers in the direction their creators desire.

That WaPo/ABC poll, which Broder cited, asked:

Do you think (the United States should keep its military forces in Iraq until civil order is restored there, even if that means continued U.S. military casualties); OR, do you think (the United States should withdraw its military forces from Iraq in order to avoid further U.S. military casualties, even if that means civil order is not restored there)?

But if I asked instead:

Do you think (the United States should abandon the civilian population of Iraq to Islamic Fundamentalism and sectarian violence, if that means destroying our future credibility in the eyes of both our friends and our adversaries abroad): OR, do you think (the United States should keep its word and implant stable and democratic government in Iraq, even at the cost of US military casualties)?

the poll results would be quite different.

Mr. Broder’s polls never can produce anything resembling a mandate. They only represent propaganda, typically created by dishonest and dishonorable advocates.

The only opinion polls which count occur officially and in November. The last election was inconclusive, as are the war’s current results.

Members of the left and its allies in the punditocracy looking for a mandate for surrender, withdrawal, and defeat need to look for it in the results of the 2008 election, and stop claiming that they already possess it.

23 Dec 2006

Give Credit Where Credit’s Due

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Ayman al-Zawahiri, in his latest taped address, takes credit for the results of the November election.

SITE Institute transcript:

To the Democrats in America, Zawahiri states that they did not win and the Republicans did not lose; rather, it is the Mujahideen who have won, and the American forces and their allies those who lost.

Do you suppose Speaker Pelosi will invite him to her 4-day celebration?

27 Nov 2006

Some Kind Words For President Bush

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John L. Overland, Jr., Esq.

Even as I write this I know that people smarter than I will have written their own concise and analytical commentaries as to what went wrong for Republicans during the mid-term elections of 2006 and for me, that’s OK. My intent is not to analyze what went wrong for us but to express my own appreciation to a man often belittled, often maligned, and often unjustly so. That man is my President, George W. Bush, and right now I sincerely believe that the President needs some kind words. He has received damned little in the course of his Presidency. Instead, throughout his Presidency and certainly in the last week he has suffered the most vicious attacks, consistently from the Left but lately even from certain of us on the Right, and it’s time to provide an honest appraisal.

I have a few problems with Gerge W. Bush myself, but I always reconsider when I reflect upon his ability to drive the lefties right around the bend. Nobody who affects leftists the way the crucifix affects vampires can be all bad.

27 Nov 2006

Crash! Tinkle!

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The Stiletto is listening to noises from the nation’s capitol:

Hear That? It’s The Sound Of Dem Campaign Promises Being Broken

Here’s a round-up of recent headlines that makes it clear that The Party With No Plan has no plans to keep its campaign promises:

Dems Won’t Find Enacting 9/11 Ideas Easy: Remember how Pelosi & Co. was going to implement every single one of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations? Well, forget it. For one thing, many of the recommendations fall outside the purview of Congress.

Democrats Split On How Far To Go With Ethics Law: After months of yammering about the “culture of corruption” on the other side of the aisle, Dems are dancing as fast as they can away from their promise of a “complete overhaul” of Congressional ethics rules. For one thing, there are no plans to curtail earmarks.

20 Nov 2006

Pelosi and Alcee Hastings

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Byron York wonders (along with the rest of us) if Nancy Pelosi will turn over oversight of US Intelligence to the man she voted to remove for corruption from the federal bench.

19 Nov 2006

Peggy Noonan Looks in her Crystal Ball

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But she finds what the democrats will do with the opportunity presented by their recent electoral success is unclear.

As for Democrats, they have a unique opportunity, one they haven’t had in 14 years, to redefine for the public what their party is. It is their chance to change their public label. Now, with the cameras of the country trained on Capitol Hill, they can throw off the old baggage of the 1960s and ’70s and erase the cartoon version of their party, which is culturally radical, weak in its defense of America, profligate, McGovernite, bitterly devoted to the demands of its groups as opposed to the needs of America.

In 1992 the young Southern moderate Bill Clinton got a chance to erase the cartoon, and he did, for a while. But he quickly slid back, undone by his own confusion as to the purpose of his power, and reinforced the public’s worst assumptions about his party with everything from the health-care fiasco to using the Lincoln bedroom as a comp room for big rollers to horrifying fund-raising and personal scandals. What he did prove — and the area in which he did break away from the cartoon version of Democrats — was that he didn’t dislike money or its makers. He did nothing to harm Wall Street, little to slow the economy, displayed a personal tropism toward the rich. Beyond that he didn’t change his party’s rep.

Can Nancy Pelosi? She looked radiant when she was elected by the Democratic conference Thursday, and she was careful to speak — everyone was careful to speak — of children and grandchildren. No one held up a sign saying “We’re Normal,” but the message was sent.

Can the Democrats spend the next two years showing a moderate, centrist, mature face to the country? Republicans say — this is the big phrase — “It’s not in their DNA.” But betting on the other guy’s inability to change is not, really, a plan. And these Democrats, or many of them, seem a rising generation of pragmatists. They seem to know what’s at stake. If they scare America, they give Republicans a ready campaign theme for 2008: If you liked the crazy Democratic Congress, you’ll love a crazy Democratic White House.

Can they go down the center, or will radicalism of various sorts erupt and gain sway? No one knows. The Democrats don’t know. The answer is going to help shape America’s future political history. And it will help shape George Bush’s. If the Democrats are radical, he will look more reasonable, not only in the eyes of the public but of history. If the Democrats are moderate, I think he will do something surprising, and yet much in line with his personality and nature.

She predicts, on the other hand, that George W. Bush will outdo both the Paleocons and the Neocons in dumping the Republicans.

Old affection and regard for the White House and the president have dissipated. But fear remains. They have two more years, they have the power to nominate, they have money. And so a party that might begin the process of refinding itself by thoughtfully detaching from the White House will, likely, not.

But I see a surprise coming.

What is the first thing men do when they’re drowning? They save themselves. With the waters rising on every side the president will attempt to re-enact his first and most personally satisfying political success when, as governor of Texas, he won plaudits and popularity for working hand in glove with Democrats. He accepted many Democratic assumptions — he shared them, it wasn’t hard.

The White House’s reaction to the recent election was, essentially, Now we can get our immigration bill through with the Democrats. That was a clue. I suspect the president will over the next two years do to Republicans what he did to Donald Rumsfeld: over the side, under the bus and off the sled.

He doesn’t need them. They’re not popular. They’re not where the action is. He’ll work closely with Democrats, gain in time new and admiring press — “Bush has grown,” etc.

This is the path he will take to build his popularity and create a new legacy. If the Democrats let him. It would be in their interests, so I think maybe they will.

19 Nov 2006

Bush Conservatism

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AJStrata has a good word to say for George W. Bush and the Conservatism of the Bush Administration, and urges the rest of us to refrain from jumping ship.

Let me describe what I think is an attractive conservative vision. It begins with supporting and respecting our President and all his accomplishments. And since I and many others still have unflinching support and admiration for the man, I decided to steal some from the commenters here and dub this conservative view “Bush Conservatives”.

Bush Conservatives not only believe in Reagan’s 11th commandment to not speak ill of fellow conservatives – we live it. From the Gang of 14, to Harriet Miers, to Dubai Ports World and to the immigration issue – there has been a brand of Republican which eschewed the 11th commandment. So let the Republicans be defined by that group – Bush Conservatives will be defined by their antithesis. Bush conservatives are not afraid of the word ‘compromise’. They despise the word ‘failure’. If there is a good idea, we do not care what party gets credit – we care that the good ideas get enacted. It is not Party uber America anymore.

Read the whole thing.

Beth agrees with him, and takes a firmer line with the Paleocons:

I’m still very, very angry at the Buchanan Conservatives/neo-right/cannibals/whatever you wanna call ‘em. It is THEY who I blame more than anyone for the GOP/conservative loss in the election. I suppose it’s irrational to blame them first, but they are the ones with whom I have the most contact, if you will, or at least the most in common (in that we are bloggers). They worked for over two years, slandering everyone on their own side whenever there was a point of disagreement. How the hell did they think the media wouldn’t lap that up? Dissension within the conservative ranks? A gift to the liberal media! And as a result, rather than putting real pressure on those who needed it, they simply allowed the left’s sound-bite slogans, “culture of corruption” and “pork-loving Republicans” to penetrate the usually-disengaged voters’ minds.

10 Nov 2006

Bush Doctrine, RIP

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A generative anthropologist (Eric Gans?) keyboards a deserved eulogy for what its author describes as “a courageous, novel, and, of course, risky strategy.”

We have just witnessed an epic battle between a courageous, novel, and, of course, risky strategy for transforming the very conditions that have made us powerless against victimary Islamist blackmail, on the one hand, and the forces of continuity with pre-9/11 policies (I would say “illusions,” but part of my argument here will be in favor of stepping back from these more immediate polemical stances), in particular foreign policy realism and transnational progressivism, the political form of White Guilt, on the other. The forces of continuity have won…

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to truepeers.

10 Nov 2006

Ann Althouse is Depressed

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She’s not exactly a hard-core Republican partisan, but Ann Althouse writes:

I’m depressed about the election…

It’s the failure of Americans to support the war. It’s the folding and crumpling because things didn’t go well enough and the way we conspicuously displayed that to our enemies. They’re going to use that information…

What I’m concerned about is national security and, consequently, the way the election was fought and is being interpreted. I’m upset because I think we have sent a terrible message to our enemies: Just hang on long enough and continue to inflict some damage, and the Americans will lose heart and give up. You barely need anything at all. You might not be able to hijack a plane with a box cutter anymore, but you can take back a country — a country we conquered with overwhelming military power — merely by mercilessly and endlessly setting off small bombs in your own town day after day.

How much harder it becomes ever to fight and win a war again. Only pacifists and isolationists should feel good about the way this election was won.

Who can blame her?

09 Nov 2006

Tributes to Rumsfeld

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Victor Davis Hanson has some kind words.

Vaya Con Dios, Rummy!

Here is the record of Donald Rumsfeld. (1) Tried to take a top-heavy Pentagon and prepare it for the wars of the postmodern world, in which on a minute’s notice thousands of American soldiers, with air and sea support, would have to be sent to some god-awful place to fight some savagery—and then be trashed live on CNN for doing it; (2) less than a month after 9/11 he organized the retaliation against al Qaeda in the heart of primordial Afghanistan that removed the Taliban in 7 weeks, when we were all warned that the U.S., like the British and Russians of old, would fail; (3) oversaw the removal of Saddam in 3 weeks—after the 1991 Gulf War and the 12-years of 350,000 sorties in the no-fly-zones, and various bombing strikes, had failed. (4) Ah, you say, then there is the disastrous 3-year insurgency—too few troops, Iraqi army let go, underestimated “dead-enders” etc.?

But Rumsfeld knew that in a counterinsurgency (cf. Vietnam 1965-71) massive deployments only ensure complacency, breed dependency, and create resentment, and that, in contrast, training indigenous forces, ensuring political autonomy, and providing air and commando support (e.g., Vietnam circa 1972-4) is the only answer—although that is a long process that can work only if political support at home allows the military to finish the job (cf. the turn-of-the-century Philippines, and the British in Malaysia). He was a good man, and we were lucky to have him in our hour of need.

And Chris Lynch offers (an imaginary) interview:

ALR: Mr. Secretary – thank you so much for taking this time on what I’m sure is a difficult day. Can I ask if you are perhaps feeling a little bitter at the President right now?

Rummy: I always have time for my friends Chris. As far as feeling bitter towards the President – goodness no. I serve at the pleasure of the President and have offered my resignation a number of times. If truth be told – I’m a little bit in awe. I mean I don’t think I’ve seen such a fine piece of political Jujitsu in my whole time in public service.

ALR: Political Jujitsu? I’m sorry Mr. Secretary but I don’t follow you.

Rummy: Nobody saw this move coming yesterday. Nobody was prepared. It was a brilliant shifting of weight. Yesterday was supposed to be the Democrats big day. They were all going to wear new suits and dresses and give speeches congratulating themselves and talking about how they were going to fix the country. Instead all the news programs spent that time speaking about my resignation and today all the print media will be talking about me and my successor. The Democrats can’t even complain because they have been practically begging for my resignation. By the time this dies down – nobody will want to look at their new suits or pretty dresses and they sure won’t want to hear their flowery speeches because the time would have been well past that. The bonus is that the Main Stream Media doesn’t even see how they were used. Brilliant move by the President.

Read the whole thing.

09 Nov 2006

From My College Class List, 4

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A rejoinder from me to gloating democrats:

Bush was incompetent at PR. The GOP got infiltrated by garden variety pols posing as conservatives.

You guys control the MSM, and when that hurricane provided impressive visual images to hang the media’s propaganda on, they finally sucessfully nailed Bush, convincing the general public that the President had failed to employ his god/king powers to still the fury of the winds, make the waters recede, overcome spectacular local incompetence and corruption, and cause vehicles and airplanes to travel successfully instantly over flooded roads and through hurricane winds to the disaster site.

There was far too much Congressional inertia and scandal. The MSM lovingly counted up every US casualty day after day, and Al Qaeda agreeably timed a Fall offensive to capture Congress. The Republican Congress deserved to lose. But your side only won by filling up your candidate team with conservatives. This Congress lost. Conservatism did not lose. You guys elected a lot of abortion and gun control opponents. I’m not sure we don’t have a better chance of killing the death tax, and confirming right wing judges now than we did before.

True, Bush is now certainly a lame duck, and we have to fear a degringolade in Iraq, if the House moonbats kill military funding. But after that happens, the terrorist bombs will go off in cities, and then there will be fewer liberals. C’est la vie.

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