Tuesday, November 07, 2006


A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.
--Theodore Roosevelt
There is much speculation and anticipation being expended over the results of today’s polling. For many, this IS Christmas, July 4th, and the first time you had sex, all rolled into one SuperNova event.

It is the fuel for the furnaces of ambition, stoking the fires of personal appointment and political achievement. The show is enthralling for some, sickening for others. But to put it all into perspective, ask yourself: Regardless of the outcome, what will your life be like tomorrow?
Better or Worse?

Bruce Barlett published an interesting analysis on what to expect after the election, suggesting that if the Democrats don’t make a sweep today, they might as well roll up the sidewalk in front of Democratic National Headquarters. Would anything less than a decisive Democrat victory suggest the financial and geographic advantage of Republicans is more than the Democrats might be able to overcome well for years to come?
A lot can happen in two years.

An interesting spectacle will be how the moderate and conservative Democrats in Republican states are treated and managed by the majority in power. Barlett foresees the assembly of a coalition of conservative Democrats who with Republicans end up running the House despite possible Democrat control.

Most spectacular might be how Nancy Pelosi becomes the lightning rod for Republican attention, much as Newt Gingrinch was the Democrats’ whipping boy.
Can’t beat ‘em, flog ‘em—or at least keep the spot light on Pelosi who is never at a loss for controversial statements.

Does Republican control of the White House necessarily translate into control of the national agenda? History has shown Republicans to be adept at getting things done from Pennsylvania Avenue, despite Democrat majorities on Capitol Hill. Don’t forget, King George II is still the President, and the power of the veto remains in his realm. And the past six years of congressional filibustering by the blustering Democrats have been great role models for Republicans to use to turn the tables, if necessary.

So the results of today’s elections are not foregone conclusions. The pursuit of the goal is one thing; knowing what to do with it is quite another proposition.

My son was quite the “player” with the cute girls in high school. He loved the thrill of the chase. Didn’t quite know what to do once he’d “caught” the object of his affections; but getting there was a lot of fun. In many ways, some politicians are like that.

The thrill of the campaign, the glow of the spot light, and on the morning after the election, the deer in the head lights look. “I won?”

So regardless of which party emerges “in control” tomorrow morning, will they really be in control?
Control of what?
Republicans will still have a lot of sway over Democrat ideas…and the unspoken reality is that for those who either retain or ascend to power, the clock will be ticking, and the whole world will be watching (or at least their constituents) as they take on the mantle of responsibility.

The best we can hope for is Congressional gridlock in Washington…and understand that today’s races are for many just a dress rehearsal for The Big Show in 2008.
Quoting from Bartlett’s thoughtful piece:

"Remember, too, that Democrats thought their Senate victory in 1986 marked the beginning of the end for Republicans. They quickly moved to investigate Iran-Contra and pass liberal legislation. But the hearings went nowhere and the bills were vetoed.

"Two years later, voters elected Reagan's vice president, George H.W. Bush, to the White House. I believe that they did so in part to put a check on the Democratic Congress, as they did so often in the postwar era.

"Indeed, I think that Democratic control of Congress has the potential to rejuvenate Bush's presidency, just as Republican control gave new life to Clinton's."

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