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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

U.S. politics

Democrats win House

Rumsfeld aside, is this going to change anything? I foresee gridlock.

Rummy resigns


Is there anything more to say?


Blogger Michael Farris said...

Reposting from another site, not 100% on topic about Rumsfeld, but close enough for government work, for Bush, read 'the Bush team' (including the departing SOD):

For the sake of argument, let's assume that Bush really did want to secularize and democratize the Middle East.

He chose the absolute wrong way of trying to achieve that possible. He came up with an answer he liked, namely "massive military action" first and then looked for a problem to apply it to rather than trying to figure out what the problems were in the first place (terrorism is usually a symptom of deeper problems, not the worst problem in and of itself).

And/Or he could imagined what the end result he wanted was and tried some reverse engineering (I think NASA used to do something like that when it was still effective). Encouraging democracy and secularism in countries already along that road so that other countries have some models to look at and emulate. (Currently there's no model for secular civil society in the middle east).

The problem is that an army is a very blunt weapon, good at some things (invading, deposing governments, killing large groups of people within a certain area) and not not much else. No army has ever been good at doing the sorts of things that needed doing in Iraq after the success of the initial invasion (largely 'people work'). The result is the current mess we have now.

Damned if I know what to do now. Leaving would create a power vacuum that would be filled by another Saddam (or the old Saddam if he isn't killed first) or some kind of conservative theocratic regime or some horrible combination of the two.
On the other hand, staying isn't doing any good either. At best, we're becoming figurehead occupiers, unliked by locals (at best), accomplishing no real good and a magnet for stirring up and strengthening the very forces the invasion was supposedly targeted against.

11/08/2006 10:48:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Damned if I know what to do now

Invade Iran of course!

Damned if we do, damned if we don't. Certainly a fresh approach is needed. But is Bob Gates the one to find it?

Somehow I doubt it.

11/08/2006 11:36:00 PM  

Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

I would be most happy to see a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. This way, both halves of the country, which have been giving each other dirty looks for the past six years, will be forced to come to the table and iron out their differences and actually work together as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans. A Demo House and Senate would not provide this kind of atmosphere.

11/09/2006 12:51:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

I'm not as optimistic as you Aaron, but I hope you're right.

It may be a moot point however. I'm seeing now that the AP predicts a democratic win in Virginia...

11/09/2006 10:13:00 AM  

Anonymous ig da geez said...

I'll just let it go at "I told you so."

11/09/2006 03:43:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

I never said they wouldn't win geez. What i said, actually was:

My prediction for next month's elections is that the Dems won't do nearly as well as everybody thinks they will, but they may just squeak it out in the House. That may not be all bad. If they win in Congress now, they will share the blame for everything that goes wrong between now and the Presidential elections in 2008.

and later...

If they do win, I see them going on several witch hunts, holding lots of trials and hearings, and dividing the country even further. That's what the "base" seems to want. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans don't want witch hunts, but they do want competent governing. If that's what the Dems decide to do, it will indeed set the stage for the presidency.

There's still a long way to go, and a lot to see from the Democrats. But at the moment, Pelosi seems to be making the right noises. I do hope you're right about this setting the stage for the presidency, but taking on liability for what happens over the next two years I see as rather a disadvantage than an advantage.

In any case, it was more than the Foley scandal that helped the Dems win. That Iraq thing was a pretty big motivator, i'd say.

11/09/2006 03:55:00 PM  

Anonymous ig da geez said...

I'd retort that it was a much bigger win than expected... they certainly didn't just squeak by in the House... Certainly, Iraq and just honesty and competence in general were the big issues...

Maybe they will wind up sharing the blame. It depends on how they run with it all.

Otherwise, this seems to sum it all up in my mind:

By Jim Wallis

A Defeat for the Religious Right and the Secular Left

In this election, both the Religious Right and the secular Left
were defeated, and the voice of the moral center was heard. A
significant number of candidates elected are social
conservatives on issues of life and family, economic populists,
and committed to a new direction in Iraq. This is the way
forward: a grand new alliance between liberals and
conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, one that can end
partisan gridlock and involves working together for real
solutions to pressing problems.

It is clear from the election results that moderate, and some
conservative, Christians - especially evangelicals and Catholics
- want a moral agenda that is broader than only abortion and
same-sex marriage. Various exit polls showed a shift of 6% to
16% fewer evangelicals and Catholics supporting Republican
candidates than in 2004. Poverty, the war in Iraq, strengthening
families, and protecting the environment are all moral values.
And many Americans this year voted all of their values.

11/09/2006 06:24:00 PM  

Anonymous Chuck said...

While a large number of seats changed hands, the margin of victory for individual seats was very low in most instances. So, it was not as large a Democratic victory as the seat count makes it look. I hope that the Democrats realize this and "reach across the aisle." I hope that the Republicans lose some of their arrogance and gain some humility so that they are also willing to "reach across the aisle." It is the only way anything is going to get done.

By the way, don't forget immigration. The Republicans hurt themselves on this because they couldn't work with each other and were very ham-handed in their approach and lost all of the gains with hispanics that Bush managed to get in 2004.

11/09/2006 08:14:00 PM  

Anonymous ig da geez said...

The seat count is what counts. The Dems were down 12 and came up 16. Not as big a reversal in the Senate but they still took control after being in the minority since '94 That's 12 years in case anybody has been counting. So I'd say it was a whopping big Democratic victory.

And how should the Democrats reach across the aisle? Should they allow the Republicans to let the rich get richer and wage wars in perpetuity? They probably will although they shouldn't.

11/10/2006 03:27:00 PM  

Anonymous ig da geez said...

So sorry. That was a switch of 28 seats in the House and maybe more depending on 8 or so still undecided races.

11/10/2006 11:29:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

You're right ig -- Cumulatively they won big. But Chuck's point is more convincing -- the majority were very close. I don't have a political crystal ball -- so what?

The bigger point here is that this was really a vote against Republicans (and Iraq) than for the Dems. I still don't know what solutions the Democrats propose to the US' problems.

Show me the policy!

11/13/2006 12:25:00 PM  

Anonymous ig da geez said...

I don't mean to sound like a Dem cheerleader as if I think they can bring about big changes. I'll be happy if they bring even a slightly saner healthcare system into being. If they manage to make even a little less fashionable all the fearmongering, that'll do me fine, too. Even if they begin to consider the problems with the US occupation of Iraq without such discussion being labeled treasonous. Even a slightly more progressive tax system being considered will be nice as opposed to giving write off after write off to the likes of Paris Hilton.

11/13/2006 09:03:00 PM  

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