13 November 2006

Will Election 2006 Change Our Language?

Trying to think of the right analogy for what seems likely to happen over the next two years, one thing comes to mind over and over.

King Pyrrhus and his triumphs over the Romans at Heraclea.

Because of Plutarch, his 'victories' have become part of our language.

Judging from the early scuttlebutt regarding committee and leadership battles within the Democratic party, and also the legislative agenda they seem intent on pushing, the phrase Phyrric Victory may soon be replaced by a phrase such as Getting Pelosi'd.

The Democrats won this battle, and won decisively, but the fundamental problems within the Democratic Party that have caused a permanent shift in the American political landscape are unchanged, and by the looks of things, are likely to get even worse.

Republicans were defeated in this election, but not Conservatism. Democrats were victorious, but not Liberalism. Nobody in the Democratic leadership in DC seem aware of this, however.

Too many Republicans got too lazy and corrupt due to a belief that Democratic incompetence would save them from themselves. It nearly did, a split Congress was close to a reality despite the advantages the Democrats enjoyed this go round.

These weeks before the new Congress takes office are crucial for shaping the next two years. The Democrats seem intent on serving a bunch of populist flavored pablum, forcing a balance of powers stalemate between the legislative and executive branches. Given that government inaction is often preferable to government action, this won't be the disaster for the Republicans that the Democratic leadership assumes.

The Democrats will have to balance appeasing their activist base, and trying to reach out to the swing voters they attracted in this election. Problem for them is that these positions are irreconcilable.

If any message was sent by the American folks to both parties, it would seem to have been, "moderate yourselves". The question remains, will either party listen?

My hunch is, the GOP will get it, and we'll see a lot of Rudy and Arnold as the face of a different kind of Republican. Evangelicals will continue to have more influence for the GOP than they probably should, but they won't be the deciding factor in policy and candidate selection they have been for this past decade or so.

The Republicans are set to re-embrace Reaganite small government, vocal opposition to tyranny, and most importantly, well articulated optimism about this ongoing and continually changing project called America.

The Democrats seem poised to believe their press and follow a liberal/populist path of promising everything to everyone while presenting a weak image abroad. They seem determined to combine all the worst qualities of Pres. Carter's four years with the corrosive influences of identity politics.

All this is another way of saying, 2008 is going to be fun, and hopefully, the Executive branch will be able to hold things together and continue to prevent a major domestic terror attack despite losing allies in the Legislative branch. I have faith in the professionals in charge of securing our nation, they ought to be able to still get their jobs done, even as the more political folks in DC tie themselves up in knots.

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