August 9, 2006

Quite an interesting primary election day across the U.S. yesterday, wouldn’t you say?

* Item: Joe Lieberman loses to upstart Ned Lamont in Connecticut, meaning that if Joe wants to reclaim his Senate seat he’s going to have to go the Independent route.

* Thoughts: I couldn’t help noticing the differences between Lieberman’s concession and Lamont’s victory speeches. While I’ve never been a huge fan of Lieberman, I couldn’t help thinking while listening to his droning, pol-speak that the guy’s been in Washington way too long. I mean, where’s the spark? How could someone that dull and void of substance – OK, so there was a trace of folksy warmth on display – arouse any kind of passion from his supporters? Lamont, on the other hand, clearly had the passion, both in his “Bring them home!” message and the supporters who obviously lifted his campaign to victory. While I’m not sure sharing the podium with the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and NOW president Kim Gandy will bring him support from anyone other than the most progressive corners of the Democratic Party and the nation, you have to give Lamont his due – he had a message that obviously resonated with his prospective constituents in Connecticut and he stuck to it. Good for him.

* Item: Georgia Democrats in the 4th Congressional District booted moonbat incumbent Cynthia McKinney out in favor of Hank Jackson, who will now face Republican candidate Catherine Davis in November.

* Thoughts: Maybe it’s just me – and maybe my bro (and Georgia pol) Dave can help me figure this out – but I could never see what Georgia voters saw in McKinney to begin with. I’m not going to go so far to say the woman is off her rocker (even though her past behavior suggests she has issues with authority, and a monstrous ego to boot), but clearly the woman did not represent her district with class, grace, and style. While voters often seem more than willing to embrace a little eccentricity in their elected representatives (Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia comes to mind), when eccentricity becomes outrageousness to the point of parody, most voters, I think, have the innate wisdom and ability to say, “enough’s enough”. And that’s what happened to McKinney here. The Democratic Party should be glad her shadow will no longer darken the Capitol’s corridors. As an elected official, she was a disgrace.

* Item: In Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, incumbent Republican congressman Joe Schwarz lost to Tim Walberg, a candidate pushed by the good folks at Red State and the fiscally-conservative Club for Growth PAC, and in the Colorado 5th, Hugh Hewitt’s guy Jeff Crank found himself on the losing end to Doug Lamborn, a fellow conservative who many seem to think will be more likely to retain his stripes once he got to Congress than his opponent would have.

* Thoughts: Both races are clearly victories for Republicans and conservatives nationwide who, like their counterparts on the liberal/progressive side of the political spectrum, have been dismayed with the center-drift of their elected representatives and wanted to send a clear message that, centrists be damned, the tired, stale “business as usual” climate in Washington has to change.

Republican and conservative activists in particular have had their hooks out all year for those party members in Congress who seem to have forgotten the “Reagan Revolution” of the 1980s and the ideals that brought the Republicans to power in Washington back in 1994: strong on defense, limited government, lower taxes, and reduced spending. Schwarz, specifically, became a symbol of the conservative frustration and anger towards those known as “RINO”s (Republicans In Name Only) for his stances on abortion, increased spending, eminent domain, etc., and I suspect Republican senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island will soon take his place alongside Schwarz in the dustbin of failed re-election campaigns.

I saw CNN political analyst Candy Crowley doing her thing from Lamont headquarters last night, using Lieberman’s defeat and her own assessment that Chafee’s bid for re-election was soon to suffer the same fate to bemoan the fact that there seemed to be no more room in the center for either political party – Democratic or Republican, reflecting an increasingly-polarized electorate. Crowley’s sentiments show just how out of touch the dino-media, Inside-the-Beltway bull$hit mindset you see espoused everywhere on television is. What these people want is the usual homogenized “can’t we all just get along” kind of politics, where compromise trumps principle, ideals are compromised through wheeling and dealing, and nothing ever gets done to change the status quo.

I personally was glad to see Ned Lamont’s victory, just as I was glad to see Schwarz’s loss in Michigan. When positions are laid out clearly, lines drawn in the sand, and principles are both articulated and understood, people then have a clear choice between candidates, which can only be a good thing. Look, I’m hardly the President’s biggest supporter, but, while he was an abysmal candidate in both the 2000 and 2004 elections, at least people had an inkling of the kinds of things he stood for. What did Al Gore and John Kerry stand for? What did they believe in their heart of hearts? No one really knew, outside of the fact that both desperately wanted to become President so much so that they watered down their messages to the point of near transparency.

I don’t agree much (actually, at all) with Michael Moore, but today he has, in effect, the same message for Hillary Clinton and like-minded, talk-out-of-both-sides-of-your-mouth-windbag Democrats: you better find yourself a strong position on the war everyone can understand, or, like Lieberman, you’re going to be gone too. He’s right, and, whatever the key issues are in the 2006 and 2008 elections (all signs point to the war in Iraq and illegal immigration), every candidate that wants to be elected better start carving out some strong positions that reflect the wants and needs of the constituencies they hope to represent. Out here in the hinterlands, people on both ends of the political spectrum are restless and dissatisfied, tired of the typical backslapping, glad-handed, deal-making that has infected this Congress.

Common wisdom – Real Clear Politics’ John McIntyre, for example – says the Democrats risk a replay of 1972 if they come out strongly and uniformly against the war in Iraq. I disagree. I believe there is a place – and a need – in American politics for a clear alternative to the party in power; if presented in a logical and reasonable fashion, one might be surprised at the results. For example, if Republicans want to run on the platform of supporting the ongoing effort in Iraq, less government, lower taxes, and increased border security, it would behoove the Democrats to put forth and articulate equally-strong and committed positions for when and how to leave Iraq, increasing personal and business taxes to support initiatives like national health care, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and balancing the budget, and cracking down on illegal immigration to protect labor union jobs and the minimum wage.

In my mind, democracy works best when people have a clear choice before them, when those running for election present a clear vision of how they best represent the principles their party stands for, and when the message – not the messenger – gets all the attention. Novel idea, huh? I’m personally excited that the partisan bickering of the past six years has, with no small push from the blogsphere, finally turned into a clash of political ideologies and activists. One can only hope it can continue to grow and influence every election held between now and November 2008.

Just think: two diverse visions of what this country stands for and is, and where it needs to go, and an energized, informed electorate given the opportunity to choose which one best reflects our hopes and dreams as a nation. Hopefully, it can and will happen – the future of our country depends on it.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 14:08 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Doug,

    I have no explanation or excuse for Cynthia McKinney, except to say that most of her supporters were usually able to get out and vote because they didn’t have jobs to keep them from doing anything else.

    Over the years, her moonbat statements kept her in the news, but did little else. Finally, her district just got tired of the mouth without a message, and a congresswoman with a single bill she authored passed in 12 years (and at that, it was just to name a post office).

    Maybe there is hope for this old Republic after all.

    Comment by Dave Richard — August 10, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

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