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Sore Losing

It hurts to lose to no-goodnik Dems. But did conservatism in fact lose? Also: Common Humanity and Islam. Picking on those who picked the wrong winners. None of the above's charisma. Plus much more.

11.8.06

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DR. PERFECT
Re: David Hogberg's Losing the Senate Too:

I am amazed and impressed that Mr. Hogberg once again called the state by state numbers exactly the way they came out. First the electoral college in 2004 and now the Senate in 2006. This guy is scary good!
-- John Horner
Morgan Hill, California

THE BIG HURT
Re: Philip Klein's Renewing the Contract:

Amen, sir, amen.
-- Terry Smith

I sure hope people are reading this.
-- Jeffrey Ring
Lorton, Virginia

Fantastic perspective of yesterday, today and tomorrow for the Republicans. Thanks!
-- Joanna Palumbo

I am reading your election post-mortem, and your reflections on the "renewal" of the "contract." But I can't help wondering: Where are the likes of a Newt Gingrich and a Vin Weber in the current band of GOP House members? Two years is not much time to spawn people of the caliber of Gingrich & Weber.
-- Peter Petzling
on-line reader in Minnesota

Totally agree with your assessment. As an ardent pro-lifer I am dismayed by the two year setback but the BIG issue is still out there. JUDGES. I also strongly feel the Republicans will be more effective under Mitch McConnell and hopefully someone like pence in the house. We'll see.
-- Annette Cwik

Conservatives lost big. For those who think losing is winning welcome to the wilderness. Those who believe the stealth Democrat candidates are conservatives just need to look back at Richard Gephardt to see how they'll behave. The Rodham-Clinton/Obama ticket is now poised to win in 2008.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Disappointing night as it was, the Republicans lost that on major issues that they let down the base. GWB started off by collaborating with Ted Kennedy on Education. He ended with Guest Worker Program/Amnesty and in the interim he expanded government, schmoozed with the Clintons, forgot Soc Sec Reform and didn't fight to win in Iraq. I am stunned that the Democrats will now be in charge. I grieve for our troops. But… I can't even finish that sentence. Sent up there on Capital Hill with such promise, retained on their response to 9/11, and now this. I guess we all deserve what we voted for, but I can't help but think that we are now turning into Europe.
-- Alice Mollison
Texas

What do we have to look forward to in the next two years?

-- Impeachment hearings by April, eagerly covered by a biased, partisan media.
-- Amnesty for illegals, which only the Republican majority in the House stopped before.
-- Defunding the War on Terror in particular, and the military in general.
-- No judicial confirmations, or a host of new judges like David Souter and Anthony Kennedy.
-- A constitutional right to clone and kill (passed narrowly by Missouri voters) that will spread like the plague.
-- A flat or declining stock market, starting today.
-- Renewed terror attacks against Israel and the United States.

Running as a Republican in many states is like playing basketball in your opponent's gym. To come out with a victory, you need to be at least six points better than your opponent, because all the breaks and close calls will be going to them. The Republican team clearly needs to work on its "game."

Much has been made of the success of so-called "moderate" Democrats. When it comes to voting behavior at the national level, there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat. Democrat Party leadership makes it abundantly clear that it will neuter any wayward member that fails to toe the party line on any vote it deems important. It will take a while before the voters that elected these supposedly moderate freshmen learn, as I did, that today's Democrat Party has no place for moderates except to win local elections in red states.

I also disagree with those who say the GOP should have kissed and made up with Linc Chaffee in order to keep a Senate majority. If Chafee, who spoke and often voted as a Democrat, was promised an attractive committee chairmanship, and thought he could avoid being made inconsequential in the way Jeffords was, he would likely have betrayed the Republicans in a minute. While it would have been better to purge the party of RINO's in 2002 when it was stronger (how many votes do you think Rick Santorum lost for supporting for Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey?), it still may be better off without its Linc Chafees.

The Ohio Republican Party is in almost as bad a shape as the Illinois party has been since the days of George Ryan.

Enough for now. With the market headed downward and Democrats hard at work to raise taxes and scuttle the economic boom, I need to work even harder to maintain our family's modest standard of living.
-- Steve Fernandez
Missouri

Like your Mr. Klein, I am nostalgic for the clarity and substance of the 1994 Contract with America but it would be a mistake to expect to duplicate such a unique event. 1994 was Act II of an existing anti-incumbent wave (greatly helped by Clinton's first budget) and a time of almost perfect GOP unity of key issues and unparalleled intellectual and political leadership.

On Iraq, immigration, fiscal issues and social security, the GOP does not have anything close to a unified voice and that will likely worsen in the short term. There is no new Gingrich, no new crop of youngish Reaganites in their prime ready to fill the ranks of government and no bright new philosophical energy. The GOP leadership is rather tired across the board.

Bush and the GOP Congress wrongly relied on a simplistic political formula using the War on Terror as a single issue rather than a substantive governing record, blithely assuming that in a showdown between peacenik defeatists and patriots and that the good guys would always win. They acted as if it were enough to point out the bias and distortions of the New York Times et al. instead of speaking directly to the concerns of the people the New York Times successfully demoralized.

Unless the Democrats cooperate and provide some helpful issue clarity, the GOP will likely be in the minority in Congress for several elections and probably lose a few more Senate seats in each of the next two elections. The Dems are fortunate not to have much vision or unity themselves so they will instead serve up lots of mushy veto bait to prove their love for the Little Guy and for Mother Earth and their hatred for The Rich, all to the sustained applause of the media.

The truth is a repeat of the 1994 victory would require even better leadership, even better ideas, and even better party discipline to overcome the inertia that is already in place. It saddens me but I don't see it on the horizon.
-- George Tobin
North Potomac, Maryland

To the list of failures by this administration (to end government "that is too big, to intrusive and too easy with the public's money" and to "end the cycle of scandal and disgrace" in the Congress), Mr. Klein's would be wise to add the following to what needs to be corrected by the GOP:

1. The lack of transparency in government (a broken campaign promise).

2. A discredited foreign policy based on ideology instead of realism.

3. A lack of respect for the checks and balances the Founding Fathers
purposefully wrote into the Constitution.

4. The image of the GOP as the party of prejudice (race baiting and
homophobia flying under the colors of "family values").

5. A failure to be honest about the dangers of exploding budget deficits and a huge national debt caused not only by unbridled spending, but also by tax cuts that primarily benefit the most wealthy among us.

Where have conservatives been? These issues have been evident for some time. As long as the party was in full swing, the silence of conservatives was deafening.
-- Mike Roush

The Republicans lost a good deal of ground not so much because of anything they did or didn't do, but because they let the Democrats paint them with the scandal brush, while not striking out in kind. The Republicans took the high road and the Democrats took the low road and the Democrats got to the majority before them.

There were ample opportunities. Take Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island). Involved in a messy car-crash-related scandal earlier this year -- stayed in office -- elected with a wide majority in November.

Compare that to the Republicans. Confronted with scandal -- resigned -- gone.

Can the Democrats keep getting away with that? Will they be let?
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Honestly I am sick to my stomach. I had predicted that we would win both houses, this seems not to be the case. I am especially troubled that Rick Santorum didn't win. He is so right with the Islamic threat we facing. Why the people of Pennsylvania can not see this, is beyond me. And what are the people of Minnesota thinking by electing a Muslim with a dubious background. However there is a silver lining here and I do agree with the author, that the Republicans have two years to get their affairs in shape again, and govern conservative and hopefully with a conservative president to lead the pack! And not one posing as a conservative!
-- Regina Jaegermann
Richmond, Virginia

Much will be written about the results of this election and where blame or credit belongs for the results. Some will have merit and most will not. What generally won't be said is the following.

In 2000, Al Gore got 49.99% of the voters and a yellow dog would have won the election. Same for John Kerry who got 48%. In neither case, did either man give any creditable reasons to vote for them but they still got nearly half the votes. They both promised the Moon and then some. I can make a creditable case that Al Gore is certifiable with serious mental illnesses not the least of which is obsession. I can make the case that John Kerry is a liar, a fraud, untrustworthy and a political opportunist without the Swiftboat guys. Neither of these men would have survived the events of 9/11 politically. None of my liberal friends voted "for" these two men but against George W. Bush. To be quite honest, it didn't matter who ran in 2000 or 2004 on the Republican ticket, my aged Hippie liberal friends would have voted for any dog be it yellow or not provided it spoke Democrat. It is easy to be a Democrat and someone will pay you to be one if you can't figure it out.

I'm amused when the political elites of the Liberal breed bemoan the fact that they can't run better candidates. I think the better Democrats run as Republicans. By the same token I hope those that expect W to find that Veto pen are right because I think W thinks the People deserve the Government they vote for. If the man wouldn't veto a single bill in 6 years and signed a bill into law he thinks was unconstitutional why would anyone think he is going to save us from "ourselves" in the last two years of his term? I wouldn't hold my breath on that. I believe it was U.S. Grant who said that the fastest way to get rid of an unjust law is to enforce it. Think about that in today's context.

At the end of the day "we the people" are getting the government we deserve. For over 60 years we have been passing the buck onto the next generation to pay the freight and that bill is coming due starting around 2008. I have yet to figure out how I tell the difference between a Democrat or Republican social program's suction on my wallet. Somebody's children are going to have to pay, eventually.

Like I said, you probably won't read something like this in many places but while it is good sport at times to destroy the other side's candidate, the root cause of the political discourse we have in this country lives right beside you, sits next you at work and stands behind you in the line to vote. Many of those voters don't pay a dime in income tax too. George W. Bush came to Washington wishing to change the "tone" in DC, what has changed in 6 years? It only takes one to have a fight. If we want to win as a political philosophy we had better learn how to fight at home as well as aboard better.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

I read with interest Mr. Klein's column regarding conservatism not being defeated. I am so happy because for a minute there, when I woke up, I thought we'd lost. Well reasoned folks know that the Republican Party in general did not hear our concerns regarding illegals and other things, like big spending. But, somewhere if folks believe that the Democratic Party will be the answer, they will have to look again.

As for me, mother of a serving pilot, I worry about the funds being cut off for the troops. Will anyone hold the Democratic Party accountable there or will we sink in defeat and have the enemy follow us home? Or perhaps the enemy is here already and the enemy is ourselves. However I look at it this morning it isn't with optimism. Maybe tomorrow morning will be different but somehow I don't think so.

For now I just wonder if the vote of the soldiers was counted or thrown away.
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

What I am renewing today is my interest in statistics. I am writing down what the Dow was yesterday, what the inflation rate was, what unemployment was, what casualties were in Iraq, what a year's college tuition costs. I have one grandson who is a sophomore at UCDavis, another coming up in three years. Oh, and for the sake of Michelle Malkin and Ken Shreve, I will be keeping a close eye on how the illegal immigration flow will be staunched by some magical process heretofore held secret. Every month I will check it. But when things go south, they can still miff. "That's because George Bush is still president."

'Twould be nice if Pelosi got herself one of those bumper stickers that says "HOW'S MY DRIVING? CALL 1-800-WHO CARES."

In no time at all I am sure we will all be singing "Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the peppermint trees and the soda-water water fountain...." How wonderful things will be on that Big Rock Candy Mountain we call D.C.

Things are looking up already. She has gotten Donald Rumsfeld to walk the plank, with a little help from what "new" friends? Who's next? Oh, dear, another list to keep.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

The real winners of this election are the Islamofascists. The losers are the rest of us.
-- Andrew Macfadyen, M.D.
Omaha, Nebraska

CULTURALLY INCOMPATIBLE
Re: William Tucker's The Roots of Democracy:

I was bothered by William Tucker's piece "The Roots of Democracy." Because he has come to realize that what we are doing in Iraq is unpopular, difficult and not succeeding the way we all had hoped, it is now acceptable to put forward one of foundations of post-modern political and intellectual liberalism as the justification for withdrawal from the region, namely that this culture is different from ours, governed by its own cultural zeitgeist. As a culture they subconsciously want, or even need, a strongman. They are culturally incapable of the same democratic impulses as we are. We should leave and let their own cultural imperative take over and produce its own strongman.

I am not sure if Mr. Tucker is listening to his own words and how elitist and prejudiced they sound. How does one come to the conclusion that the democratic spirit of our culture is the best and noblest way to organize a society, bringing it into harmony with our deepest human yearnings, and at the same time come to the conclusion that certain cultures are incapable of producing stable democratic institutions. The only conclusion one can come to is that Mr. Tucker believes that that not every human being yearns for democratic freedom and that certain peoples are incapable of the same higher impulses of western societies that have their cultural roots in Europe. My guess is that in Mr. Tucker's eyes we stand one or two steps above the rest of the world, not just in our cultural superiority, but in terms of our humanity. We are just a little bit more human than they. Either this or Mr. Tucker is a thorough going post-modernist who assigns moral equivalency to each society's institutions. The strong man is one society's equivalent to our democracy. Each is produced in its own cultural setting and each has equal moral validity and we should just leave well enough alone.

Either way, it seems that Mr. Tucker does not believe that we are all connected by a shared set basic "human" aspirations and that we can engage the world abroad to help other societies realize the fullness of their humanity. It seems that he has come to see through the war in Iraq that middle easterners are either morally, culturally and humanly incapable of the same aspirations as a European based culture or that their culture has the same moral, cultural and human equivalency as ours. With the former we should never have hoped that the "primitives" could be humanized. With the latter we should have controlled our smug imperialism and not tried to impose our values on a culture with as much validity as our own. Either way, I find Mr. Tucker's intellectual viewpoint troubling and dangerous. When we cease to see in other people, even those who grow up in vastly different cultures from our own, the same human yearnings that we have; it becomes easy to disengage from trying to help our human neighbors find the full realization of their humanity. Only with this deep sense of shared humanity can we enter into any helping situation with the right attitude and the right motives. Without this basic connection it is easy to dismiss the plight of another and/or it is easy to begin to play God in the lives of those we consider inferior to us.

Is it easy to intervene in the lives of our fellow humans? Never. Is it worth it. Always. But only if we go in with humility and with that understanding that the helper and the helped are both deeply connected in their shared humanity. Mr. Tucker, in his quest to find the easy way out of a difficult situation, is willing to cast the humanity of middle easterners aside. Leave them be to their own devices. Let them find the strong man they desire. People like that are just not like us. They don't have the same yearnings we do. Its best to just go and let them be who they are. Never mind the billions that are being robbed of their humanity trapped by Islam or Communism or some other social, cultural, religious or ideological system that prevents them from seeing the fullness of who they are as human beings.
-- Steve Baarda

After Gulf War I we abandoned the Iraqis and sat back and watched Saddam's regime slaughter the rebellion that followed. The result being that when we inevitably returned to finish the job, it was extremely difficult to gain the trust of the Iraqis. If I'm reading this article right, Mr. Tucker thinks we should do that again?

Even if I accept the premise that the Iraq power vacuum would not be immediately filled by something far worse than Saddam (something I'm not willing to concede), there would still be far-reaching consequences, not the least of which would be rendering the sacrifice of over 3000 brave men and women utterly meaningless. Not to mention the people of other countries in future battles of the war on terror, namely Iran, would never trust America to have their back in their own popular uprising since we would have proven that since Vietnam our word has been without value, and that we never finish what we start.

It may be true that democracy is not necessary to be successful in Iraq, but an autocratic government chosen by the Iraqi people under the relative peace of the U.S. occupation, and one forced upon them in the chaotic bloodbath that would follow in the wake of our premature departure are two totally different things.
-- Chuck Lazarz
Reading, Pennsylvania

We have become a nation of cut and runners. We did it in Korea, Vietnam, Somalia and will do so in Iraq. We didn't learn a lesson when the marine barrack was hit, nor when a hole was blown in the Cole. Closer to home we learned nothing from WTC 1 and WTC II. We are more concerned that people be able to change genders on their birth certificates, that people in our country illegally be afforded the same rights as citizens, maybe more rights, and that in a war civilians must never be injured or killed. In fact when we do go to war our media and congressmen take every chance to label our brave men as savages and cold blooded killers of innocents. We have become a toothless tiger well on the way to being cowed by the UN, the E.U., the World Court and eventually by Muslim fascists.
-- Dan Mittelman
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

HINDSIGHT IS PERFECT
Re: Quin Hillyer's Republicans Will Hold On:

I just read Mr. Hillyer's in-depth analysis of the election in which he proclaimed Republicans would retain control of both houses of Congress. I found it extremely insightful and, as last night's election results show, prescient. His accurate prognostications shamed the mainstream media's euphoria. Contrary to Mr. Conventional Wisdom, Mr. Hillyer certainly is no lackey. With Republicans still in control of both houses of Congress, there should be plenty of omelets to go around for all Americans.
-- Pierre Pendergrass
P.S. Balderdash

Exhibit A: Election 2006
The triumph of reality over obfuscation.
-- Alan J. Barnes

Quin Hillyer was wrong. Again.
-- M. Holman

GOBBLED VOTES
Re: Doug Bandow's The Turkey Ballot:

Mr. Bandow's article on turkey ballot sounds like just what is needed but being very cynical today after seeing the least able party re-elected to power I'm sure the politicians would find a way around it. This is not something they would ever allow. Maybe a vote directly to the people would work. I'm ready to support this. Pretty ingenious idea.
-- C. Benson

I loved Doug Bandow's article recommending a NOTA vote. If that were an option on this year's ballot, I would have voted. My disgust with both Democrats and Republicans is so great I can no longer vote in good conscience. I have frequently dreamed of having another choice and the Turkey ballot would suit me just fine. Thank you. Now just tell us how to get it on the ballot.
-- J. C. Perdue

Katrina gave us the 1st proof positive into inefficiency of the Bush administration. Before that there was always the benefit of the doubt as to why the war wasn't working out, why social security referendums were faltering, whether all the spending was really necessary. So Bush got re-elected in '04.

Katrina made believers out of "the benefit of the doubt" gang, making it clear that there was a chasm between rhetoric & performance. Even then, Bush could've probably saved face by firing Rumsfeld to trumpet a sea change of humility, but that would've been too creative to a basically tone-deaf guy.

We have 2 parties in this country:

1. The blundering party w/ the right ideas, that can't execute.
2. The irrelevant party that may end up getting all of us killed w/ their appeasement. The voters just chose the IRRELEVANT PARTY. I mean when California voters don't have the sense to pass a proposition that defends their property…

My statement here is indicative of Republicans who will always blame themselves when things go wrong, whereas when the Democrats fail, it's always about "hanging chads," "oppression of minority voters"; blaming anyone but themselves, because they're controlled by trial lawyers. Make no mistake, we lost the Middle East & Panama because of Carter (one of his top aides resigned -- exclaiming "Jimmy hasn't got a clue to foreign policy"). We got attacked on 9/11 because of Clinton's disinterest. This Democrat takeover is not going to lead to anything good & I'm mad at Bush
-- Al
Lemon Grove

CASTING THE LAST STONE
Re: Francis J. Beckwith's The Case of Ted Haggard:

Pastor Ted Haggard has done immeasurable damage to the Christian public faith and to the causes he soldiered for. I don't want to hear any of this swamp water about "restoration." Ted Haggard should disappear from the radar. He should get no congregation, write no books, and have no appearances on Oprah. The only time I ever want to hear about him about would be fifteen or twenty years from now when it is discovered he is ministering, clothing, feeding and bringing medicine to a people in some wind swept, forsaken part of the world. Ted Haggard has lost his "testimony." It will be only in lonely service to the world's unfortunate that he will get a speck of it back.
-- Mike Dooley

In regards to the article "The Case of Ted Haggard" by Francis J. Beckwith, there seems to be a mistake in the last sentence of the second last paragraph by the author.

"But, as we have seen, it cannot be because the liberal-secularist has a serious moral understanding of the human condition.

I think the author meant "misunderstanding" instead of "understanding."
-- Ted Chang

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