The Elections

Ok. Um...deep breath.

Whew, let's try this again. The elections.

As I have realized in posting comments elsewhere, it is extremely difficult to express my thoughts on Tuesday's elections without it sounding like sour grapes. Hopefully I can counter that tendency by first stating that I consider myself more of an idealist than an idealogue. That might sound like a false distinction to some, but to me it means that when I espouse conservative principles like 'less government,' I really believe it. So if a particular political candidate purports to agree with that principle, but acts in a manner contrary to it, I do not consider it a significant defeat if that candidate loses his election. Elections are practical beasts too, though, so usually one must 'root for' the candidate that tends to more closely follow one's beliefs, rather than expecting a candidate to exactly mirror one's philosophy.

Further, in local elections, the candidates are often more focused on pragmatic, nuts and bolts issues than grand political strategies and philosophies. To that end, I believe we need reasonable, responsible individuals willing to serve, and I have found that members of both political parties can fit that bill.

With that said, I do not consider Tuesday's elections to be a crushing ideological defeat, even though my preferred party went down in flames on the national level. This is because, to a large extent, my party did not govern as a conservative party. Huge deficits, more spending, more government. Even the vaunted "tax cuts" were, in reality, a minscule demonstration in knuckling under to the "tax cuts for the rich" media.

I mean come on, guys, you either believe this stuff or you don't. If you don't, why do you ask for my vote?

So, why don't I consider the election a huge ideological defeat? Because in many ways Tester ran on conservative issues that are important to me. Fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, these are things I believe to be important. How many times did we hear that he is a tax cutter? (Remember the 13,000 small businesses? Whether I believe he is a tax cutter is a different issue altogether!)

Therefore, if it wasn't just a 'throw the bums out' election, this means that many people in our state believe in lower taxes and fiscal responsibility. That's a good thing.

Further, many of the people who were voted out of office did not act like conservatives, they didn't act like they truly believed it. So, while my 'team' lost, I don't think it will change governance all that much. And, the split between the branches tends to slow government down, which is a good thing.

So, buckle up. Now's when we really start to learn what these people are all about. It's easy to say "repeal the Patriot Act." Now let's see what comes in its place. It's easy to "oppose" the Iraq war; offering a solution is a different thing. It's easy to be "for jobs," allowing the economy to grow tends to be more difficult.

Congratulations to Tester and the Democrats. Now show us you meant what you said.


tmm said...

I've yet to read a better summation. Spot on, once again.

free thought said...

Summation good. Prelude to it, long. But you are right. Most democrats who won were running centrist/conservative campaigns. Most republicans who lost were tainted by their own scandals, as well as the failure of the party to be conservative when in power.

I too am interested in how folks like Tester do. They tend to change, or perhaps get exposed, when they get to Washington (right, Conrad?). Despite the fact that moderate, even conservative, dems were elected, they will be subject to a far left leadership.

Given the willingness of someone like Lieberman to rejoin his party, I doubt anyone in the party can stand up to Kennedy, Pelosi, etc, the way someone like McCain can on the republican side.

GeeGuy said...

Thomas Sowell made an interesting point that, in electing moderate Democrats, the American people gave control to left-wing idealogues.

I don't know if I agree with it, but it's an interesting point.