Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Bad Year for the Roses

No, I am not talking about the Rose Bowl. My hopes are still high that Cal can pull a victory against the University of South Central this weekend. In fact, I will be blogging about that that at some point this week.

Today I am predicting another bad year for the Republicans. As everybody in politics knows, the campaign starts the day after the previous election, if not sooner. Why then are the Republicans already failing?

When the voters very clearly tell you that things need to change, it would be logical to change in the direction the voters intend. Not so, according to the choices currently being made in Sacramento and DC.

Republican members of the California Assembly look like they will soon replace George Plescia with even-more-conservative Mike Villines from the Fresno-Clovis area to be the new Assembly Minority Leader. True, Plescia was no strong leader for the GOP. Susan Kennedy referred to him looking like a deer stuck in the headlights and Governor Schwarzenegger expressed his concern that Plescia couldn’t control the “wild-bunch” of Republicans in the Assembly. Still it makes little sense to find a more conservative member to lead our party out of the current quagmire. At this rate, expect the California GOP to be even more irrelevant than it already is.

But it doesn’t seem the national party is any smarter. In the Senate, it looks like the minority leader will be Senator Mitch McConell, an anti-gay “Christianist” that votes a straight Republican ticket. That doesn’t sound like change to me, folks. Why don’t we see if we can find somebody closer to the status quo? Is Dick Cheney eligible for the post?

We can’t expect the foolhardy crowd in the House to provide our party with any good leadership, can we? The three favorite candidates to move into Pelosi’s old office when she becomes Speaker are John Boehner, Joe Barton, and Mike Pence. Boehner we can all remember from his role in the Foley scandal and cover-up where he may or may not have told Speaker Hastert what he knew about Foley’s indiscretions. Pence is an extreme conservative hoping to bring change to the GOP by being even more rightwing. Barton long spouted the necessity of traditional family values before his divorce in 2003 and marriage to another woman soon after. He has received extremely large contributions from energy companies while consistently denying the existence of global warming. When he seems to be the more moderate of the candidates for the job, the GOP is in trouble.

Unless the Republican Party wakes up and realizes it needs to change, it will continue to fall by the wayside. I expected the recent election to be a sufficient wakeup call, but apparently was wrong. What will it take to make the GOP move a little left?


Garth said...

Leaving aside the unique dynamics of California's Republican politics (since most Republicans are shut out of positions of power in this unusually center-left state in the center-right nation), I think that not only is the country not moving back to the center, but our fellow countrymen are looking for a conservative, level-headed leadership since Republican leadership lost its way.

As we get further and further away from election day it is more obvious that Nancy Pelosi plans to run the House from the far left (her support of John Murtha over the more moderate Steny Hoyer is further evidence of this), and far left grassroots groups are writing stories such as "Democrats, Don't Wimp Out" by Paul Waldman at TomPaine.com. The author's signature sentence of the whole moment is, "Forget about the center; push progressive ideology and crush the opposition."

The American people did not vote for leftist state controlling, over-regulating, over-taxing, oppressing government. More centrist Democrats were elected over Republicans who were further to the left of their victorious opponents.

The corruption, greed and arrogance of the national Republican leadership were what voters voted out of office. The American people were voting for change, but not a change of direction; rather a change of leadership that remembers what elected the Republicans back in 1994: Smaller government, lower taxes, more economic freedom. When Republican leadership rediscovers that beacon of freedom that Ronald Reagan reintroduced Americans to back in 1976, and ultimately the victorious 1980 campaign, Republicans will be voted back into power.

CaliforniaGrown said...

I would certainly be inclined to disagree on several points.

First, you say that California is a center-left state where Republicans are shut out of positions of power. Certainly you must be kidding. While we are center-left here, many Republicans have found themselves at the helm in recent history including such men as former Senator and former Governor Pete Wilson and the current Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. These men have won because they were not on the Right end of the spectrum but aligned themselves with the majority of Californians.

More importantly, I must disagree with you that Americans voted simply for a change in leadership. Frankly, most voters couldn't name the Vice President of the US if you asked and even fewer would be able to tell you what he does. American voters did not vote simply to find new House and Senate leadership because they felt they wanted to get back to the glory days of '94.

Rather, they voted to oust the party that they see causing problems. Those problems include overspending, a poorly executed war, and a focus on social issues to hide from the real problems of the day. The Republicans have been guilty of all of those things. The Democrats won because they promised to lead in a different direction.

My question still remains, how far will this new direction take us? Pelosi has an opportunity to take a centerist road (the Hoyer route) or bulldoze a path far to the left (joining Murtha). Just because she is supporting a party leader on the far end of things doesn't mean that is how she intends the whole body to be led. Besides, Murtha hasn't been elected, yet.

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