The Failed Columnist

A personal take on current events - political, social, cultural, educational, scientific, and other subjects.

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All you need to know about me is that I have never called anyone a Macaca and I have never denied my heritage!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Winners and Losers from Election 2006!

Winners:

American Democracy/Founding Fathers – It is amazing that 230 years after independence, a political system that was envisioned by our founding fathers still works. If Republicans had won this year, many Americans would have begun to doubt that our democracy can survive long.

US Troops – Before the Iraq war, we all failed the troops by not asking the tough questions – the administration, the media and the American people – we all failed to live up to our responsibility. Belatedly, we have come to the realization that supporting our troops means more than slapping a sticker on our car.

Independents and Moderates – Until recently there have been debates about how significant independents and moderates have become in our deeply divided America. On Tuesday, the middle came out strong and gave Rove and the partisans a “thumpin!”

The Middle Class/Lower Class – Republicans will probably never understand why they were voted out of power when the economy was doing quote ‘quite well.’ The truth is while income has skyrocketed for CEOs and the mega-rich; it has stagnated or declined for working Americans.

Bipartisanship – Democrats, unlike Bush after 2004, have correctly read the voters’ message. The message: More bipartisanship in Washington!

Real Issues: Healthcare, the economy, education, effective government, security were all winners as they should always be.

God and Science – America has always found a way to balance religion and science. We have always been at the forefront of the greatest scientific and technological innovations of the past two centuries – from the airplane to the Internet. In Missouri, the voters decided to make it clear that Science and God can co exist.

Electronic voting: Because this year’s election saw relatively few complaints, be ready to see more electronic ballots in 2008 even in Florida and Ohio!

Democrats – You have to respect the discipline that Democrats (except John Kerry) had in keeping their mouths shut. Sure they did not offer any specifics, but why would they when the Republicans were busy self-destructing everyday?

Public Opinion – The president always said he doesn’t govern by looking at the polls. Vice President Cheney said it doesn’t matter what the public thinks, they’d go full speed ahead with their policies. Well, the voters thought differently and on Tuesday slammed the brakes on this administration's policies.


Losers:

George W. Bush – In 2000, he sauntered into the White House thanks to the Supreme Court. In 2002 and 2004, he won by stoking the fears of the American people in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. This year however, Bush had to face the moment of truth; the result was an overwhelming rejection of George W. Bush and his policies.

The Bush doctrine/Cowboy diplomacy –As Time Magazine succinctly put it this summer, the era of Cowboy diplomacy is over and just in case Bush did not get the message then, the voters reminded him again last Tuesday.

Republicans – From Terri Schiavo, Abramoff and Delay Scandals, Hurricane Katrina, the Social Security battle, the Iraq war, Dubai Ports, the Mark Foley affair, frivolous spending, squandering the surplus, to incompetency, Republicans have no one but themselves to blame.

Wedge Issues: While Americans were dying in Iraq this summer, the spectacle of congress taking up gay marriage and flag burning did not sit well with Americans. The voters expressed their sentiments appropriately at the polls. Let’s hope Republicans heard them!

Incompetency – The sad part about this administration's incompetence has been the fact that they have also been very arrogant and incapable of learning from their mistakes.

Scandals/Corruption – It took Democrats forty years to be corrupted by power; it took only twelve years for Republicans to eclipse that in time and scale.

Gerrymandering/Money/72 Hour GOTV – These were all supposed to thwart the true desires of the American electorate, instead democracy prevailed.

The ‘Permanent Majority’ – The biggest dream of Karl Rove was to build a so-called permanent majority that would vote Republicans for generations to come. Thanks to independent voters, politicians cannot take the electorate for granted, you have to actually appeal to all the electorate beyond just your base.

Partisanship – Earlier this year Tom Delay stood on the floor of Congress and gave an acerbic speech praising the extreme partisanship that had brought Washington to a standstill. The voters were shocked and last Tuesday they kicked Delay and his partisan hacks out of Washington.

Fear – It comes down to this, if Democrats win, the terrorists win, right?!

Negative Campaigns – Negative campaigns have always been around and are not likely to disappear, but this year, Republicans took the art form to new lows. Unfortunately they’ll be back in 2008. Someone call Harold!

Fake Heroes – In the past politicians who had never been to combat before were quick to wrap themselves around the flag and question the patriotism of even those who actually fought and defended America. This year the voters decided to elect genuine heroes like Jim Webb.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Congratulations Senator Macaca!!!

The Price We All Pay for Extreme Partisanship.

The nation is in a big big mess under twelve years of Republican rule, so you would think that Democrats will cruise to victory today right? If you think so, then you are living in an imaginary and ideal world, so let me welcome you to the reality that is today’s society.

On Wednesday, November 8, the rest of the nation is going to wake up and wonder why Senator George Allen could be re elected to office after all the Macacas, Niggers, Pork Chops and Tax Filings. But we here in Virginia are not going to be surprised. All across America, the phenomena will be repeated - Republicans will win elections not because they have demonstrated competence, but because some Americans will rather vote for an incompetent, corrupt, out of touch Republican than vote for a Democrat who is competent, qualified and ready to change Washington. Yes, that is the price we have to pay for extreme partisanship today!

If by some ‘miracle,’ Democrats don’t win the House and Senate, there is going to be a lot of soul searching for the Deems and rightly so. However, the larger question should be for the American people – What type of democracy have we become? Have we let party loyalty blind us to the needs of accountability and personal responsibility in public service? If you cannot find the reason (sorry, courage) to throw out Republicans today, when would you ever find one? This is a democracy and the greatest thing is that we get a chance to freely elect our leaders. Thus the people in Washington to an extent are a reflection of who we are or have become as a society. If they are incompetent, it is because we did not elect them based on their competence and qualifications but on narrow ideologies. If our leaders in Washington do not care about being accountable to the public, it is because we keep re electing them over and over again. What exactly then is the motivation for our leaders to change?

The key to extreme partisanship has never been to debate the issues or accentuate the positives; instead it is a slugfest to make your opponent look so bad that the electorate would rather vote for you or not at all given the choice of only two people. That means that if you are a Republican, even if Bush were caught in bed with a live boy and a dead woman, you would still support him, because compared to the Democrats, he is the lesser evil. The conservative strategy was never to get voters to vote for them based on issues; rather it was to demonize Democrats as being such evil that conservatives especially core Conservative Christians could never fathom voting for a Democrat. That means you are only left with two choices – vote Republican or stay at home. It has worked for years, but what is good for the Republican Party has been disastrous to the nation as a whole.

The list of incompetencies and failures of the Republican administration is appalling – Hurricane Katrina, Harriet Miers, the Iraq war, squandering the surplus, reckless government spending and deficits, No Child left Behind flop, Terri Schiavo, the Mark Foley Scandal, Abramoff and Delay corruption scandals and absolute disregard for public opinion. None has ever warranted so much as an investigation by the Republican controlled congress. All these are tolerated because Republicans continue to support Bush and the Republicans no matter how bad things get.

Such a condition guarantees that Republicans who have controlled all branches of government never have to be competent or accountable as long as the choice is between them and the Democrats, they ll always do well. Americans have paid with their pockets, at the pump and some ultimately with their lives in Iraq. In the 1990s, Republicans believed everything Clinton did ought to be investigated, but soon as they get into power, they were suddenly averse to investigations or oversights of any kind. So, we have no checks and balances within our government. The voters on the other hand are still bitterly divided over Red and Blue. The more half of the country complains about Bush and an incompetent administration, the more half of the country blindly rallies to support Bush.

The past election was spent by Republicans virtually demonizing the Democrats – from the female Nancy Pelosi to the black Charley Rangel, these are the new boogie monsters for Conservatives. The rally cry is not that conservatives have any message or have accomplished anything. The message is simply, “how could you vote for a democrat? That is just taboo! Vote us back to power and please do not ask us to be accountable or competent for that matter.” Can you imagine how America would look today at home and abroad if we all went to the polls and voted as independent Americans not as Democrats or Republicans? Can you imagine if we actually went to the polls and voted the most qualified and competent candidate and not based on party or ideological bias? Would that not make our founding fathers proud?

Doomsday prophets like Thomas Friedman, Charles Kuppman, Francis Fukuyama, John Mershearmer are busy predicting that the world is changing technologically and otherwise, the US might wake up to find out it is no longer the world’s superpower. So what do our politicians in Washington do? Of course they are busy crafting legislature to keep America competitive in Science and Technology right? If you thought so, you are wrong. Our politicians have more pressing issues to deal with like flag burning and gay marriage. Tom Delay proclaimed in his farewell speech to the Senate that there is nothing wrong with partisanship. Yet all across the country the effects of the poisonous partisan culture is felt. Flag burning is not an issue that matters to most Americans, but it is a partisan issue that satisfies a few activists. So we become a country that focuses on what is good for a political party or ideology than on what is good for America. That is what partisanship does, it makes us forget that after all is said and done, we are still all Americans!