Saturday, November 11, 2006

Did Conservatism Take a Thumpin'?

Republicans Lose the Super Bowl of Elections

The day after the Super Bowl fans remember the winning team as being the “victors” and the losing team as “losers.” It doesn’t matter what the score was, or who was ahead most of the game. It is not important if the winning points were scored in the last second or the last twenty minutes. It is of no concern if the last score came on a 100-yard returned punt, or a two-inch quarterback sneak. The winning team are the champions, and the losing team are failures.

So, too, in elections. The victors this election are the Democrats, and the losers the Republicans. The “game” seemed like it was won in the last days before the election. It was won on a steady “ground attack” from about the 45-yardline of the Republicans, and it was an unstoppable march, but one that caught everyone by surprise with its scope and finality. The Democrats “scored” by taking the House, but then also “went for two” and got them, by taking the Senate also. They won by “2 points.” Not a big margin, but enough to earn the label of “champions,” and enough to gain control of the government—which is as good as a landslide.

Narrow Margin, Big Significance

Was it a “thumpin’.” No in terms of votes cast, but yes in terms of significance. Just as in the 1996 and 2000 presidential races, people remember George W. Bush as the winner, and Al Gore and John Kerry as the losers, even though Gore got more votes than Bush, and Kerry came close. Close doesn’t count. Close doesn’t matter in this race either.

On Tuesday, the Democrats took control of the House and Senate. They won 29+ House seats, a bit below the expected six-year norm in a two-term presidency. They gained the Senate with a one-vote majority in a race capped by victories of 8,900 votes in Virginia and 2,500 in Montana. A switch of just 1,500 votes in Montana would have kept the Senate Republican.

Though the margin of victory was not large, the scope of it and its consistency across the nation does point to a vote of “no confidence” in this government, and on its core issue, the war in Iraq. In this sense, then, it really was a “thumpin’.” This is why Bush fired Rumsfeld the day after the vote. He got the message.

The question is, then, was this also a “thumpin’” for conservatism?

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Thumpin’ for Conservatism?

Republican losses included a sweeping defeat of moderate Republicans. The Republicans have ousted their country-club bluebloods, their Rockefeller Republicans and RINOs (Republicans in Name Only). For example, after losing in this election, the pathetic “Republican” Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island even switched parties yesterday, becoming a Democrat after admitting he stayed a Republican during his last years in the Senate only because of his access to power. Sincere Republicans who voted for this fraud will remember him with disdain forever.

On the Democratic side, Representative Rahm Emanuel became the star of his party by recruiting many conservative Democratic candidates. Among others, there is the triumphant Senator-Elect Democrat Jim Webb from Virginia, former Secretary of the Navy, former Republican, and so very conservative on an array of issues. Plus, Heath Shuler of North Carolina, anti-abortion, pro-gun, anti-tax, and now a Democratic House member. And so on. Democrats have found religion, and gotten jiggy with it on other conservative values too. In Michigan, a ballot initiative to abolish affirmative action won. Across the nation, seven of eight constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage were approved. Nine states passed referendums asserting individual property rights against eminent domain.

Who Won this Super Bowl?

What does all this mean? Both parties have moved to the right. Conservatism won this Super Bowl.

Who drove for the final score, the touchdown and extra two points of this game, really? It was Joe Lieberman, the unlikely quarterback of the winning conservative team. He is a moderate on most issues, and a conservative on others. He was “traded” by the liberals to the conservative side, and he got the ball and ran with it, dodging tacklers the whole last 45 yards down the field.

Lieberman won despite being open about seeking victory in Iraq, beating an anti-war Democrat and a Republican who siphoned off 10-percent of the pro-war vote. All this in Connecticut, a very blue state.

The Quarterback

Lieberman, though he is an independent now, will caucus with the Democrats, and is effectively the 51st Democratic vote for their new majority. He is the kingmaker. His leftist Democratic “friends” who abandoned him some months ago will now be courting him with flowers and cards.

So, here is the final score of the race. Democrats 51, Republicans 49, Conservatism 100. Conservatism did not take a “thumpin’.” It actually won this Super Bowl.


(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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