Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Personal Aside: Would It Be That Bad for the GOP to Lose the Congress?
With the exception of the governorship where I will write in the name of Randy Stufflebeam, I will not only vote straight Republican but will be rooting energetically for the election or reelection of a number of my favorites to the House: including Peter Roskam in the 6th and David McSweeney in the 8th . As a matter of fact, I can think of many elections where I have been more lukewarm than this one. I had never been a fan of Richard Nixon and so I rather dragged myself off to the polls to vote for him in 1960 over Kennedy and in 1968 over Humphrey. Moreover, I had never been an enthusiast of Barry Goldwater because, having worked for one brilliant conservative, Walter Judd, I clearly saw Goldwaters deficiencies. I supported him howevermanfully.
I was a little more enthusiastic for Nixon in 1972 when the opponent was George McGovern whom I knew slightly and felt he was and still is entirely impractical for the country with his support for massive redistribution of income and a complete detachment from reality in foreign affairs. Having known Gerald Ford when we both worked in the House he as a fast-rising Michigan congressman and me as an aide to a congressman who was his fast friend I was unimpressed. Even more unimpressed when in debating Jimmy Carter he announced that East Germany had moved to the Free World. Of course the high-water mark for me was Ronald Reagan and his program in 1980 and 1984. George H. W. Bush was always too much a preppie and irresolute to my way of thinking. I was never that interested in his realism in foreign policy which was a hangover from the Nixon-Kissinger days when Dr. Kissinger became convinced that this country did not have the will to win the Cold War.
The Republican nominee against Bill Clinton was Senator Bob Dole whom I knew quite well from dealings in the Congress since he had been in the House. A very uninspiring, evasive, temporizing relativist who got the nomination simply because it was his turn. I had supported Jack Kemp whose economic views made perfect sense. But he burned out early, in part because he was a kind of perverse Marxist. Like followers of Marx who believed economics was at the root of everything, Kemp felt the free market was the answer to everything to the extent that he couldnt mount any fervor for the evangelicals who have meant so much to the GOPs sinews.
At the outset, in the pre-convention period of 2000, I was for Steve Forbes and felt that George W. Bush was a very small chip off the old block. How wrong I was. I think now that he may well equal if not exceed Ronald Reagan as one of our greatest presidents, no matter what the contemporary mediawhich were wrong all during the Cold Warmay say. And I still feel the same way about the president. The Republican Congress, however, has bogged down in careerism. Newt may have had a lot of defects but he was a veritable pinwheel of ideas as Speaker. Dick Armey was duplicitous but a superbly equipped legislator to be majority leader, as a trained and eloquent economist. I would even vouchsafe that Tom DeLay would have continued had he not been shattered by the attempt on his life which snuffed out a close Capitol Hill cop as a thoroughly competent majority leader.
We know now that Denny Hastert is in no way a successor to Newts group that went before. He has been a caretaker and not a very diligent one at that. It has not been his fault: after all, he was drafted for the job when Livingstone opted out of the Speakership. Still, there are times when party majorities grow old and arteries get clogged. I am persuaded that a change of leadership in the Speakership with maybe a Mike Pence of Indiana or a Shaddegg of Arizona would be salutary. Perhaps before that can happen, it may be necessary to see a temporary shift in a House majority. I wouldnt exactly suffer through that if I were sure that Nancy Pelosi and her gang were as fully committed to this country as Democratic majorities were in the pasta past I knew well and worked under: with Speaker Sam Rayburn, Speaker John McCormack even Tip ONeill whom I knew quite well. Then one gets to the Democratic dregs the thinnest residue of which in the bottom of the glass is Ms. Pelosi. She and her lean and hungry Cassius with cheeks sucked in lascivious lust of power who entertains no absolutes save his own opportunism, Rahm Emanuel.
It is not in my power to do anything except cast one vote. But if I had my druthers, I would turn the House over to a Democratic generation of a bygone day. Thats how I feel about it today anyhow. Tomorrow a partisan Democrat may strike at my boys and I will don my armor and fight again.