Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Fair Enough: So What Happens Now in the U. S. and Illinois?
First, set aside the exuberance of the Left that the election of 2006 was a mighty tidal wave of approval for it and the hysteria of the Right that the election was a disaster for it that can only be equated with the flood that made Noah and his family lone survivors. The fundamental calculus in distinctions between the two parties exists just about as closely as it did before November 7. For ten years prior both parties ranged from 47% to 51% of the popular vote and the 2006 totals will not vary significantly.
Second, much depends upon George W. Bush who can be less of a lame duck than formerly predicted. If he continues the firm tack in Iraq until the end of his term and resists the Democratic tendency to cut appropriations and troop levels and if he has to accept them points out Democratic responsibility for leaving troops stranded in midst of a war, he can win: for the general tendency of the American voter is to win not retreatif a better reason than has been advanced heretofore can be given to warrant their support. If he weakens and decides hes going to serve out his time and hope there is no recurrence of terrorism, he will be the loser. If and this is important the Democrats engage in a serious fight with him on strategy and keep up their strident calls for retreatand something unfortunate happensthe shift in sentiment will be like night and day and Democrats will wear the collar for weakness that can determine elections for the next decade. The one thing I dont like and fear, actually is the malleable gang that seems to be oozing into the government through the cracks in the wall: the Jim Baker crowd and especially the appointment of Daddy Bushs hand-holder, Bob Gates. How the determination was made to give them entry is a mystery to me. I hope Bush hasnt been reduced to listening to his creaky father whose arteriosclerosis in foreign policy and defense goes back to the preppy whimper we can negotiate with them. First the Russians and Chinese, now the terrorist nations of the Middle East.
Third, on the domestic front enough will be gained through dickering to avoid a standoff. Bush will agree to a minimum wage hike: so what? The walls arent going to fall except at the Cato Institute. Bush and the Democrats will agree to a humane and, I hope, reasonably stringent agreement on immigrationan agreement that could not have been attained if the Congress stayed Republican. Here the devil will be in the details but I dont think disaster is looming over the horizon if something resembling the GOP Senate bill is passed with some of the kinks the conservatives called to our attention being ironed out. The Right will kill me when it reads this.
Fourth, the chance is that Charlie Rangel will settle for tax-free savings vehicles for lower-paid workers which is not too far from the private accounts that Bush had crusaded for. So if both sides drop a lot of the rhetoric, some constructive things can be attained.
Fifth, the presidential thing has opened up enormously in the past few weeks. Barack Obama is more than a token. He can very, very seriously become the Democratic presidential nomineeif the Rahm Emanuel-David Axelrod brain trust enables him to pursue a steady course. I dont like either one of them but theyre very moderate strategistsnot bomb-throwers. The fractured nature of the Democrats on the war should prohibit Hillary Clinton from getting the nod. My old Park Ridge neighbor (she lived on the corner down the block from me where I live on the corner) turns into a shrill harridan-type the moment she delivers an oration when her voice rises to a disagreeable shriek. On the Republican side, say goodbye to George W. Bush clones: notably George Allen and his cowboy boots and Sam Brownback and all those other nice guys.
At the moment, I would judge Rudy Giuliani too strident in social views to get nominated for presidentbut not for vice president. I hate to say it but John McCain whom Im not very fond of a man of no fixed compass points except with the war is the man to beat. No conservative (and McCain forfeited his ideological stripes with authorship of that abomination, McCain-Feingold) even approaches him. Ugh: how sorry I am to say that. A very likely possibility would be McCain for president and Giuliani for vice-president which could be very, very successful. Im convinced that this ticket would be elected over, say, a Barack Obama for president and a Sam Nunn-like figure (not Sam Nunn but someone like him) for vice president. And be elected over a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama ticket or one turned around. The idea of two loose cannonsMcCain and Giulianirunning the country causing the administration to detonate through spontaneous combustion is very possible. But were talking election here, arent we?
Sixth, about the Illlinois GOP. The foregoing scenario shows that divided government can work in Washington that the Democrats will have to be very cautious about withdrawing troops levels and cutting appropriations for Iraq without becoming the goat party of defeat, disaster and disunion. The whole story about the nation shows that things can work out and probably willand that a Republican ticket I suggested can get elected. But that doesnt go for Illinois.
In Illinois, an entire generation has not known anything remotely like a Reagan philosophy of state governmentfrom Dick Ogilvie to Jim Thompson to Jim Edgar (although he had some thrift in him) to George Ryan to the recent Judy Baar Topinka. Liberals dont like to be reminded that Judy received fewer votes than the apocalyptically anti-political Alan Keyes saying that Keyes ran in a presidential year and thus got more total votes and Judy in an off-year and got fewer but political theologians can debate that for years and come to no conclusion. The point is that mainstream media and liberal pundits have sold a bill of goods to GOP voters that only a Combine-clone can win. The incredible shrinking away of a GOP base for Judy proved them wrong (although they are still in denial).
The other day the Mother Church of Benign Republican Accommodation-ism, the Tribune issued a list of people, purportedly acceptable to it, for future GOP leadership. They were, almost all of them, familiar players with the Combine. The writer was one Rick Pearson who has been cheek-and-jowl with the Combine to whom the thought conservative is anathema. That list, which includes the man who was the fishermans lure distracting enough conservatives away to achieve a Topinka nomination (and who now tells Pearson: who, me?) is totally the wrong one. Thus there has to be a knock-down, drag-out battle to make the Republican party whole again. The fixer Bob Kjellander has to go and long before hes led away in cuffs from the defendants table. Probably Andy McKenna, a nice guy but with no inner-force in him, has to go. There has to be a responsible but effective figurative blood-letting before the party returns to the kind of party other states have: no visible Combine no big-time lobbyists making political policy for the GOP with wink-and-nod deals with Dems which started with Ogilvie and a huge effort at reform.
That means reform of campaign finance the ending of corporate and union donations (Im a member of two unions: one in connection with my modest radio show and the other as a modesty paid adjunct professor at Roosevelt) to state and local politics very possibly the passage of stringent contributory levels on giving. I think it means more voter participation in the election of the State Central Committee. Originally members were elected on a ballot in primaries; Big Jim Elephantine, Esq. with his arrogance changed all that and made the SCC members appointive by local committees (it smacks of inside dealing and indeed is: notwithstanding the weak nature of the SCCs anyhow). My only reservation about this would be to retain the concept that one not have to be a member of the Committee but who can be elected from outside.
The sooner the figurative blood-letting begins, the sooner the GOP will come back to life. In doing this, there must be no attention with very few exceptions to the mainstream media whose formal political writers not allbut notable exceptions--are (a) illiterate and agnostic on philosophy and (b) sentimentally and femininely co-opted by liberaldom and the cause of the Left. I can only express this hope: let the figurative bloodletting begin!