November 9, 2006

I'm out of touch with my own opinion about the election.

I haven't had the time to settle in and think about how I feel about the new political landscape.

In the last week, I've traveled back and forth to Washington twice, first, to do two days of appointments interviews and second, to attend CNN's election night blog party. The first trip set in motion the second stage of interviewing, when we bring candidates here to Madison for full-day interviews. As the appointments chair, I'm caught up in a whirl of scheduling and hosting.

The second trip took the place of simulblogging the election from my calm TV room, with my customary distance from the political world. Immersed in the blog party, my resistance to politics surged and the usual flow of opinions got stifled. I'm still feeling a little fried from it all.

In spite of that, I recorded a BloggingHeads episode this morning, and I hope that comes out okay. I'll link to that when it's up, which is not yet. (Though you might want to go over there and watch Bob Wright and Mickey Kaus talk about the election.)

Anyway, I finally have a night of serenity, and I want to watch and read some news and see if I have anything to say. Even though I fretted that the Democrats would do dangerous things if they got power, I'm not alarmed. My tendency is to be fatalistic but optimistic. I assume the Democrats will shape up and live up to their responsibilities, and I like the new conservative blood they've transfused themselves with.

As for Bush, it may do him good to work with Democrats. It will bring out something new in him, and I think that so far he's handled himself rather well.

More later. Right now, I need to cook some dinner and watch some TV.

103 comments:

Eli Blake said...

One message that rings loud and clear: people expect their House members to be honest and ethical.

Democrats took over the seats previously held by Tom DeLay, Mark Foley and Bob Ney. Curt Weldon and Don Sherwood also lost due to scandals. The two incumbent Democrats who lost or in one case almost certainly will lose this year were scandal tainted Cynthia McKinney (fired in a September primary) and William Jefferson (who only got 29% of the vote Tuesday and will face off in a December runoff against Karen Carter, who finished second in the multiple candidate open election.)

This should be a strong message that congressional ethics reform needs to be high on the agenda (and Pelosi has suggested that it will be.)

PatCA said...

I'm scared to death for the Iraqi people. Are we soon going to "deploy"?

The Drill SGT said...

Well, the Dems still seem to have a lower tolerance for ethics problems. Two that come to mind are Alan Mollohan, who till recently was the ranking Dem member of the House Ethics committee.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/14/AR2006051401032.html

and Hastings. Impeached by a Dem House for bribery and corruption (Pelosi voting to impeach) and convicted by a Dem Senate, that failed to place this text in the charges (Article 1 of the Constitution)
removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States He now is going to get a key chairmanship from Pelosi.

Bo Steed said...

Professor Althouse: I would take a break from politics if I were you. Just don't sweat it. Work on a sketch, or perhaps read some
Graham Greene. Me? I'm going to play some high stakes poker.

Food for thought: in one important sense, this election could be another 1858. From the ashes of defeat might rise a great Presidential candidate for 2008.

Would anybody care to venture a guess as to whom I might be referring?

amba said...

Humility becomes the president. He sounded like a whole different guy!

Maybe this loss has liberated him, as well as Rush Limbaugh??

vw: hepuhmn

(hep human?)

Jim said...

I would have hoped that the newly elected Dems would move the House and Senate from Conservative to Libertarian, but I fear, from plugging in their likely answers to the World's Shortest Political Quiz, that the move will be more toward Statism.

Icepick said...

Sarge, you forgot about John Murtha's ethical problems with bribery. Abscam seems like so long ago.

Doyle said...

Oh man is this sweet. This is what This is exactly what I expected the aftermath to look like over here.

Althouse playing it off like she's totally, like, above partisan politics, and her hardcore wingnut flock weeping for the safety of the Iraqi people.

That the "Blue Dog" meme shows up too is of course a given. Stealth Republicans who really only have a tiptoe in the nasty vat of liberal ideology? Whatever makes this process less painful for you all, I guess. It gets a pretty good debunking here, though, if you're up to it.

Watching George Allen's political career end in slow motion was just an added bonus.

dave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mcg said...

Yes, I think maybe it did liberate GWB, though of course in a different way for Rush. GWB is free now to pursue compromise areas where he disagreed with the hardcore conservative base. Rush, on the other hand, is free to advocate for conservatism even when his preferred party doesn't. He has explicitly said in the past that he refused to help the Democrats tear down the Republican party by putting full force behind his criticisms of the latter. In other words, Rush is now free to compromise less, not more.

Doyle said...

I share dave's point about how dangerous the Republicans were... just in case it gets deleted or something.

mcg said...

Go stick an awl where the sun don't shine, Dave.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Thanks to Doyle and dave for reminding us that there are some things no election can change.

Alan said...

P. D. "Bo" Steed,

"Me? I'm going to play some high stakes poker."

If you run into Bill Bennet tell him he's mistaken...it wasn't the evangelicals who won on Tuesday.

Doyle said...

mcg -

I love how now Rush listeners just sort of understand that he had been just "carrying water" for the Republican party. Now that they've gotten their teeth kicked in, he's "more free" to compromise, instead of having been revealed as a disingenuous shill.

mcg said...

Huh? First, I said he could now compromise less, not more. And second, how does it make his shillery "disingenuous" if he 1) explicitly states that's what he's doing; and 2) still criticizes them anyway (immigration, Medicare, spending, etc. etc.)?

But hey, you keep listening every day, so you can be sure to know exactly what it is he's actually saying, instead of what you think someone else might have blogged about him saying at some point.

Internet Ronin said...

Bo: Harold T. Ford, Jr.

Slac said...

Food for thought: in one important sense, this election could be another 1858. From the ashes of defeat might rise a great Presidential candidate for 2008.

Would anybody care to venture a guess as to whom I might be referring


Secretary Rice? :D

Ann, did you ever see that interview she did with Cavuto just before the elections? Here's a transcript:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0611/S00115.htm

He asks her about a presidential run toward the end. She uses stronger language to say that she has no intention to run. But, maybe the door is open a little bit. A teeny tiny bit?

Alan said...

Rush hasn't been carrying the water for the GOP...he's been carrying it for the religious right. They are his base. Sadly, the current GOP thinks his base is their base. And that's one of the reasons they're now in the minority.

Goatwhacker said...

Was today the day we're supposed to wear brown shirts and crap our pants?

Internet Ronin said...

Eli: Earnestly hope you are right. (Doubt you are, though.)

dave: Your messages are always so delightfully insightful that further conversation seems pointless.

Doyle: Partisan hack that you are, I am tempted to ask if you missed the recent memo from party HQ about post-election behavior, but then I remembered reading comprehension never was your strong suit.

Garage Mahal said...

I assume the Democrats will shape up and live up to their responsibilities,

If you mean start voting like Democrats, instead of Republicans, I couldn't agree more.

Doyle said...

So Rush's listeners accept that he will, as necessary, say things he doesn't believe for the benefit of one interest group or another?

I would find that frustrating, were I a devoted listener. But I just listen to clips when he makes a fool out of himself, as I thought he did yesterday. I guess his audience is plenty used to being lied to.

OddD said...

What I honestly am bewildered by is the fact that the guys who won are still so incredibly pissed off. No magnanimity in victory whatsoever.

It lends a lot of credence to the idea that a lot of folks on the left have turned a decision about two marginally different parties into a Battle of Good and Evil.

I always thought that was far-right territory.

Doyle said...

I am tempted to ask if you missed the recent memo from party HQ about post-election behavior

If it said anything about being gracious, I missed it, or willfully didn't register it because I found it inconvenient.

Internet Ronin said...

alan - that seems to be a very fair statement to me (even if simply repeating the obvious), although I think many would disagree with you (and me).

kettle said...

I don't know if the democrats will manage to do anything useful in the end, but I think that change, and its possibilities is a good thing.

mcg said...

So Rush's listeners accept that he will, as necessary, say things he doesn't believe for the benefit of one interest group or another?

What exactly did he say that he doesn't believe? What he copped to was going easier on the Republicans than he could have been. There is a difference, you know. Or do you mean that it is somehow *gasp* a revelation that he is a partisan?

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Doyle said...

As I understand it, the liberal movement in the 60s was substantially different from the Democratic party today. Webb was a military guy, and probably took a lot of abuse from dirty hippies or whatever. I don't condemn him for having been on the wrong team earlier in his life. He's been an outspoken critic of the Iraq War all along, and sort of an economic populist (if not quite as much as say Sherrod Brown).

Plus, he's not a Bush-following faux-Confederate good old boy with a fondness for racial slurs.

Mr. Forward said...

I blame Diebold.

stephenb said...

Perhaps you could reflect on your feelings about the election and then impart your wisdom to us in a podcast this Sunday evening.

Just a thought from a poor old soul down here in Tennessee whose drives to school just haven't been the same these last few weeks (since the last podcast [nude-nudge-wink-wink]).

Justin said...

Dave oddly sums the up the response of any sane man. If you think the Democrats could possibly be more dangerous than the people in charge, you either are too dumb for words or have not been paying attention.

J. Peden said...

Maybe this loss has liberated him [Bush], as well as Rush Limbaugh??
amba

Right. Flibs do have a problem with anyone being liberated, don't they?

altoids1306 said...

I think the Republican attitude towards electoral defeat compares favorably to Democratic defeat, and that this is not lost on the American people.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
downtownlad said...

As if Bush is really going to partner with the Democrats. He doesn't know how.

This Democratic rout was so easy to predict. Only those with blinders on failed to see it coming.

You can't keep kicking people out of the party for not being "pure" enough and then act shocked when you're suddenly in the minority.

The 2008 election season has already started. Bush is a lame duck. Anyone who thinks Bush is suddenly going to pull a 1994 Clinton and start acting bipartisan doesn't know jack about how the real world works. Bush has 2 years left in his term, not 6.

Anonymous said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
As for Bush, it may do him good to work with Democrats. It will bring out something new in him, and I think that so far he's handled himself rather well.

I'd also say the same about Nancy Perlosi, apart from the nausea-inducing brain-fart about taking up the gavel 'for the children' she's done a fairly good job of hosing down the Kossack base and colleagues I'm sure are itching to deliver twelve years of payback. It 's also going to be good for the Democrats to be put in a position where they're going to have to (finally) articulate what they're for rather than what they're against. They don't have the cover of the eeevil Republicans running everything... You can get away with being *ahem* strategically ambiguous on the campaign trail, but I suspect the electorate isn't going to look too kindly if the next Congress over-reach their rather limited mandate, or the leadership alienate their own moderate wing by pandering to the Kossaks. (Of the 28 seats Democrats picked up in the House, 22 were won by 2 points or less, and 18 were won by 5,000 votes or less. A win is a win, but no grounds for complacency. Especially when bogeymen like Bush, Santorum etc. are out of power, and not around to run against. And many of them weren't won by Perlosi liberals, but Blue Dog Democrats who would give The Governator or your average New Englander a stroke.)

Doyle said...

I wish Dave wouldn't be quite so personal, but Ms. Althouse is pretty infuriating when she puts her Independent/Disillusioned Democrat hat on.

For one thing, it's not as though the Dems have had any real power in government recently, so it's not as though they've "done" anything to lose her.

Second, supporting George Bush's foreign policy (including the illegal domestic aspects) is an increasingly radical position, and to cite opposition to it as the apparently sole reason she "can't support" Democrats anymore is bizarre.

Doyle said...

And many of them weren't won by Perlosi liberals, but Blue Dog Democrats who would give The Governator or your average New Englander a stroke.)

Name them.

Maxine Weiss said...

Ethics problems? You want Ethics problems?

Consider that the USA will now be totally beholden, and run by the AFL-CIO (ie..Mafia).

Labor Unions make the big Oil Companies look like Mickey Mouse!

That, and we are now headed towards Socialized Medicine...because it's working so well in the U.K, right?

Unless we die first once the Dems trash the Patriot Act.

Won't much matter what the Dems do then.

... but Ann's not "alarmed" in the least.

Ok, if you say so.

Peace, Maxine

Joe Baby said...

1. This article says that 9 of the 30 new Dems have already joined the Blue Dog Coalition. And they'll likely feel entitled to some of the credit for Nancy's promotion.

2. Q.: Is Ann entitled to her own opinion on her own blog? Or should she check first with the Politburo?

mcg said...

Wow, Doyle, so you do understand what Rush was talking about. You're actually better at this shill stuff than he is. More than willing to carry the water of Blue Dog dems as long as they agree with you on one all-important issue. Nevermind that they're pro-life, pro-gun, whatever.

A Menken Moment said...

Ann,

Perhaps it is a sign of your success that some truly vile creatures are making a litterbox of your comments section. While the partisan comments of downtownman may not match the opinions of the majority here, they stand comfortably within the realm of civil discourse. Doyle and Dave, on the other hand, are foul and nasty creatures and have become too frequent.

It is one thing to say the Republicans deserved to lose because their policies where evil/whacko/misguided. It is another to cackle like a demented chicken. And it is quite another to launch insults against you personally and to make a fetish of the f-word.

Other bloggers, both on the left and on the right, have put up troll screens of one sort or another. I suggest the time has come for you to do the same.

Doyle said...

Well the Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility and national security, and "Blue Dog" sounds cool, but... well, whatever. Fine, the liberals are going to have a hell of a time come January. I withdraw my request for names beyond Shuler (who is big on the environment, I understand).

As for Ann being free to express her opinions on her own blog, of course! They're just so often maddeningly, nay dangerously wrong (see: NYT op-ed on NSA wiretapping), it would be a mistake to let her go unheckled.

Maxine Weiss said...

Don't worry Menken, once the Patriot act is trashed and the Dems invite the Jihadists to put all Americans under Martial Law....it won't much matter who Ann's commenters are.

Then, again I'm so crazy I see Black Helicopters coming out the sky whenever I look up, right?

Peace, Maxine

A Menken Moment said...

Maxine,

I am trying to parse your comment for a sequitor, but all I can find is non.

And, just in case it might have escaped you, only the dead know the end to war that you call "peace."

Doyle said...

Maxine -

It's not martial law we're after, it's Sharia! What could be better for the debt-laden middle class than the abolition of interest?

It sells itself in '08.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"Althouse is pretty infuriating when she puts her Independent/Disillusioned Democrat hat on ... it's not as though the Dems have had any real power in government recently, so it's not as though they've "done" anything to lose her."

Well hold on a second there, fella. It doesn't make much sense to say that a party can only do something to lose its supporters when it's in power. Even an opposition party without but a single lever of government to call their own can still do things to lose former supporters. I know it's hard for you to imagine how anyone could disagree with the Democrats on foreign policy, but you can surely see that if the Democrats are saying "this is what we think about foreign policy," it is perfectly possible for someone who supported them previously to say "no way,you've got to be kidding me, this is an incredibly, totally stupid policy, I completely disagree with it, and you're losing my support over it"? American political parties are coalitions of ideas, and people can leave a party just as much because they've parted ways over ideas as because they've parted way over actions. If Ann thinks that the Democrats' vision of foreign policy is catastrophic for America, she surely doesn't have to wait to be proven right before saying that she's not supporting them on that issue any more.


"to cite opposition to [Bush's foreign policy] as the apparently sole reason she 'can't support' Democrats anymore is bizarre."

I don't think her overwhelming commitment to Bush's foreign policy is the reason that Ann "can't support" Democrats any more. Even assuming, arguendo, that foreign policy is the only issue in play, I don't think Ann's argument is "isn't George Bush's foreign policy just dreamy," it's that "well, it's certainly better than what the Democrats are proposing." You can't beat somebody with nobody, and the fact is, that if you've got a choice between the Bush foreign policy and the Democrats' foreign policy, you vote much the same way as you would if you have a choice between eternal damnation and the land of milk and honey - like pooh bear doing a "got milk" commercial!

downtownlad said...

While the partisan comments of downtownman may not match the opinions of the majority here, they stand comfortably within the realm of civil discourse.

Don't you ever, ever, EVER call me civil. I have a reputation to uphold.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"Well the Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility"

Wow! I missed that announcement from Pelosi HQ. So the plans to expand entitlement spending and raise taxes (including the minimum wage, which is basically a tax on business) are out the window, then?

Fiscal responsibility means cutting spending, and keeping taxes minimal. Democrats got some mileage this election by talking about balancing the budget, but the reality is, they aren't going to balance the budget (an act which requires cutting spending, dramatically), they're going to raise taxes. Which will balance the budget right before it unbalances the budget, because of the inevitable economic contraction.

downtownlad said...

Simon - It's hard to get more fiscally irresponsible than the last Republican Congress. It was the worst since Lyndon B. Johnson, i.e. worse than Clinton from 1992-1994, worse from Jimmy Carter from 1976-1980.

So yes - I expect a substantial improvement on fiscal responsibility.

These are facts. Deal with them as they are, not as you "want" them to be.

downtownlad said...

Which will balance the budget right before it unbalances the budget, because of the inevitable economic contraction.

Oh - you mean like what happened after Clinton raised taxes? Yes - the incredible "economic contraction" of the 1990's. We all remember that. And the rising deficits of the 1990's. We all remember that too.

Not.

These are facts. Deal with them as they are, not as you "want" them to be.

Doyle said...

If Ann has identified a cohesive Democratic foreign policy, she needs to tell them what it is pronto.

As I understand it, it basically amounts to enjoying global military hegemony while engaging in fewer unjustified wars that also weaken our security, and bringing the one Bush started to a swift conclusion.

A Menken Moment said...

Well, downtownman, although I stand beside those who believe the Absolute exists, I'll grant you that my comment was a comparison and therefore could be interpreted as a manifestation of relativism.

But certes, if it will sooth you, I shall never again place your name and 'civil' together in the same sentence!

downtownlad said...

Doyle - Who cares of Ann supports the war? It's not like she pretends not to.

And she's made it quite clear that she supports politicians who want to win the war, even if she disagrees with them on most of the other issues. The war is the deal breaker for her.

That doesn't make her a Republican. It makes her a Scoop Jackson Democrat. Unfortunately, there aren't many Scoop Jackson Democrats left, which doesn't give her many options when it comes to voting.

Ann is very upfront with her views, and I think she's clearly a moderate. Heck - she tolerates me.

Doyle said...

Ann is very upfront with her views

Look at the title of this post!

Simon said...

DTL,
To some extent, I disagree. The last Congress added a lot of pork to the bill, but pork is -- to some extent, although obviously interest on the federal debt complicates the picture -- one-of spending. It's entitlement spending that's the big, underlying problem, and so the 108th Congress beats out the 109th on Medicare Part D alone.

Will the democrats be even worse? Sure they will. Unless they really are joking about raising taxes and yet more entitlement spending in the form of a new prescription drug benefit, they will, by definition, be more fiscally irresponsible than was the 109th. Which is in no way to defend the 109th Congress, and -- as I've said repeatedly -- I'm fine with losing the House as a way of punishing them for that irresponsibility. But are the Dems going to be worse? Sure they are. It isn't just about pork. If it were, though, I'd agree with you.

Maxine Weiss said...

Doyle you're being manipulated.

This is a ploy.

Ann is a scheming conniver.

Peace, Maxine

A Menken Moment said...

Doyle,

A question, just for clarification.

Do you know what downtownlad is talking about when he says "Scoop Jackson Democrat"?

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"If Ann has identified a cohesive Democratic foreign policy, she needs to tell them what it is pronto."

Well, the more that one believes that to be true, the less it helps your case, IMO. We are, for better or worse, under attack by Al Queda and its associates; like it or not, that didn't begin when George Bush took office, and it won't end when he leaves or if the Democrats really do wave the white flag in Iraq and pull out the troops. That being the case, something always beats nothing, and so if there is no cohesive Democratic foreign policy, then that's a strike against them if national security is a big issue for you. Somebody always beats nobody, and a bad plan always beats a catastrophic plan. What the Democrats are offering is somewhere between a bad plan and no plan at all, and that just doesn't suffice.

downtownlad said...

I'm not talking about pork Simon. I'm talking about total spending. I don't care if you talk about just non-discretionary spending, or the whole enchilada (war, medicare, etc.) Spending has risen more under Bush than it has under any President since Lyndon Johnson.

Don't believe me. Believe the Cato institute, hardly a mouthpiece of the Democratic party.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3750

Spending will improve dramatically under this new Congress.

J. Peden said...

altoids1306 said...
"I think the Republican attitude towards electoral defeat compares favorably to Democratic defeat, and that this is not lost on the American people."

You wish, and you project. You have also fallen prey to the repercussions of the et tu quoque fallacy. Good job.

Take some more altoids. They do enhance male potency, after all.

PatCA said...

I always wonder...What is it with people on Dave/Doyle's side, who become obsessed with what a person here and there thinks about THEIR ISSUES? If you don't like Ann's point of view, why do you keep coming here?

Oh, and as to the Iraqi people, pardon my offensive concern--let's just close Iraq off and let them do their dying off camera, as they did before the invasion, and we can get back to enjoying life.

A Menken Moment said...

downtownlad,

I agree with your assessment about spending under Bush (which is why authentic limited-govermnet conservatives/libertarians were never all that comfortable with him), but I must ask, civilly, of course, how you can support your last sentence that implies the the Democrats wouldn't try to spend even more.

downtownlad said...

The Democrats are now the party of fiscal discipline. I believe they learned that from Treasury Secretary Rubin. I don't see the Democrats advocating massive new programs anymore. Maybe making college loans tax deductable, but that is piddly. No different than Bush subsidizing high school students who promise to refrain from masturbation, or whatever theocratic program he's babbling about today.

And with a Democratic Congress and a Republican President I expect pure gridlock. Maybe Bush will even learn to use his veto pen. And then if we're lucky we'll get spending growth of 3% a year.

J. Peden said...

Maxine, Rita Hayworth went bonkers when she was about 50. Are you trying to tell us something?

Maxine Weiss said...

...But she had good hair, at least.

Peace, Maxine

Doyle said...

The president is responsible for military strategy, not Congress.

The plan to invade in Iraq in the first place was catastrophic.

That there is no "good plan" in Iraq is not the Democrats' fault.

The people who still insist Iraq was a good idea have no credibility.

There will be no triumphant victory in Iraq, no matter how badly we might want one. It's just a question of minimizing the damage to our citizens and, to a lesser extent, those in other countries.

Democrats are more inclined to do this because they have no vested interest in delaying the final judgment on the operation.

Fortunately, neither does the new Secretary of Defense.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I do not like Doyle but his team won so he is entitled to gloat. And at least he seems happy about the victory.

Little "D" Dave, however, is still very angry. Little "D" Dave, why are you so angry? You won. Enjoy it. Don't be so angry. If you continue to be so angry, you will make me angry. Don't make me angry, Little "D" Dave. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Jonah Goldberg mentioned something on the Corner that I have been wondering about. It is perhaps the biggest mystery of this Most Historic Election In History: Why didn't the Republicans steal it? They stole 2000, they stole 2004. Why not this one? (Did they steal 2002? I don't remember.)

What is the meaning of this??? Do they only steal presidential elections? Is that easier or something? Is it possible that they did in fact steal it, but the Democrats stole it back, or pulled a switcheroo, so the Republicans thought they stole it, but stole a fake election instead, while the real election was safely hidden in some Democratic operative's briefcase?

It is all so weird and confusing, like Japanese television!

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"I'm not talking about pork Simon. I'm talking about total spending. I don't care if you talk about just non-discretionary spending, or the whole enchilada (war, medicare, etc.) Spending has risen more under Bush than it has under any President since Lyndon Johnson."

All true, but none of which means that Democrats are now the party of fiscal responsibility. I pointed out in an earlier thread, and I think this is right, the only thing that the Democrats are upset about is WHAT the money's being spent on. If it were going to abortion clinics, they'd be all for it. The fact is, if the Democrats were the party of fiscal responsibility, why have they been opposing tax cuts? Why do they want to stand pat on social security (and, in an ultimate feat of irony, call a policy that a fifth grader with a reasonable grasp of math could tell you will be a total disaster "saving social security)? Why was their major problem with Medicare Part D that it didn't go far enough? This simply isn't a party that can be taken seriously on spending, and just saying "well, the Republicans haven't been any better in the last couple of years" doesn't change that.

In short -- the problem with your argument is that the best way to sum up everything that has been wrong with the Republican approach to spending in the last six years is that they've been acting like Democrats. That says it all, I think.

A Menken Moment said...

Yes, downtownlad, Rubin was a salutary influence, but I wonder just how fiscally restrained the Democrats would have been if it had not been for the pressure Newt Gingrich exerted after 1994.

I agree that deductions are not a problem, but; if they act from their history, Democrats will advocate higher taxes and transfers, not tax decuctions. Perhaps you have more insight into Pelosi's thinking than I (although I happen to reside in the House district just north of hers), but I simply cannot share your confidence.

Aye to the gridlock--if Bush finally grows a pair and does not shy from the veto pen. Gridlock worked very well (from my quasi libertarian perspective) here in California when Deukmajian was governer confronting a Dem assembly and state senate. He vetoed their lusty projects for spending, and he could do so becuause he had no pet projects of his own and so did not have to make the usual deals. ... Bush, on the other hand? We'll see.

downtownlad said...

The fact is, if the Democrats were the party of fiscal responsibility, why have they been opposing tax cuts?

You're joking right? They oppose tax cuts, because they wanted to balance the books, which is a hallmark FOR fiscal responsibility, not AGAINST it.

Look - I'm all in favor of tax cuts. As long as they correspond with spending cuts. But if you're going to keep spending high, then no - I don't favor tax cuts.

Maxine Weiss said...

downtownlad: Are you Bill Maher?

Do you date Black chicks?

I've got bronzer.

Love, Maxine

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"[Democrats] oppose tax cuts, because they wanted to balance the books, which is a hallmark FOR fiscal responsibility, not AGAINST it."

You could arguably balance the books by raising taxes if you assume that raising taxes has no impact on anything else in the economy. That is, if you assume that all else will remain equal if you change any one element, and that simplyisn't the case. Cutting taxes has raised receipts. Raising taxes will damage the economy and reduce receipts. You're absolutely right that you have to cut spending too, but that doesn't mean that the problem was the success of the tax cuts, it means that the problem was the failure to cut spending!!!

Mark said...

Ann wrote: "As for Bush, it may do him good to work with Democrats. It will bring out something new in him, and I think that so far he's handled himself rather well."

Bush is actually not a conservative, but a right-leaning liberal. His amnesty for illegals, scorn for fences, increased federalization of education, increased medicare drug spending, willingness to reauthorize the assault weapons ban - the guy is no right-wing conservative. Plus I think there's nothing he likes quite so much as a good slap on the back, yuck-it-up session with a political opponent. Makes him feel magnanimous. Picture of all his hugs and stuff with Democrats at the State of the Union addresses, for example. So I wouldn't be surprised if Bush was actually looking forward to signing a lot of Democratic bills even if they are entirely contrary to Republican principles or even (as in the case of amnesty) contrary to what the majority of Republicans (and Americans) want. Doing so will make him feel like he's a real magnanimous charmer. In some ways he's Clintonian in his desire to be liked.

I think Republicans will be shocked at how much he will concede to the Democrats now, especially considering that he's a lame duck and doesn't have to do anything to please anyone if he doesn't want to. He is free to act just the way he wants to...which will be to try to charm the Democrats by signing their bills.

So when Ann says it will "bring out something new in him" I disagree. It's always been there - he just hasn't dealt with a Democratic party that controlled both houses before. If he had, he would have been caving to them long ago just like he caved to Ted Kennedy in his first term and gave Kennedy the huge education bill he wanted.

Doyle said...

What would the GOP do without Art Laffer?

Without him, Republicans would never be able to argue with a straight face that, in seemingly all cases, there is an inverse relationship between tax rates and tax receipts.

Seven Machos said...

Well, Doyle et. al. nauseum, the Laffer Curve is pretty easy to understand and completely irrefutable. The only issue is where on the curved line optimal tax rates are. In an act of great munificence and altruism, I will grant that taxes cannot be continually lowered, that there is probably a range of taxation that is good depending on other variables in the economy, and that tazes, like interest rates, must be raised and not lowered some of the time.

You won, fellas. I offer the heartiest and most heartfelt congratulations. Why not take the high road, at least for a few weeks? Particularly in light of the fact that the party in power in Congress ought to have the votes to pass the laws it wants. Why not strive to be uniters and not dividers? I know that must sound crazy...

Seven Machos said...

Downtown Lad does not date black chicks.

Pogo said...

Doyle, your comment on Laffer reveals your usual ignorance of the topic at hand, bathed in that unwarranted and permanent sneer. You and dave have a established a particular pattern of foulmouthed caterwauling, preening and frothing about subjects well beyond your mastery.

Stunning to watch. But a word to the wise: steer clear of power tools. They don't suffer fools as gladly as the internets.

downtownlad said...

Cutting taxes has raised receipts. Raising taxes will damage the economy and reduce receipts. You're absolutely right that you have to cut spending too, but that doesn't mean that the problem was the success of the tax cuts, it means that the problem was the failure to cut spending!!!

You don't have to explain supply side economics to me. But I don't believe the falacy that cutting taxes 1%, will result in a tax RISE in revenues. I think it will result in a reduction of tax revenues by less than 1%, but it's not an inverse relationship and there is zero evidence that it is.

Please take a look at tax revenues as a percentage of the GDP. They are way lower than before the tax cut. Especailly tax revenues from individuals, which were the ones cut after all. Business revenues are higher, but people are forgetting that many of the R&D credits have expired, thus resulting in an increase in the amount of taxes that business pay.

And you're still ignoring the successful economy of the 1990's when taxes were hiked. A lot.

I prefer the Reagan approach over the Clinton approach, because I don't like paying taxes. But they were both successful. You can't reduce the economy to a sound bite. It's a little more complicated than that. There are many nuances involved.

A Menken Moment said...

Mark,

You may well be right. I never could understand where Bush's convictions lay; it just seemed that, empirically, I judged them to be the better choices than the Democrats'. And when I imply that Bush's convictions were incoherent, I do not intend to say that Kerry or any other prominent Democrat was either more coherent, or, if coherent, rational.

It has almost always been the case in democratic political discourse that the voter chooses not between the supreme good and the infernal ill, but between what seems the better course and the worse. The prudential choice reigns here, not the uncompromisingly moral, although morality should never be utterly dismissed in a society that wishes to call itself good (otherwise you get something like Hitler being originally voted in on a "democratic" ticket).

What is the good via American troops in Iraq? November's election could be interpreted to mean that it is not "stay the course" as President Bush would so define. But does is mean "withdraw all troops immediately"? I hope not, for such a result would mean to consign thousands of well-meainng, secular and pluralistic Iraqis to too-soon-to-come death; and that is not a responsible choice for us Americans.

Derve said...

That being the case, something always beats nothing.

I don't know...

"Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand." ~Lucas Jackson

Theo Boehm said...

I heard this morning on NPR that Europeans approve of the Democrats' win. It's nice to know our betters admit that every now and then the vulgar, violent, fat, stupid Americans do something not quite as idiotic as usual.

C'est bon, n'est-ce pas?

Seven Machos said...

Downtown Lad -- Have you ever tried the Google? Here. I got you a free subscription for the day...

Federal Deficit Shrinks on Stronger Tax Revenues

Morning Edition, July 11, 2006 · An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues has driven down the projected federal budget deficit this year. The White House says that the deficit will be about $296 billion, much less than the $423 billion predicted six months ago. Steve Inskeep talks with David Wessel of the The Wall Street Journal.


That's from your radical fringe Repke friends at NPR.

http://www.npr.org/templates/
story/story.php?storyId=5548032

A Menken Moment said...

Well, Theo, we might wonder why to defer to the Europeans at all; after all, they speak the vulgar, not the authentic: Quo licit Jovis, non licit bovis.

Anonymous said...

downtownlad wrote:
The Democrats are now the party of fiscal discipline.

In the same sense, that the hooker with crabs is a more agreeable companion that the one with syphilis. Some of might might prefer to stay away from the infectous prostitutes all together...

Abraham said...

Please take a look at tax revenues as a percentage of the GDP.

Why is that a sensible metric? Are the government's revenues less valuable simply because they are less of a slice of the GDP? Is it jealous of other revenue-earners?

Seven Machos said...

I think Downtown Lad is right that the Democrats are the party of fiscal discipline, even if it's far from perfect discipline. The Republicans are the party of lower taxes.

This is big problem for the Democrats, the Republicans, and the country.

A Menken Moment said...

Steven M.:

I don't know about the Democrats and fiscal responsibility. I'll grant to downtownlad and to anybody else that Bush has not been a paragon of fiscal restraint.

But I have been watching congressional action since about 1962, and in that time I have never, never witnessed a spontaneous intance of fiscal restraint from the Democrats (except for the draw-down in defense and intelligence spending after Papa Bush). Forgive me, therefore, if I remain sceptical.

Zeb Quinn said...

I haven't had the time to settle in and think about how I feel about the new political landscape.

Don't worry. There's no hurry. The sweet smell of gridlock is in the air. The Dems think they are in control, but they don't control jack. They don't have the numbers and Bush has the veto. It seems to me that it makes 2008 far more important than it has been up until now. At least now the Dems will have to articulate ideas, if they are capable of it.

Maxine Weiss said...

The Dems want to increase capital gains tax on dividends.

I know people who rely on capital gains interest to make their house payments, and Dems want to eliminate that.

They want to increase bankruptcy fees, workers comp and insurance premiums which will instantly shut down small businesses.

Wake up everyone!

Peace, Maxine

A Menken Moment said...

Zeb,

You raise the issue that has preoccupied: Bush has the veto. The question is, will he exercise it?

I was thinkin' the other night on Andrew Jackson; and how he, a Democrat, vetoed so many ambitions of Clay's and the Whigs'. Will the incoming Democrats take a similar congressional role; and if they do, will Bush summon the adamantine resolve of Jackson? ...

Ah, we shall see.

Theo Boehm said...

Menken, Dihi boni!

Speaking of vulgar, perhaps we should continue the comments in Latin so that certain participants might leave off in bewilderment. Failing that, all would do well to meditate on the old polite words, absit injuria verbis.

Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.

Daryl Herbert said...

Some of might might prefer to stay away from the infectous prostitutes all together...

But then we'd never get laid!

(it's your metaphor)

TW: subteuet

Cedarford said...

PatCA said...
I'm scared to death for the Iraqi people. Are we soon going to "deploy"?


The noble, purple-fingered, freedom-loving Iraqi people have had three years to get their act together. 80% of the population hates us, 20% consider killing us a religious duty (Sunni Arabs), another 60% are content to sit by and watch us die(Shiites) instead of them sacrificing any blood or treasure for their upcoming Islamic state.

Even the Kurds, our only true allies, have a bit of a nasty history behind them in supporting other terrorist movements.

So I for one, don't care if Iraqis die instead of us, as Iraqis kill and destroy to create the sort of Iraq they want...
********************
Craig Ranapia - Of the 28 seats Democrats picked up in the House, 22 were won by 2 points or less, and 18 were won by 5,000 votes or less

And in 5 of the 6 undecided races, where Dems lead with margins of 1500 votes or less.

Imagine what would have happened if Bush had told the truth 3-4 weeks ago and said that a change of course was coming and staff changes were coming.

Instead, 8 days before the election the incompetent fool was declaring his undying loyalty to Dear Rummy - (falsely) and once again placing his cronyism above Party or Country.

Any advantage gained from Kerry's snotty elitism was negated by Bush's making "we are winning in Iraq" the centerpiece of his campaigning and declaring Rummy had a guaranteed job to another 2 years (which the voters understandably took to mean - no changes to Iraq until a new President comes in in 2009.)

So Bush's campaign lie about Rumsfeld may have cost 15 House seats and 3 Senate ones.

Why did he do it?

I dunno..It's way, way into Harriet Miers land.

Bush isn't too unhappy, it seems. He knows his Presidency is already on oxygen and he may be the Jimmy Carter "worst recent President" replacement in historian's eyes, but he seems excited he can now get his Amnesty for illegal aliens and reunification with all their family members outside our Borders passed.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The Dems want to increase capital gains tax on dividends.

And once they've done that, the bastards will probably go on to increase the real estate tax on liquor.

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"Please take a look at tax revenues as a percentage of the GDP. They are way lower than before the tax cut. Especailly tax revenues from individuals, which were the ones cut after all."

Are you serious? DTL, if you lower tax rates, and tax revenues grow in real terms but shrink as a percentage of GDP, do you know what that's called? It's called successfull economic policy! It means that GDP has grown!

Are you sure that you don't need a quick refresher on supply-side economics? ;)

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe Baby said...

Simon,

A liberal never saw a tax policy he understood.

AZ voters just approved another tax increase on cigarettes AND restrictions on smoking in bars and restaurants.

Cigarette tax revenue had already dropped after the last big tax increase.

I'd like to make my prediction now as to which way revenues will go.

Even better: cig tax revenues are already spoken for. We'll have to dig up the shortfall from general revenue.

Simon said...

Joe,
That's true, and I think they also have an inbuilt tendancy to use that as a weapon against federalism. High taxes breeds tax avoidance, so if you have a state that levies a ludicrously high gas tax, and which abuts a state with lower taxes thereupon, people sufficiently close to the border will simply drive over the border and buy gas in the cheaper state. To a liberal, that's an argument against federalism, rather than for lower tax rates. Crazy.

Kirk Parker said...

dtl,

"As if Bush is really going to partner with the Democrats. He doesn't know how."

Nonsense. He did all the time in Texas. So what's changed? Same Bush, different Democrats--your call.

Abraham,

"Is [government] jealous of other revenue-earners?"

You really have to ask???

Derve said...

"As if Bush is really going to partner with the Democrats. He doesn't know how."

"Nonsense. He did all the time in Texas. So what's changed? Same Bush, different Democrats--your call."

--------------
In Texas, the state government is structured with a Lt. Gov. who is responsible for much of the bread-and-butter work. Gov. Bush's Lt. Gov. was a Democrat.

The governor's own position played to his strengths -- uniting or "selling" the action plan to the Texas people. Like the Kennedy's, the Bushes make good royalty, if you go in for that sort of thing. What seems to be missing is the pragmatic "co"-leadership that accompanies such a role.

"In the states of Mississippi and Texas, the Lieutenant Governor, elected separately from the Governor, presides over the State Senate, and by convention and legislative rule has a great deal more influence on legislation than the Governor. Thus, when a Lieutenant Governor of Texas becomes Governor, they assume a higher office, but lose some of their previous authority."

(Wikipedia -- Lt.Gov.)