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* There was a driving rain when I walked in to vote Tuesday morning, but I found a decent line for that hour, which made me hopeful that people are starting to get engaged again. More likely they aren’t so much engaged as enraged, which may work out to be the same thing.

* Some of you may recall that I made a list of predictions a few weeks ago, and that one was that the Democrats would gain control of both the House and Senate. As of this writing they have firm control of the House, and there’s a dead heat in the Senate, which means I’m batting about a .666. We all knew the devil was involved in this somehow, didn’t we?

I guess that means my predictions will be two thirds accurate, which means in 2013 some of New Jersey will be hit by part of an asteroid.

Following that logic, two thirds of New Orleans is going to sink, which should surprise no one.

Update – it looks like the Dems (Democrats, not demons) got both the House and the Senate, pending a possible recount. Get out of any place with the word “New” in the title, just in case.

* After twelve years of Republican control, there’s something to be said for the Democrats getting their shot at accomplishing something – anything – in the House. However, I’m not the only one cynically muttering that we just traded in one set of scoundrels for another.

* The idea of far-left wing liberal Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, hand-picking the people who will control -- among other things -- how much we’re taxed and what happens to that money, scares every vestige of crapola right out of me.

* However, the idea of a far-right wing conservative being in the same position is almost as frightening. Putting people so far out on either fringe in charge of the major committees in Congress is like making Adolf Hitler the minister of diversity. Whatever happened to the centrists in this country? For twenty bucks I’d write a short story about the moderates of America being shot up to exile on the Moon. (Note to self – talk to Editor about that.)

* According to Pelosi: "Democrats promise to work together in a bipartisan way for all Americans." Yeah, right. The Democrats have no more intention of being bipartisan than the Republicans did, which lays out the whole problem right there. What Pelosi likely said, when the camera weren’t on her, was, “We win! We get all the toys, and we won’t let them play!”

Which is probably just what the Republicans said in elections past.

* Other than being third in line for the Presidency, why is Speaker of the House important? Because the Speaker gets to choose committee chairmen, who in turn can hold up legislation in committee. The representatives we elect often never see proposed legislation; it dies in a committee of a few people. The same thing happens when the President makes appointments: they get tied up in speeches and filibusters, never get voted on, and the next thing you know it’s two years into a four year term and we still don’t have a minister of diversity. Debating is good, but shoving issues aside so nobody ever gets to decide them isn’t. If the Democrats are serious about making a change, give our Congressmen a vote – up or down. We’ll decide next election if we agree with their decision.

* Where was I? Oh, yes, Pelosi. She said, “From sea to shining sea, the American people voted for change”, which on a simple red/blue basis looks true enough.

But it’s not so simple.

On a nationwide basis victory can be declared, but not mandate: America is polarized to such a point that almost half of this country hates whoever’s in power at any given time. A good centrist candidate may change that, but don’t hold your breath. No, the margins aren’t big enough for anyone to claim some overwhelming edict.

* Certainly there was an overall dissatisfaction. In fact, while all politics is local, many politicians lost, this time around, not on their positions but on their affiliation. I still maintain that voters don’t usually pick county, municipal, and township offices by party, but this year may be the exception.

* Everyone’s talking about how wonderful the voter turnout was. It’s being held as almost miraculous that a full half of possible voters showed up in some Noble County precincts, a huge increase over normal.

Where the heck are the rest of them?

For many years, America has been run by the minority: the people who do go to the polls. You can argue that they’re the more knowledgeable of the electorate, but that doesn’t change the fact that the average person you hear complaining about politicians on the street didn’t bother to vote. Then they complain.

We may not always be able to choose who runs; but, if nothing else, we can darn sure keep throwing the older bums out, again and again, until they get the point. But we can’t do that without you, the guy in the stained t-shirt in front of the boob tube (these days that term’s probably literal).

* As much as we fuss about this whole election business, one thing the politicians continually forget is that we’re not there for them; they’re there for us. We want them to solve problems, or leave us alone so we can solve them – not make more. Give me a candidate who will consistently support that position, and he’ll get my vote every time.

* My overall prediction – and you might remember I also predicted this in my pre-election column: gridlock in Washington, for the next two years, followed by the election of a Democrat to the Presidency. The question of whether we’re better off with a government that accomplishes nothing remains open.


Nov. 9th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
far-left wing liberal
I love the way that you guys think any of your politicians are at all left-wing - to us they all look right wing - just some of them get fairly close to 'liberal' which in many European countries is centralist! It's another case of two countries divided by a common language.

Seriously, it only occured to me yesterday, which shows how slow on the uptake I can be, but it looks as if a lot of your really powerful people aren't actually elected democratically - the President can appoint people who aren't actually members of the Senate or the House of Reprsentatives to positions of power above both houses. And he can ignore the wishes of both those elected bodies. Is that really true? Doesn't that mean that you actually have an elected dictatorship? Or have I misundestood and the new Secretary for War/Defence is actually a Senator as I have always previously assumed?
Nov. 10th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
far left wing moderate?
The language barrier isn't just between countries. I always have and always will consider myself a moderate, but since I've been making on-line friends from across the country and world I've discovered I'm only moderate by Indiana standards -- and Indiana is a very conservative state. If you put me down in, say, the northeast, or the west coast, I've be seen as extremely conservative by their standards -- and by yours, apparently! On the other hand, one of my newspaper's subscribers canceled his subscription a few months ago because he claimed the paper, including me, were too liberal. I found that one to be a shocker.

The President -- and mind you, in general I'm a Bush supporter -- has been overstepping his Constitutional bounds, and hasn't been called on it by Congress. No one he appoints can do anything without the President's say-so, and most things the President does can be overruled by a majority vote in Congress. They just haven't been doing it, which is likely about to change. Also, the Congress votes on whether to approve anyone the President appoints.

On the other hand, almost anything the Congress does can be vetoed by the President, and only overriden by a very large portion of the Congressmen. Meanwhile, the President appoints members of our third branch, the Supreme Court, and the Congress approves them (or doesn't).

So the system of checks and balances works well in theory, unless a major party gets control of both the Presidency and both branches of Congress, which is what happened under the Bush administration. Bush (and remember, I like the guy), is extremely stubborn and convinced he's doing the right thing, which is why I see no compromise in the next two years -- thus, our government will grind to a halt. What it all boils down to is that we need to bring the art of compromise back into our government.
Nov. 10th, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC)
Re: far left wing moderate?
To an European and generally speaking American parties are "That right wing one." and "The even more to the right wing one."

OTOH, over here a liberal party is usually a capitalistic liberal party, AKA, right wing. :)
Nov. 13th, 2006 11:09 am (UTC)
Re: far left wing moderate?
I think "capitalistic" would be one good description for our Republican party, which is right wing. The Democrats here would be left wing, and the far left wing of *their* party would probably be termed socialist, although they'd deny it.

The idea that there are people in the world more left wing than Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi or Hilary Clinton is a concept I just can't wrap my mind around.
Nov. 13th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: far left wing moderate?
I don't really know enough about them to be able to comment in a significative way, but I'd guess that by my own standards they're not that left wing at all, at least not in regards to some subjects.

Over here, the two main centrist parties, the ones that usually compete for government, have Socialist in the name of the party. One is more left wing, the other is more right wing, but they're both, pretty much, socialist. Socialist is far from a bad name over here.
Nov. 14th, 2006 07:31 am (UTC)
Re: far left wing moderate?
I get the feeling that it's not so much that our thinking or political views are that far apart, but rather our terminology that's different. Someone once said that America and the British Empire were nations divided by a common language ...
Nov. 14th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC)
Re: far left wing moderate?
Things are similar enough to lull you into thinking it's all pretty much the same but then a detail comes out of left field and whacks you in the head.

At least that's been my experience. Like walking in Indianapolis a couple of years ago and getting gobsmacked at seeing a teenager behind the wheel of a car. :)

P.S. :)

I'm not sure if you're assuming I'm from the UK. I'm not.
Nov. 15th, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
but now that I've checked your LJ ...
Actually, the only thing I knew was that you were from Europe, but subconsciously I probably was thinking you were from the U.K. I get fooled because so many people in non-English speaking countries speak English so much better than Americans do. I have a writer friend in Malaysia who I assumed lived here in America, until she told me otherwise.

Now that I'm older, seeing teenagers behind the wheel of a car rather gobsmacks me, too -- especially *my* teenagers. Eighty percent of them should NOT be driving. But other than that, how did you like Indiana?
Nov. 15th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
Re: but now that I've checked your LJ ...
I liked Indianapolis fine, at least the little I saw of it, mainly the Convention Center and places close by. :)

Indiana at large, well, didn't see almost anything, having arrived late at night, and highway isn't exactly the best way to experience a place. :)
Nov. 16th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
Re: but now that I've checked your LJ ...
No, the view from a highway tells you nothing about an area. Actually, Indianapolis would tell you nothing about the rest of the state, either; the Capital is Big City, and the rest of Indiana is very much Small Town.

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