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The_Professor

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Why the Republicans need to lose
« on: October 25, 2006, 12:06:51 AM »
Why the Republicans need to lose
Neither party would benefit by winning the election - and neither party deserves to, says Fortune's Cait Murphy.
By Cait Murphy, Fortune assistant managing editor
October 24 2006: 6:48 PM EDT


NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Power may be corrupting, but it is also addictive. That's why no party likes to lose an election. But the truth is that sometimes a loss is just what is needed to regain a sense of purpose and energy. And that's why the Republicans need to lose in November.

In 1974, for example, Britain's Conservative Party lost. Disillusioned Tory voters failed to turn out and more than a few, tired of the tired Edward Heath, decided what the hell, and voted Labor.

In the aftermath, small groups of Tories, both in and out of government, sat down and thought. In think tanks, and party clubs, through pamphlets and speeches and arguments and chats over tea, they set out to define what it meant to be a Conservative. The answers - lower taxation, rolling back the state from the private economy, a reassertion of British confidence - brought the Tories four straight wins.

Tired of losing, the Labor party eventually went through a similar rite of passage. The result was "New Labor," a term coined in 1994. The party jettisoned its socialist moorings and accepted the union legislation it had fought tooth and nail in the 1980s. New Labor emphasized fiscal prudence, competitiveness and integration with Europe, while reconnecting with core British values. One slogan that captures its essence: "tough on crime; tough on the causes of crime."

In the United States, there are similar examples. After getting killed in the 1974 mid-terms and losing the White House in 1976, Republicans took a look at the party and saw that, among other things, the GOP was failing to differentiate itself from the Democrats. (Remember, it was Nixon who introduced wage-and-price controls, the kind of economic interventionism more associated with the other guys.) Result: the Reagan Revolution.

And in 1994, after the loss of the White House, the Republicans unveiled the Contract with America. This was a list of 10 bills that a Republican Congress pledged to try to pass - ranging from things like a balanced budget amendment, to welfare reform, to tort reform, small business incentives and term limits.

Like it or not, the Contract (critics derided it as the "Contract on America") represented a set of ideas and principles. Faced with a coherent vision, voters went for it, giving the GOP one of the biggest mid-term jumps in history - 52 seats in the House, and nine in the Senate - more than the Democrats got after Watergate.

Losing the 2006 mid-terms could provide such a watershed moment for the GOP.

Time for change in the GOP
The Republicans are a tired party right now, in need of a good internal shake-up. The evidence for this is overwhelming. Take Congress - please.

According to a recent poll, only 16 percent of Americans approve of its performance. This, of course, is not entirely the GOP's fault; after all, there are lots of Democrats filling office space there, too. But fish rot from the head down. Leadership means accepting responsibility, and this is about as incompetent, dysfunctional and trivial a Congress as this proud nation has ever seen.

Or take the economy. Republicans have long argued for smaller government; they were supposed to be the stingy ones. Not any more, apparently.

According to estimates in a September research report by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank where almost everyone can be expected to vote Republican, federal spending has risen 45 percent during Bush's presidency, three times as fast as it did under Bill Clinton.

Almost half of the increase is in discretionary spending (not entitlements, a whole other issue the GOP has disdained to address in any sustained fashion). And no, Osama is not to blame. As the exasperated Heritage folks note, non-military spending has gone up by 44 percent. Gross ploys like earmarks (putting pet projects into non-related appropriations bills) have ballooned. Although the economy is doing okay, with growth and productivity stable, the GOP's grade on fiscal management is awful.

Iowa 'futures' show Republican weakness
Then there's trade; Republicans are supposed to be the free traders on the block, but it's hard to tell. The steel tariffs were a protectionist boondoggle by any measure; there is also the total lack of leadership to unstick the Doha round of world trade talks. Free trade agreements with, say, Jordan, don't add up to much compared to this.

What about defense, another traditional GOP emphasis? There's not much thinking here, either. Clearly, no rational person can look at Iraq and say that, yes, this is what we intended. In a larger sense, though, consider the following questions: What is national security? How do we support it? Is what we have now doing the job? Are there other ways? What is America's role in the world?

These are questions that the public has the right to expect a ruling party to answer, or at least wrestle with. That isn't happening. As for the lobbying/fundraising scandals, they reflect a culture more absorbed with staying in power than doing anything useful with it.

At bottom, the Republicans right now are a party that has no discernible sense of direction on any of the really important issues that face the country and the world. A whacking loss could be just the thing to get them thinking seriously again.

Defaulting to the Donkeys
Of course, the Democrats have swallowed regular doses of defeat without bothering with this kind of self-examination. One emblematic moment:

Congress Daily quoted Charles Rangel, the New Yorker who would head the Ways and Means Committee in a Democratic Congress, saying in late September he would consider tax increases across the spectrum. A few days later, Rangel retreated. It's too soon to discuss either increases or cuts, he told the New York Sun. Great - the head of the nation's tax-writing committee has no views on taxes. But then, no one else in his party does, either.

Democrats may well benefit politically from the mess in Iraq - but only by default, because the only discernible Democratic policy on the matter is to blame Bush for it. More troops? Fewer? A timetable for withdrawal? With conditions? Who knows?

On immigration, entitlement reform, military tribunals, education, the environment - the Democrats have been intellectually missing in action. (Hint: Bashing Wal-Mart (Charts) is not an economic policy and trashing Big Oil is not an environmental one.) If they take Congress in November, it will not be because they did the soul-searching Labor did in the '90s or the Republicans in the '70s. It will be because the public wants to spank Bush.

That might be enough to take the mid-terms. But the party will have to be more than not-Bush to win in 2008. And let's face it - the Democrats have not exactly been an idea factory.

In a sense, then, both parties could benefit by losing this election. And there is a certain justice to that, because both deserve to.


http://money.cnn.com/2006/10/23/news/economy/pluggedin_murphy_election.fortune/index.htm?cnn=yes

BT

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2006, 12:26:04 AM »
I guess this is a call for voters to vote based on their own self interests.


sirs

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2006, 01:15:47 AM »
Bleak House
Republicans deserve to lose, but what happens if Democrats win?

BY PETE DU PONT
Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Two weeks from tonight America is going to be different--first politically and then substantively--for Democrats will likely take control of the House, and move public policy in very liberal directions.

Major polling organizations--the Cook and Rothenberg Political Reports and Congressional Quarterly--have been estimating that the Democrats will make a 16- to 18-seat gain in the House, where they need just 15 to take control. But the number of projected Democratic victories may be climbing: Sunday's New York Times analysis--entitled "Hope on the Left"--projects a gain as large as 30 seats.

In the Senate the Democrats have a tougher task--they need to win six Republican seats to take control. A look at the eight closely contested races suggest that incumbent Republican George Allen in Virginia and Democrat Bob Menendez in New Jersey are likely to be re-elected, so the Democrats would have to win all six of the remaining seats. The polls show four likely gains--defeating Republicans Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, Lincoln Chaffee in Rhode Island, Conrad Burns in Montana, and Mike DeWine in Ohio. In the last two races Republican incumbent Jim Talent in Missouri seems likely to win a very close race and the open seat in Tennessee is too close to call.

If the Democrats do take the House, what changes might be made in America's public policies?

First, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has promised that election of a Democratic House would insure "a rollback of the [Bush] tax cuts."  Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who would be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, would make sure no tax cut extension bill would ever get to the floor. He voted against the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and the bill that later extended the tax cuts until 2010 (as did all but seven of the 205 Democratic House members). In September Mr. Rangel said that he "cannot think of one" Bush tax cut he would agree to renew.

Investors Business Daily recently pointed out that since the Bush tax cuts took effect in 2003, "the economy has added $1.26 trillion in real output, $14.4 trillion in net wealth and 5.8 million new jobs."  But that progress doesn't seem to matter to the liberals, whose primary goal is to raise income tax rates. "Taxing the rich" will be the leading economic argument of a 2007 Democratic House, and a rollback tax bill of some kind will reach the floor.

Second, President Bush will not be able to re-energize his effort for individually owned Social Security accounts, for "preventing the privatization of social security" is in the Democratic National Committee's "6-Point Plan for 2006." Democrats don't trust people to own or invest their own retirement funds--better to let a wise government do that, for as socialist Noam Chomsky says, "putting people in charge of their own assets breaks down the solidarity that comes from doing something together." And since Congress gets to spend Social Security tax receipts that aren't needed to pay benefits, letting people invest their payments in their own retirement accounts would be a costly revenue reduction that the new, bigger-spending Congress won't allow to happen.

"Reducing dependence on foreign oil" is a good Democratic goal, and there are a number of ways to accomplish it.
- Building more nuclear power plants is one.
- Offshore drilling for oil and natural gas is another.
- Oil reserves in the Outer Continental Shelf and Alaska could replace foreign oil imports for 25 years, and there is a known 19-year OCS supply of natural gas.

But liberal Democrats are opposed to all of these solutions. Hillary Clinton is opposed to the construction of nuclear plants and offshore drilling. Every Democratic senator on the Environment and Public Works Committee voted against allowing the building of new oil refineries on closed military bases. When the House voted 232-187 in June to allow and encourage OCS oil and natural-gas drilling, 155 of 195 Democrats voted to block it. The Democratic alternative is to eliminate the $18 billion the oil companies now get in various business tax deductions and thereby impose a higher income tax on them.

As for the war in Iraq, Mr. Rangel observed that "You've got to be able to pay for the war, don't you?" In other words, end it by simply defunding it. Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania calls for "immediate redeployment of U.S. troops" and intends to run for majority leader if the Democrats take control of the House. Ninety percent of House Democrats opposed the terrorist surveillance program, and 80% voted against the recent terrorist interrogation legislation.

Finally, when we see what the new leaders of a Democratic House are likely to do, their views are--well--very different from most Americans. Rep Henry Waxman of California would become the Government Reform Committee chairman, and believes domestic terrorist surveillance is "illegal." He would use his subpoena power to launch investigations to try and limit the president's anti-terrorism powers.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, who would become chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has talked about subpoenaing "Bush administration officials to answer questions and face the consequences for their abuses of power." In other words, impeachment.

Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has indicated she would like to put Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida in charge of the House Intelligence Committee. As a federal judge, he was impeached in the House by a 413-3 vote, and removed from the bench by the Senate for bribery, corruption, and perjury. Rep. Hastings would lead the oversight of America's antiterrorism policies.

Most Americans have not yet thought much about this agenda, or the leaders who will set it. But they are tired of the Republican congressional performance. The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows 16% of Americans approve of congressional performance while 75% disapprove.

No wonder:
- Republicans gave line-item veto power to the Democratic president in the 1990s, but refused to give it to the current Republican president.
- They haven't made the Bush tax cuts permanent.
- They wouldn't bring individual ownership of Social Security retirement accounts to a vote.
- They haven't done anything on health care.
- And they have raised federal spending by $750 billion since 2001 and for fiscal 2006 approved 10,000 earmarks costing $29 billion.


Conservative principles seem to have faded away, and ethical principles have weakened--names like DeLay, Ney, and Foley make the point.

It is possible President Bush and Karl Rove can stem the anti-Republican political tide. But more likely on Nov. 7 American voters will send the Congress a strong disapproval message by voting out the current Republican majority. In politics as in other jobs, there is a price to pay for poor performance.


http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pdupont/?id=110009141
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

larry

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2006, 01:40:37 AM »
According to a recent poll, only 16 percent of Americans approve of its performance. This, of course, is not entirely the GOP's fault; after all, there are lots of Democrats filling office space there, too. But fish rot from the head down. Leadership means accepting responsibility, and this is about as incompetent, dysfunctional and trivial a Congress as this proud nation has ever seen.

My take on this: What we need in America today is a voter strategy. The voters should place the senate and the congress under control of the Democrats. That will give the voters two years to identify the Democrats who are puppets for the Wall Street war machine. Those Dems need to go in 2008. The congress and the senate should not be a store front that is used for racketeering and money laundering. We need to put the war profiteers out of business and get our house back in order.

I agree, we cannot turn this around until we get the criminal elements out of both house. Once we achieve that, the war mongers and war profiteers of the Middle East will no longer have the (West Bank) funding their specious regimes. What we need in Washington, D.C. is honest representatives and less propaganda.



 

BT

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2006, 02:24:56 AM »
Quote
......honest representatives and less propaganda

Perhaps we should start from the bottom up. how about the voters.

larry

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2006, 10:42:40 AM »
Perhaps we should start from the bottom up. how about the voters.

The voters are victims of misinformation campaigns. That is why the voters need a voting strategy to get rid of the corporate hacks.

_JS

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2006, 12:56:06 PM »
Quote
In 1974, for example, Britain's Conservative Party lost. Disillusioned Tory voters failed to turn out and more than a few, tired of the tired Edward Heath, decided what the hell, and voted Labor.

In the aftermath, small groups of Tories, both in and out of government, sat down and thought. In think tanks, and party clubs, through pamphlets and speeches and arguments and chats over tea, they set out to define what it meant to be a Conservative. The answers - lower taxation, rolling back the state from the private economy, a reassertion of British confidence - brought the Tories four straight wins.

I love American media when they try to be profound. First, there were two elections in the United Kingdom in 1974. It wasn't so much that Tories were "disillusioned" as that Heath's policies failed miserably, especially his adversarial stance towards the unions. All that brought him were 3-day workweeks and numerous strikes. Heath's one nation Toryism was far from being destroyed by Thatcher's leadership and the moderate (or wet, as they are more commonly known) Tories lived to fight again.

OK. Americans always think that Thatcher brought lower taxation. She did cut the income taxes considerably, especially for the wealthiest bracket which saw a high of 93% under Labour. Yet, she did not reduce the overall tax burden so substantially. A famous quote of Thatcher was "this lady is not for turning" it meant that she was going to raise the VAT during the fiscal crises years of 1979, 1980, and 1981 to 15%. It was a substantial tax increase and notably hit the poorest the hardest. She also raised many other indirect taxes.

Interesting to note is that while the Tories did privatise much of the Government sector, the overall percentage of government expenditures as a ratio to GDP rose substantially under Thatcher. In fact, Thatcher and Blair have both been the only Prime Ministers to have over 40% public spending per GDP whereas the maligned Labour governments of Wislon and Callaghan were always in the mid 30's.

Quote
Tired of losing, the Labor party eventually went through a similar rite of passage. The result was "New Labor," a term coined in 1994. The party jettisoned its socialist moorings and accepted the union legislation it had fought tooth and nail in the 1980s. New Labor emphasized fiscal prudence, competitiveness and integration with Europe, while reconnecting with core British values. One slogan that captures its essence: "tough on crime; tough on the causes of crime."

Firstly, it is Labour. It is a proper name and odd of Fortune to use the Americanized version. The party "jettisoned its socialist moorings?" Perhaps Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did, but much of the party did not. Yes, the rewrote Clause IV, but I suggest you read what the revision says. I'd hardly say that it "jettisons socialism" as the first sentence of Clause IV Part 4 amply demonstrates otherwise. It wasn't so much that Labour accepted the union legislation as the unions accepted a new role in the 1990's. Yet, the unions of Britain are not weak. They are by far some of the most powerful unions in a Western democracy. While France gets on American television more, the British unions are arguably more powerful. I'd wager that they strike more often. For example, in 1991 there were 637 strikes in the UK. Publicly, Maggie fought with them. Privately she negotiated and they gave her headaches. Look at UNISON, TGWU, and some others. Excellent models of unionism for the United States. They aren't tied to organised crime or other ridiculous elements as the United States' unions came to be.

Apologies, but I found this section of the article to be less than adequate.

American parties won't ever reform along these lines. They are far too similar. Look at the Democrats right now, they have simply moved to the right some to take ground vacated by the Republicans who abandoned many of their moderates. There are many pro-life Democrats running. Yet, they all serve the same neo-liberal economic framework. Essentially there is very little difference in policies, save the Iraq War. Any major difference is more likely political image than reality.

If you want a parallel to Britain, watch as Labour support declines because of the war in Iraq. The Tories are making the same gains as the Democrats, though one is the party of the "right" and the other the party of the "left" (supposedly). Blair and Bush are sinking in the same boat of their own incompetence.

Cheering on the Republicans or Democrats is more of an exercise of cheering for one rival sports team over another. That's why the campaigns are so nasty and personal. There aren't enough differences in policy to highlight, so the only place to go is personal animosity. Again, its like a sports rivalry. Any other day you and Joe are good pals. But when your teams play, he is a certified dumb ass who attended the laziest, most useless university in the country.

 
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Plane

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2006, 01:57:13 PM »
Why haven't the Democrats used the time spent out of power to come up with new ideas and clean up their act?



If that is how it works , it must not happen every time.

_JS

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2006, 03:32:04 PM »
Quote
Why haven't the Democrats used the time spent out of power to come up with new ideas and clean up their act?

If that is how it works , it must not happen every time.

I thought I answered that well.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Plane

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Re: Why the Republicans need to lose
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2006, 03:42:48 PM »
Quote
Why haven't the Democrats used the time spent out of power to come up with new ideas and clean up their act?

If that is how it works , it must not happen every time.

I thought I answered that well.


You certainly stated it , but the underlying reason for the situation was not present.


I suspect that scientific polling reveals to political hacks what we want to hear , and this allows a politician to create a visage for himself that will gain votes whether it is anything like himself or not.


Since there is only one center on a bell curve , the partys are drawn to the center and take on an appearance of sameness .