Sunday, November 02, 2008

Some Predictions, Part 3: Misc

Other Predictions:
  1. The Senate: I have no idea if the Democrats will get 60 seats, but as I've said before, it really shouldn't matter. According to the Wiki, the idea that it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster (or call for cloture, or whatever) is a recent invention. The filibuster itself is kinda disgusting and a constitutional loophole at best. I would strongly argue, and do so no matter who controls congress, that both houses should have a simple majority vote for passing bills. It's disgraceful that we need 60. So anyway, I think that if the Democrats have 55 seats, the cloture rules can be changed to meet that, or eliminated by simple majority, if necessary.

  2. Bush administration officials: Bush will give a blanket pardon to everyone in the White House (except the 'traitors' like McClellan, Powell, etc). My question is whether this can work. I would love to see a constitutional amendment preventing the President from pardoning anyone whose crime was committed while working for the Executive branch. As it is, since most of these yahoos haven't been formally charged yet, so I don't know. His father pardoned a number of straight out scumbags - far worse than anyone by Clinton - but that's the way the press goes; Bill Clinton could do no right, and HWBush got off Scot-free. So I don't know if the pardons will stick. If not, then we can see some wild and woolly persecutions of the former George W Bush white house. And given that he can't pardon himself, well maybe Bush will find some nice prisoner as a new husband.

  3. McCain's fate: How ironic that a man considered to be principled by so many people has run the most despicable campaign in recent memory. Note, Nixon was worse, but only in the dirty tricks department (and who knows what McCain has been trying: it seems clear that Ashley "Backwards B" Todd was a dirty trick run awry and that Joe/Sam the (non) Plumber was probably another McCain plant, but there may be more we haven't discovered yet). What makes McCain worse than Nixon is that all the other slimy accusations made by a one party to other was always done via surrogates; Willie Horton, Swift Boats for Crap, were 527s and untraceable to the campaign. McCain & Palin in 2008 have actually been the mouthpieces for the racist/scummy tactics. That's a big difference. At least GHWB and GWB kept their own dainty fingers out of the mud. Anyway, it may be difficult for McCain to return to the Senate. He may pull a Dole and retire but if not, as I said here, if he tries to run for reelection in 2010 it's likely he'll lose. Same with Palin (see below).

  4. Sarah Palin's fate? I saw the suggestion that if Stevens wins reelection in Alaska, and will be convicted, and not pardoned by Bush, Palin will try for his Senate seat. Maybe. But considering how much she's hated by the GOP establishment in Alaska, and how much dirt has been uncovered in this election, I don't see her having much longer of a legacy. But that leads to the big question:

  5. What will happen to the Republicans? There have been so many moderate Republicans either defecting to the Democrats, endorsing Obama, or cruising for a bruising defeat in '08 that it's unclear who will be left standing. The W/Cheney/Rove legacy is to reduce the Republican party to it's vilest, stupidest nub. Who will vote for McCain-Palin on Tuesday? Three sets of states: (1) The Anti-Government West (Idaho, Wyoming, Oklahoma), (2) The Racist Appalachians (WV, KY, TN, AR), and (3) The Christian States (SD, NE, the South). Even more troubling for the GOP is that the current leadership, and their legion of blogger zombies, have decided to make Sarah Palin the ideological purity test. Most of the conservatives who've come out for Obama (e.g. The Economist, Colin Powell, Fukuyama) cite the choice of Palin as a main reason for their crossing party lines. Yet, support for her appears to be mandatory to the 'leaders' of the GOP (e.g. Kristol, Barnes, National Review, Weekly Standard). Yet Palin is clearly a living-caricature for what is wrong with the Bush/Rove GOP: she's a violent Christian ignoramus. If the GOP insists on keeping her as their symbol - she is pretty much George W Bush without his education or family - then the GOP runs the risk of dying or disappearing.
Yet, is truly possible for the GOP to disappear? We have a few historical models to look at. The longest legacy for party rule in the modern US is McKinley to Hoover, 1896-1932. Yeah, Woodrow Wilson was in the middle, but his election was a fluke (TR sabotaged Taft who would have won handily, and WW almost lost to Hughes - winning by a mere 3800 to get California); yet this dominance was shattered by the Depression. The Democrats then controlled the White House from 1932-1968, with the Wilsonian interregnum of Eisenhower. I know this sounds like I'm being selective with my examples, but Ike was barely a Republican, and he was victorious because he won World War II. The Democrats were defeated in 1968 (and it was close) because of the Vietnam War and as a result were wandering the wilderness from 1968-1992 (and by now you'll excuse the understandable hiccup of Carter). What am I trying to show? That there's a broad pattern of party dominance based on party-led disasters. The Republicans needed to live down the stink of the Depression until 1968; the Democrats had the legacy of the foreign-adventurism of Vietnam but also the mamby-pamby liberal stigma of the anti-Vietnam crowd as well. The question I have is whether the GOP loss in 2008 will be like the Depression or like Vietnam; recognizing, of course, that Bush brought America both!

But there is a third model, that of the death of a party. The Federalists were a historical creation of the Revolution and seemed to be unsustainable past the founding fathers. The whole Democratic-Republican mess is best left unsifted. The only major party who died in any recent times are the Whigs, and they just morphed into the modern Republicans. So, honestly, it's not really plausible to argue that the party will disappear. It's likely that barring massive malfeasance the Republicans will be in the wilderness like the post-Depression/Vietnam backlashes (16-20 years).

Both backlashes occurred because the repudiated parties were dominated by the jokers who got them into the mess in the first place. The Democrats in 1972 were defeated largely because of their association with the pusillanimous anti-war movement and the Democratic establishment kept nominating idiotic liberals (Mondale, Dukakis) that helped the stereotype. If the GOP decides that they're the party of Palin not Powell then they will be - like the liberal-ridden Democrats of the 70-80s - the crazy Christian bumpkin party. The Palin party.

But here's where it gets weird. The Democrats in their wilderness years of the 70s-80s still controlled Congress by a thick margin. And when they lost Congress, there was a moderate Southern Democrat (a.k.a. non-northeastern weenie liberal) as president. In that sense the Democrats were able to keep some power and also a variable nuanced party identity. There were Northeast liberals, as well as Midwest blue-collar 'joes' and Southern populists.

Now imagine if the Democrats only had the anti-war weenie liberals during their wilderness period. It's possible that the Democrats could have been synonymous with what we'd call the Green party today - the radical left. As such, the Democrats could have ceased to exist.

What may happen in 2008 is that if the Republicans decide to go the Way of Palin, then they may end up being the crazy Christian party. The only people left in the House/Senate for them will find the national leadership too crazy and may either defect to the Democrats or - and this is a big if - a plausible third party leader may take them in to form the 'fiscal conservative libertarian' party (maybe call themselves the Federalists, going full circle). In this case, I could see the Republicans ending up like the mirror-image Green party, stuffed with Southern Evangelicals and moonies.

As a Democrat, I will say that Sarah Palin was the best thing to happen to the GOP - she's a living symbol for all that's wrong with the crazy Christian right and for the Republican party. Just the other day I was able to explain - using her as the proof - for what America would look like if her ilk took control: banned books in the library, oil money used to buy sports arenas at the expense of schools and roads, a vigorous antipathy towards science and education, and women being charged for rape kits.

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