Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NOVEMBER 2006: THE REVENGE OF THE INDEPENDENT?

The Washington Post provides a pair of must reads on the upcoming election this morning; one an analysis, the other an editorial from E. J. Dionne jr.:

“Rising Radical Center”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/23/AR2006102301034.html

Mr. Dionne opines:

“President Bush's six-year effort to create an enduring Republican majority based on a right-leaning coalition is on the verge of collapse. The way he tried to create it could have the unintended consequence of opening the way for an alternative majority.

This incipient Democratic alliance, while tilting slightly leftward, would plant its foundations firmly in the middle of the road, because its success depends on overwhelming support from moderate voters…

The strategy pursued by Bush and Karl Rove has frightened most of the political center into the arms of Democrats. Bush and Rove sought victory by building large turnouts among conservatives and cajoling just enough moderates the Republicans' way. But this approach created what may prove to be a fatal political disconnect: Adventurous policies designed to create enthusiasm on the right turned off a large number of less ideological voters.”

Bravo.

I have often noted the abandonment of the center by the Republican Party, held hostage as it is by the neoconservatives and beholden as it is to the radical evangelicals. I have frankly despaired there is an independent middle left - Dionne suggests we’re still out there, and we’re done with the neocons…

Meanwhile, Dan Balz and Jon Cohen give us a little data to consider:

“Independent Voters Favor Democrats by 2 to 1 in Poll”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/23/AR2006102300766.html

“The independent voters surveyed said they plan to support Democratic candidates over Republicans by roughly 2 to 1 -- 59 percent to 31 percent”…

It’s the war coupled with a general lack of trust. Voters [in general] “trust Democrats more than Republicans to deal with the war, the economy, North Korea and ethics in government. On terrorism, the two parties are at parity. But independents, the key swing voter group, strongly trust the Democrats on all of those issues by margins ranging from 14 percentage points on terrorism to 23 points on Iraq and North Korea and 26 points on ethics in government.”

And the economy? The zillion point Dow matters to people getting ahead, but that’s a mighty slim slice of the American pie:

“Republicans appear to be getting little tangible benefit from the growing economic optimism, which has come amid declining gasoline prices and a record high in the Dow Jones industrial average. Those who cite the economy as the most important issue favor Democrats by 18 percentage points, 57 percent to 39 percent.

One reason is that only a quarter of those surveyed said they are getting ahead financially. About the same number said they are falling behind. Most, however, said they are just able to maintain their standard of living. Republicans have an advantage only among those who say their financial condition is improving.”

An economy in which 75% of the participants are either treading water or drowning can only be called “good” by… By the kind of people who think “we” are winning in Iraq and those WMD’s are still out there waiting to be found… Those of us paying attention are looking at Ford, GM, and the plethora of multinational corporations who are making a “profit” by laying off their American workforce and outsourcing every job they can – preferably to overseas slave labor.

It’s only a poll, and they have been wrong before. But I’ll be cautiously optimistic – for now – that there are still enough of “we the independents” left to save this country. I’m hoping for the return of divided government and the safety of gridlock…

I can only speak for myself on this, but I do not consider myself safe in a Nation dominated by either the loony left of the rabid right. With either group really dominant, my wallet and my livelihood are threatened, albeit in different ways. If the left is in control, my property isn’t safe – with the right in the driver’s seat my privacy isn’t safe and neither is my freedom from religion… And without those things, the other “rights” really don’t matter.

So I’ll leave off with another plug for my new personal issue, the gridlock amendment:

Proposed as an amendment to the US Constitution:

“In any situation where majority control of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate vests in a single party and the President likewise is elected from that party, special veto authority equivalent to Presidential veto authority will be conferred on the House and Senate minority leaders in acting in concert. The veto will only apply to bills already signed into law by the President.”

Think about it and the idea will grow on you…

If the House and Senate go “blue” two weeks from today, it may start to sound real good to the remains of the Republican Party…






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