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Good election news

Posted by Richard on November 8, 2006

As regular reades no doubt could guess, I’m not exactly cheerful about spending the next two years hearing about Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel, and Judiciary Chair John Conyers. And I’m disappointed by the departure of Rumsfeld. Nevertheless, I’m basically a "glass half-full" sort of guy, and I think there’s some good news related to yesterday’s elections.

One big bright spot: the property rights protection movement racked up an impressive string of victories. Ten of twelve ballot measures passed, and eight of them are constitutional amendments (one victory, Louisiana, was in September). Only California and Idaho defeated citizen initiatives dealing with eminent domain. They were thrilled yesterday at the Institute for Justice:

“Election Day usually reveals how polarized public opinion can be as campaigns focus on highly divisive issues.  Today, however, the vast majority of voters across the country all agreed that the fundamental right to property must be protected,” said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, which represented the homeowners in Kelo before the Supreme Court.  “Citizens around the nation agree that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo was wrong.  As we’re seeing tonight’s results, this issue cuts across party lines, state borders and socioeconomic levels.”

“The American people are furious their property rights are up for grabs to the highest bidder,” said senior attorney Scott Bullock, who argued the Kelo case for the Institute.  “They understand that the U.S. Supreme Court declared open season on everyone’s property and the resulting momentum for eminent domain reform shows no sign of slowing.  The significant margins in the votes today show just how wrong a narrow majority of the Supreme Court was.”

The margins were truly significant, typically three or four to one.

Here’s another bit of good news: Dennis Hastert won’t run for minority leader. I’ve made clear my low opinion of Hastert. I think he bears much of the blame for the Republican losses. Hastert helped create the "culture of corruption" by dismantling the 1994 ethics and accountability reforms. His lack of principles, inarticulateness, and focus on wielding the levers of power helped create the widespread distrust of the Republican Party.

If the Republicans really have been chastened and want to mend their ways, in January they’ll follow Human Events’ advice and elect Mike Pence minority leader. Furthermore, they should correct a mistake they made when DeLay departed and pick John Shadegg over Roy Blunt for the number two post, minority whip.

More good news came via Josh Poulson, who argued that the GOP lost because it "abandoned its libertarian wing," and cited a couple of interesting related items. One is this post at about the growing clout of Libertarians:

GLUM Republicans might turn their attention to the Libertarian Party to vent their anger. Libertarians are a generally Republican-leaning constituency, but over the last few years, their discontent has grown plain. It isn’t just the war, which some libertarians supported, but the corruption and insider dealing, and particularly the massive expansion of spending. Mr Bush’s much-vaunted prescription drug benefit for seniors, they fume, has opened up another gaping hole in America’s fiscal situation, while the only issue that really seemed to energise congress was passing special laws to keep a brain-damaged woman on life support.

In two of the seats where control looks likely to switch, Missouri and Montana, the Libertarian party pulled more votes than the Democratic margin of victory. Considerably more, in Montana. If the Libertarian party hadn’t been on the ballot, and the three percent of voters who pulled the "Libertarian" lever had broken only moderately Republican, Mr Burns would now be in office.

The other item is Sen. Tom Coburn’s statement on the elections:

“The overriding theme of this election, however, is that voters are more interested in changing the culture in Washington than changing course in Washington, D.C. This election was not a rejection of conservative principles per se, but a rejection of corrupt, complacent and incompetent government.

“A recent CNN poll found that 54 percent of Americans believe government is doing too much while only 37 percent want government to do more. The results of this election reflect that … the Democrats who won or who ran competitive races sounded more like Ronald Reagan than Lyndon Johnson.

“This election does not show that voters have abandoned their belief in limited government; it shows that the Republican Party has abandoned them. In fact, these results represent the total failure of big government Republicanism.

“The Republican Party now has an opportunity to rediscover its identity as a party for limited government, free enterprise and individual responsibility. Most Americans still believe in these ideals, which reflect not merely the spirit of 1994 or the Reagan Revolution, but the vision of our founders. If Republicans present real ideas and solutions based on these principles we will do well in the future.

Read the whole thing. If you’re a discouraged limited-government type, libertarian or conservative, you’ll feel better — and you’ll be glad there are people like Tom Coburn in politics.

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2 Responses to “Good election news”

  1. Mortimer Snurd said

    Cheer up Richard. The Democrats are barely in power. Joe Leiberman is the pivot vote in the Senate, and he’s going to want payback for the sodomizing he took from his party. Nancy Pelosi is going to confuse anti-Irag sentiment with tree hugger endorsement. And the Democrats couldn’t organize a a penny whistle band, much less keep them all playing one tune. Most of the people elected as Dems are so far right Rohnold Raygun would be shocked. I predict two years of increasingly desperate gridlock until the election of ’08. After that the rapture. All I’m really hoping for is that we can investigate Rumsfeld until he’s driven to ignominious suicide and a VERY probing look at Halliburton’s war profitering.

    Keep ’em flying.


    P.S. I can’t get this damn thing to let me declare myself.


  2. ransdell said

    Libertarians are now oddly enough the centrists of the Republican Party. Many people like myself feel betrayed by the new Republican Party who have abandoned their roots in favor of huge Congressional earmarks and resulting in “Bridges to nowhere”. Now is the time for the Libertarian party to separate themselves and create a third party movement, the base exists for them to capture a new seats in the House. They lack the universal support for the Presidency but there is no reason they can’t make themselves a strong but small unified front against Democratic Socialism and Republican Extremism.

    If they were to secure 5 seats in the House everything would change, it would force the radical elements in each party out. If you controlled 5 seats (granted you would have no committee power) but when it came to roll call votes both parties would need your support and the Libertarians could in effect barter their way into forcing Congressional oversight. The Republicans and Democrats have become so corrupt because there is no one to tell them otherwise. A Democrat can make a dozen or more reasons they won this election but ultimately it comes down to this, In practice what real difference is there between Republicans and Democrats anymore (except their stance on religious matters, where Republicans have taken a decidedly pro-religious stance) voters are not as dumb as people would like to believe. Voting numbers rarely reach more than 30-40% of the population so I like to think at least a third of that number actually know what is going on and are not fooled into thinking that this is the Republican party of Regan or even George Bush Sr.

    Something has to be done to save the souls of both parties, I mean Nancy Pelosi is the new Speaker of the House, what the hell people this is bad for America. Anytime you give ideologues power your asking for trouble. The answer is a small but strong third party movement to counter the “culture of corruption” on both sides.

    Simply put the Democrats won because the Republicans have abandoned their traditional platform of smaller government, less government spending, and strong national security, not to mention that have sold the party to the fringe elements of the Christian Coalition. Where has all this gotten them, it elected Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House, the public on the whole has lost faith in George W Bush, so what harm was there in voting for a Democrat it’s basically the same person only with a more flashy tie.

    Democrats have claim a mandate but look at all the races they one, almost everyone of the ended with a slim margin of victory of less than 5 thousand votes and many of them were hovering around the 2 thousand mark. Hardly an overwhelming show of support basically they won by a thread but that thread was just enough in every important race for them to win. The people still believe and want these old school Republican values they just couldn’t find them anywhere.

    I seriously doubt the Republicans will see this as a moment of truth, there are no Newt Gingrich’s in Congress anymore, there is a monumental leadership void across the board in Congress on both sides of the isle. Now is the time for Republicans to go back their roots but they won’t. They much like their Democratic brotherin have found out there are riches to be had in manipulating the government to their own needs, plus it’s easier to be a populist as opposed to making a stance on an issue. Currently practically all politicians in America are populists both parties a littered with them. The public wants someone of substance someone who actually stands for something and isn’t out for themselves.

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