UPDATE: It is clear to me that President Bush is shaken by the election, but that tells me just how out of touch Washington makes a person. His arrogance was that he thought he could appease and work with vipers. He'll be shocked by their bites. He is committed to Iraq, but are Americans? The press has absolutely won this round. The President has simply not done enough to counter the propaganda. The Left gets what they want now--Rumsfeld is gone. Will Democrats work with a new Secretary of Defense? Are they serious or are they playing? Is getting rid of Rumsfeld a preemptive strike against hearings and Impeachment and the inevitable subpoenas?
More thoughts from around the web from my favorite thinkers:
(full text below) The Anchoress echoes my sentiments:
My own impression - which will be unpopular with the conservative base (but it won’t be the first time I’ve been unpopular with you) - is that the country wants to be more centrist. Center-right, I think…but much more “center” than “right.” Most of the Dems who won were not flaming socialists but folks who portrayed themselves as “conservative” Dems.
Americans are fair-minded people and I don’t believe they want to be pulled too far in either direction…which means if the Dems are as smart as they pretend to be, they’ll now try to get serious about serious issues. But I’m not holding my breath for that, either.She makes a prediction:
3) Of course impeachment proceedings are on the horizon. In hour 101. Right after they raise taxes and start the paperwork to redeploy our troops. You didn’t really think Pelosi meant it when she said it was off the table, did you? Conyers will slam those papers down the day Congress reconvenes.Impeachment. President Bush will be impeached. Is that just fear amongst Republicans? I don't think so. I think it'll happen.
MaxedOutMama is a must read today. She is focusing on Iraq:
What's going to have to happen is that the congressional Republicans and Democrats have to make a united stance and present a united front against our enemy, and I'm not sure that either side is up to it. Regardless of how each person voted, we all need to press our representatives and senators to put the national interest first in at least one area, and that's the position of our deployed military forces.She brings my attention to Oak Leaf of Polipundit who says this:
This morning, I met with community leaders in a typical Afghanistan village. After our business was conducted, I was surprised by their interest in our election. While their knowledge of the mechanics of our election was on par with Americans understanding elections in Canada, they were keenly interested.He continues and meticulously goes through what must be done and it makes me cry, but this is no time for sentimentality. Lives are at stake and many lives will be lost. The question is, how many Americans will die because of the Democrats? He continues:
The first point that they made was this election was “between President Bush’s party and those that want to abandon Iraq.” That caught me off guard and I had to verify with my translator that “abandon” was the correct translation.
They next expressed that the Taliban would be emboldened by an Iraq pullout and that co-operation between the Afghani People and American/NATO forces would come to a halt. You have to realize that the Afghani People have little choice here. The moment they sense the mere possibility/suggestion of American Forces leaving, they will realign themselves with the Taliban. Further, the Taliban will effectively exploit American “redeployment from” Iraq. I left that exchange shaken, something that I have never felt before.
If the Democrats are in power and want a “pullout” fine, lets do it and do it right and that is a complete withdrawal from SW Asia. My friends, there is no other choice, a deal can not be made where we do anything part way. It is all or nothing and that is the sad reality. The “final failure” of Vietnam was the “long withdrawal” after Congress became intent on the idea of pulling out. That mistake must not be made again. I ask my fellow conservatives to help make sure the troops are brought home and they are brought home now.Back to MaxedOutMama:
I do not like it, but I agree with him. If the real decision is to cut and run, we need to do it honestly and not pretend. Pretending won't change the outcome, but it will kill many more soldiers. If we cut and run now, we're not going to fool our enemies by pretending that we aren't. Plus we are going to need every last one of our military personnel later, because we're going to have to fight under much less favorable terms on a much broader scale. Our non-coms alone are priceless. It has taken decades to create a military with this type of knowledge, experience and dedication. This force does not deserve to be used as a political pawn and we cannot afford to piss their lives away. Whatever we do now, we must do honestly.She also quotes Uncle Jimbo:
It's not going to be a fun two years if you're walking the streets of Baghdad facing an emboldened enemy who thinks they've influenced American elections with 104 casualties in one month. I guess they're right, what little testicular fortitude Americans have left has been sent to Iraq.I hate to be pessimistic Mama, I really and truly do, but the Democratic leadership (I'm not talking the newly elected, moderate middles) do not know honest. There will be no honest withdrawal. There will be micromanaging. There will be posturing. There will be trying to play both ends.
Thanks, pinkos. You just made life alot more dangerous for our deployed family members.
The problem with the Democratic leadership is that they cannot possibly please the "Bush Lied" folk and prosecute any war. If they pull out little by little and things go worse and worse they can justify the next pull-back, "See? That part of the War on Terror isn't working, either." It will be death by a thousand cuts. The terrorists will be emboldened. The remaining troops will be in danger. Many lives will be lost.
Europe will be on its own. So far, they've had the leisure of pointing out how stupid Americans are while knowing their southern flank is covered and the enemy is being pushed back. No more.
And then there is Israel. Here's Jeff Goldstein's sum-up:
Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal said Wednesday that a truce with Israel is finished and his group’s militants can resume fighting following an Israeli tank attack that killed 18 Palestinians.
Militants will answer the deaths with “deeds, not words,” Mashaal told a news conference in the Syrian capital.
Sputtered a hungover Trout Fishing in America Shorty, “Fuck Israel. It’s time to concentrate on important domestic issues, like increasing taxes and bringing back those halcyon days of bobbing interns, massively irresponsible tech speculation, and a concerted avoidance of growing international threats.
“In other words, TONIGHT WE’RE GOING TO PARTY LIKE IT’S 1999, BABY!”
We are in for dark days. Glum is not the word. Grim. Grim is the word.
This is my opinion about America by topic based on these election results:
- Abortion: While many people are against abortion in principle, they are for it in reality. Too many women have had abortions and defend their choice. Too many men wanted a woman to have and abortion and she did, or wished she'd had one and she didn't. Either way, abortion will never be illegal nation-wide in America ever again. Even if the SCOTUS turns over Roe, it will go to the states and the states will vote and support it.
- Stem Cell Research: Closely related to #1, Embyonic Stem Cell research, as well as Cloning, will go forward. So many infertile people have a gazillion embryos sitting around that they'll never use. Rather than "destroy" them, they can feel good about their choice and donate them to science to forward helping humanity--and guys like Michael J. Fox. Even if the likelihood of this happening is slim.
- Terrorism: Americans have been fairly stalwart as these things go. Even still, the MSM has succeeded in wearying even the staunchest Iraq supporter. I said it before and I'll say it again: I don't think the vast majority of the country will get serious until another attack happens (not that I want it to). It just seems to theoretical and far away. Stupid interventions by the Department of Homeland Security--like bothering the heck out of travelers while not shutting the border have sent a mixed message about how big a problem terrorism really is.
- Media: This election proves that most bloggers and alternative media are preaching to the choir. The Media holds sway over the vast majority of Americans. Their negative drumbeat can't be countered. It's all about pictures. Pictures tell the story (even when they don't or even when they only tell the story the media wants to tell) and CNN knows this. American soldiers being picked off by snipers will always outweigh reasonable words. I'm not sure how this battle can be won.
- Environment: The conservatives are going to have to stop dismissing environmental concerns (even when they pale next to terrorism) because the doom and gloom message has gotten through to people. Most people want to do things in a more environmentally sound way (or at least feel like they are) while not changing their lifestyle. In short, they want to be like celebrities.
- Economy: While the Stock Market is up, the housing market is precarious. While wages are up, health care costs eat up the gains. While unemployment is down, people are in jobs that aren't as reliable. There is an education divide. There is a divorce divide. Manufacturing jobs that kept guys in the Northeast and Midwest employed are gone, in their place taxes have risen.
- Immigration: The Republicans blew it. They had a chance to do something meaningful. Who the heck knows what will happen now. Border security is a must. After that, dealing with not fully assimilated illegals and legals is an issue that must be dealt with or else we end up like Europe.
- Health Care: Again, the Republicans shunned making the tough decisions about Health Care. Perhaps a Presidential candidate will broach this topic again. Insurance companies enjoy record profits--our premiums increased over 30% this last year alone (for a high deductible plan that doesn't kick in for $6,000). This excludes too many people. Too many tests and unnecessary procedures are done. The system is a mess. Third-party payers need to be eliminated somehow. Bush tried to get more power into the people's hands, Congress refused to do it. This issue will not go away and nationalized health care would be a disaster. We're going to regret the drug program for a very long time.
- Gay Marriage: Most people are against the notion of the name "Gay Marriage". Most people would pass or allow a legal "Domestic Partnerships" or some such. Everyone has a friend or family member who is gay and no one wants them to suffer unequal rights. What they don't want is for words to lose their meaning--marriage is, by most people's definition between one man and one woman. This issue needs to go away in its current form. It does not need to be in the courts.
- Pork: Reagan Conservatives are fiscal conservatives. I believe if this one issue were dealt with, the Republicans would have had a chance. This was their claim to fame. But the truth is that they are as big a bunch of pigs as the Democrats. This irritates everyone. When Republicans can't even claim this issue, they are bound to lose.
The average American has inhaled, had premarital sex, looks at porn, had an abortion but wish there were less of them, knows someone removed from life support and has gay friends. (The votes divide because half believe in trying to maintain the ideals while others feel we should let them go.) The average American lives in a nice house, tries to recycle and worries about Global Warming. The average American works hard, thinks Europeans are pansies and worries about terrorism and the best way to deal with it. The average American is ambivalent about Iraq but is uncomfortable with repeating the Vietnam performance. The average American believes most of the leaders are corrupt wind-bags, but what are you going to do? They like their guy. (Kinda like they like their lawyer, but lawyers in general stink.) The average American hasn't looked all that deeply into the issues, but feels a certain way and votes that way. Political bloggers are not average Americans--they are more attached to ideals and more convinced of their views.
The Average American goes about his busy business leading a decent life. There is no question that America has changed in this technologically driven, post-industrial world. No one can argue that the social politics of 2006 are even remotely close to the social politics of the 1950s, 60s, or 70s. The world has essentially changed into the place the Feminists and Equal Rights and Give Peace a Chance folks had hoped it would so many years ago. We live in Boomer land. Save for the Iraq War and War on Terror, it would be a Boomer paradise, or as Mark Steyn says an Americanized Eutopia.
Perhaps now, we'll enter the Age of Ameritopia....a deferred Age of Aquarius. Interesting times, to be sure.