Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Candidate Qualities, Part 2 – Elections 2006

Wow, what a silence. My last article got less interest than a new record at the NYSE. Small wonder, given the meandering way of it, but there is a purpose. I mentioned some of the basics about candidates’ viability, with a thought about how the best-qualified ordinary people may one day actually be considered for the offices which now seem to be controlled by millionaires and celebrities. I mean, not that it’s a bad thing for candidates to look their best, but it’s no secret that many races overlook qualified people simply because someone else is taller, has better teeth, or is simply sexier. After the lessons in the last decade, is Sex Appeal something which should be considered a primary qualification in the nation’s leaders?

But rather than just complain about what sort of people get elected, it seems more productive to observe how the process works, and why. I read Scot Lehigh’s account in the Boston Globe about how Kerry honestly thinks he can win the White House in 2008. His number one avenue? Dredge up the War in Iraq as a lost cause, again. What is interesting about that, though, is that Lehigh’s article claims that Kerry’s speech “brought the crowd to its feet at least a dozen times, and left the Democrats I talked to impressed.”

Think about that. Iraq was clearly owned as an issue by President Bush in 2004, and for all my admiration of the man, Dubs was not all that eloquent. That can only mean that John Kerry was even worse, n’cest pas? And yet, here’s a roomful of Democrats, apparently high-ranking as such beasties go, who think this is a great idea, having John Kerry campaign largely on the War in Iraq. How, seriously, just how stupid does someone have to be to go after someone where they are strong, and where the record has never given them evidence of good odds to win? The reason this is interesting, is that there are intelligent and reasonable Democrats out there, yet over and over again we see those sort get shut out by those who want to pick a fight where they have poor chances. Remember I mentioned yesterday that to win, you need the party’s blessings? It also seems that this is a major problem for the Democrats, that they insist on blessing candidates with poor credentials. Not that the GOP has a wonderful record of listening to its people, but at least they don’t seem to begin by rejecting the people out of hand. This is one reason to have hope for the 2006 elections.

It seems to me that to win, you want the respect of the voters. Maybe the parties could focus on what the voters think. While I take issue with some of the analysis from CNN, their latest poll is intriguing, not least because the results are so contrary to the theme of CNN’s recent spin. When asked about the top issues for this election, respondents offered these top four:

Terrorism

Iraq

The Economy

North Korea


Nothing else was close. And while the Democrats could try to play the situation in Iraq to their advantage to some degree, they have not done so lately, and the other three issues clearly belong in GOP territory. Democrats have no meaningful suggestions about how to address Terrorism or Kim Spitwad Il, and with Unemployment well under 5%, continued strong GDP growth, a declining Deficit, and Inflation well under control, the Donks do not dare discuss the Economy. The Issues favor the Republicans, and in a big way. Suffice to say that the adults who vote will go Red.

Which brings us to Turnout. All this noise about Foley is not just the fact that Democrats want America to forget about their own peccadilloes, or at least to scale them down, or even to divert attention from the growing scandal around Harry “Show Me The Money” Reid. It’s because Donk Command has figured out that running a campaign on the issues is just going to lose. They know that 30-35% of the regular voters are going to go their way, and they know they can spin another 8-10 points off the old Top 10 lie, “Republicans are Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil” (even as they claim that the GOP runs campaigns by playing on people’s fears). The whole question of the election, then, comes down to how many Republicans and Independents vote. The Donks want those groups tired, depressed, and apathetic. Think about that, when you are choosing your activities on Election Day.

As unattractive as some of the Republicans are, it’s really this simple: Anything which is not a vote for the Republican, is a vote for the Democrat. So would you rather have a party in charge which did not anticipate the unseemly behavior of a Representative, but which made him resign when they discovered his actions and who are moving forward with criminal investigations, or would you prefer the party which not only did not pursue legal action against a Representative of their side of the aisle who actually had sex with pages, who neither resigned nor was punished for his behavior?

Would you rather support the party who still argues about the best way to stop the flow of illegal immigration, or the party which sees no need to enforce our laws in this area?

Would you rather support the party which is trying to protect America from another terrorist attack, or the party which repeatedly demands we protect the ‘rights’ of terrorists?

Would you rather support the party which demands we stay until we finished the job in Iraq and left the country only when it is stable and a success, or the party which wants to desert our allies and ignore our solemn promises?

Would you rather support the party which most active-duty troops support, or would you rather support the party which historically defunds and disrespects our soldiers?

Would you rather support the party which considers your money to be your money, or would you rather support the party which considers your money to belong to the government?

Would you rather support the party which wants you to speak your mind in places like blogs, or would you rather support the party which is happy with you speaking your mind only when it matches the party line?

That’s really what this election comes down to – one side or the other. Neither one perfect, but by all that’s true there is a great and profound difference between the two parties, what they intend, and the course they would set for America. And I think we all know that.

1 comment:

Anna said...

I'll grit my teeth and vote for my senator despite his saying one thing and doing another, simply because the alternative is a notorious taxer and MIA for most important votes when he was in congress.