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The U.S. Elections - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
November 10th, 2006
05:31 pm


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The U.S. Elections
I've been reading a few op-ed pieces on the results of the U.S. midterm elections, to gauge both the response of American opinion and the real magnitude of the change if any. I've read opinions from both sides of the political debate, of course.

I think Charles Krauthammer's right in not reading much more than dissatisfaction with Iraq and with corruption into the results. I don't see how David Ignatius finds it appropriate to praise Rumsfeld's mulish, stony stubbornness so:
Rumsfeld's gift was his brilliance and intellectual toughness. He kept his head up even as the war in Iraq went from bad to awful. In that, he was a harder man even than one of his predecessors, Robert McNamara, who in his final year running the Vietnam War began to crack privately under the pressure. Rumsfeld embodied an old injunction: Never let them see you sweat.
The Boston Globe's Nov 9th editorial enumerates just a few of the things that Igantius would file under "not letting them see you sweat":
Rumsfeld disdained State Department planning for postwar Iraq. He made light of the ominous outbreak of looting after the fall of Saddam Hussein. He preferred a formal US military occupation of Iraq with insufficient troops to an early transfer of political authority to an Iraqi government. Instead he sent the woefully unsuited L. Paul Bremer to rule Iraq as America's proconsul. And Rumsfeld denied the reality of a burgeoning insurgency until it was too late to prevent the current war of all against all.
Here's hoping for change.

Current Music: Primus -- Mr. Knowitall

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:November 10th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
I think that the most significant change is that the factions within Iraq must rethink their calculations about where the edge of the cliff is to be found.
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Date:November 10th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
Krauthammer's right: one less evangelical firebrand outed as a crystal-meth-swilling closet gay, or one less unfortunate Republican slip of the tongue captured on YouTube, and the Senate would have gone the other way. Then pundits would be trumpeting the electorate's vote of confidence in the Iraq war, and pronouncing on the final unfeasibility of the Democratic party, while a smirking Rummy started to plan for summer in Teheran. It's all about scandal and image here; at least Californian voters are up front about the fact that politics and Hollywood are the same thing.
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Date:November 10th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
Change would be a very good thing.

Some of the response is already visible - the most stridently hubristic of the top-level appointees were already sloughed off. It seems to be the first step of the Republican '08 campaign.

What I do not see, hear, or feel happening is a change in the hubris itself. Being privately, covertly hubristic is still dangerous (perhaps more dangerous) than decorating the party platform with the Rumsfeldian sneer of cold command.

The neo-Republican idea of "a permanent Republican majority" strikes me as the original sin, here. The notion of disenfranchising anyone who fails to enter under the Republicans' big tent (which is implicit in the "permanent" part of that idea) is repugnant to a democracy. The practice of ensuring that permanence at all costs - that has verged on and slipped into the illegal, unconstitutional, and immoral.

It seems to me that the "free speech zones" and the Iraq war and the doing away with Habeas Corpus are all attempts at etching the "permanent" in stone.

Colossal wreck, much?
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Date:November 11th, 2006 08:15 am (UTC)

Krauthammer ignores one essential point

Gerrymandering. The Republicans have used their 12 years of power to redesign many districts. The most blatant examples come from De Lay's (and Bush's) Texas, but there are many of them. This is not the 1940s. After 2004, Rove claimed he built a power-perpetuating machine. Many Democrats seemed to agree. Happily, he was proven wrong.
Date:November 12th, 2006 08:40 am (UTC)

No More than He Ignored the Existence of the Atmosphere

Krauthammer's point hangs on the difference between competing political parties and competing ideologies. He doesn't deny that there was a Democratic victory, nor that this victory tranfered a significant amount of power from one party to another. Rather, he denies that a significant ideological shift was thereby effected. (He is implicitly excepting, of course, the unacknowledged ideology that this-or-that clique should be the rulers, whatever policy they must effect to achieve and sustain such status.)
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