Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Reactions

Believe it or not, I'm not particularly bothered by what looks to be a big Democratic victory in taking control on the House of Representatives, some governorships, and maybe even the Senate. Plenty of us on the right have been very dissatisfied with the wasteful spending the GOP had gotten used to after more than a decade in control, and plenty were frustrated that the Bush administration did not prosecute a more vigorous campaign in Iraq, but instead clings stubbornly to its policy of half-hearted engagement there. Our party has been behaving as political organizations always do when they've had power too long -- trying to consolidate electoral gains through redistricting, pork and patronage. Maybe giving the scoundrels the boot will make room for true believers like Newt Gingrich and others who went to Washington to actually implement conservative ideas.

I do worry about the prospect of Nancy Pelosi dragging the country through a partisan show trial in the form of an impeachment proceeding against President Bush. When the GOP did that during Clinton's second term, it did real damage to American power and prestige in the world, reducing our ability even to deal appropriately with such building threats as al Qaeda. It also poisoned the political environment across our country. I'm afraid the Democrats may now relish their opportunity for revenge too much to place the country's welfare above petty partisanship. And be sure, an impeachment would do serious harm to our ability to act on the world stage. Two years of contentious score settling would be very counterproductive, indeed.

The election all Americans should be alarmed over is that which returned the Murderer of Managua to power in Nicaragua. With roughly 38 percent of the vote, former Sandinista dictator Daniel Ortega beat the field of opponents who split the pro-democracy vote (Whereas most countries would require a run-off election if no candidate secures an absolute majority of votes, Nicaraguan law requires only a plurality of at least 35 percent to win outright). Some will quibble over my characterization of this as a contest between the supporters of democracy and of tryanny, but make no mistake, Ortega, with much material and moral support from Venezuela's populist Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez, represents a return to government death squads, property confiscations and subversion of democratic movements and organizations.

This development, along with the earlier victories of Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia, surging nationalism in Russia, and remaining communist dictatorships in China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and Laos (all strongly anti-American) expose the fiction that the Cold War is over. Though their programs have been discredited and their adherents are fewer, communists still maintain their grip on power in important places, and in opposition to any world order that allows for personal liberty. These communists' marriages of convenience to such regimes as Iran's means that the forces of freedom now face totalitarian enemies who make common cause against us because they cannot tolerate our freedom.

These are the developments that should concern us all. I just hope the Democrats will be bigger after 12 years out of power than the GOP was after half a century in opposition. We really do have vital concerns to address together as a nation.


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