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As Election Day Nears

November 4, 2006

I’m glad the election is on Tuesday. I’m tired of writing about politics. I mean, I still will. It’s just that it’s gotten more frequent and more bitter than usual lately, and I’m sorry about it. I care about things and I have strong feelings about them, and I don’t apologize for that. But if I have allowed hostility and venom to get in the way of understanding and discussion, for that I am sorry.

Okay, on to predictions.

I see Wisconsin’s two controversial referendums passing. The one proposing a constitutional amendment to ban both gay marriage and any “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage” (i.e., civil unions) will pass handily. Similarly, the one proposing to reinstate the death penalty after its 150 year absence will also pass with room to spare.

In happier news, I see the US house of representatives going Democratic by five seats, even if the senate stays Republican, also by about five seats. Wisconsin’s governor Jim Doyle will win by 7, but unfortunately my man Bryan Kennedy will fail to topple the incumbent Republican, Jim Sensenbrenner, in Wisconsin’s fifth.

I further predict that whatever happens, the right half of the blogosphere will instantly proclaim it a victory for their side. Yes. Because someone you never heard of said on CNN three months ago that Democrats could take the senate, the fact that it didn’t happen will be touted as proof-positive that the American people have rejected the left’s flawed agenda, while giving a mandate to the Republican party to move further to the right. It will also be said that we played dirty. So dirty, in fact, that the only explanation for why we didn’t win every election by a landslide is that voters utterly spurned our bankrupt ideology in favor of GOP ideals.

But the fact is, this election is about taking a few tenative steps back toward the center after having stumbled crazily rightward in recent years. It’s about electing some Democrats to provide a little balance to the Republican stranglehold on Washington. But even more importantly it’s about establishing a government that doesn’t alienate half of the American electorate. Hopefully, it’s a step toward healing the deep rifts in American politics that have widened in recent years. That would be a victory for everyone.

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  1. Scott, your last paragraph expresses some very fine sentiments, but what gaining control of at least one house of the Congress MUST be about is letting those subpoenas FLY, right straight down Pennsylvania Avenue.

    I am not advocating or even mildly supporting impeachment. Cheney as the Republican candidate from the position of incumbent President healing our nation’s wounds? “Thanks, but no thanks, baby, I’ve already got more trouble than I need,” as Delbert McClinton sings in “Honky Tonkin’ (Guess I Done Me Some).” But we need investigations–plural–backed by subpoenas, just to sort through what the hell has happened during the past six years in the Reign of Error.

    Paul Krugman’s op-ed column in yesterday’s NYT called attention to the need for one investigation into the subject of what in hell happened to the billions of dollars spent to rebuild Iraq. Bechtel and Halliburton have reached or will soon reach the end of their no-bid contracts in Iraq and we know that billions of dollars have been misplaced–enough to pay down my MasterCard at its nadir. Bagdhad is up to an average of six hours a day of electricity. If someone had been given billions to spruce up the infrastructure of Wisconsin and Milwaukee or Rhinelander were only getting six hours a day of juice, that someone would be in jail now or running like a dog through the everglades.

    And, after six years, don’t we have the right, at long last, to know who took part in Dick Cheney’s summit to create the new Administration’s energy policy? The only reason we don’t have that information is that Dennis Hastert and Bill Frist would never consent to the necessary subpoenas. Well Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (read the previous six words aloud, over and over, just to hear how great they sound!) will consent to them. Go ahead and bet your lunch money on it.

    And don’t buy into the right’s smear tactics with regard to Nancy Pelosi. They refer to her 100% rating by Americans for Democratic Action as if such a thing is so far out as to be all but unheard of. Some of those who share that 100% rating are Senator Herb Kohl, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Congressman David Obey and, yes, the next President of the United States, Russ Feingold.


  2. It will be interesting. I, too, think Doyle will win in a slim margin. How that affects the AG race, though, I don’t know. My intial thought is Van Hollen should win handily. But, if all dems vote democratic, you could make the case Falk wins. Once again, it’s those in the middle and the undecided that will have an impact.

    Whatever happens, I’m going to tune out all media for a while. Both sides will be spewing all kinds of crap in victory, defeat, explanations, excuses . . . “the people spoke!” . . . kind of stuff. It’s driven me crazy before, it’ll be worse this time.

    Balance would be good. But “crazily right” isn’t accurate. Other than the war, there has been no advancement of the conservative agenda. Bill Clinton had the same problem. For as left as he was, there was no advancement of the liberal agenda. Many repub’s were moderate. That drove many staunch conservatives crazy. Nothing of any substantial agenda passed. Bush promised to reach across the aisle . . . that hasn’t happened.

    I fear for the dems, though. Comments like those from Lonestar (how fitting) should concern everyone. If we are to move forward, and if they are to prove the conservatives wrong, then the divide must close some how. Using any victory just for the means of payback will simple widen the divide and accomplish little. I’m all for any and all those representing us being held responsible for wrong doing, lies, and cover ups. But I think the best way to prove someone wrong is showing them you’re right. One thing is for sure, if the dems do take over power, it should be a clear messgae to the republicans that they blew it. I do think the war had a huge impact on people. But they had other chances and couldn’t get it done.

    Good luck!

    BTW, you seem to be a Mac guy . . . can’t be all that bad then.


  3. I agree with most of what you have predicted. It’s will be really close in Congress. Unfortunately, I also believe the death penalty will also pass. Maybe ten years I would have voted yes, but I can’t be against embryonic stem cell research and for the death penalty. If Mark Green does win, it will send a clear message to the Democrats about taxes in this state. I also agree with Jimi, we can’t have the feelings expressed by Lonestar and expect to narrow the divide between the two parties.

    As they used to say in Chicago under Richard M. Daley, “vote early and vote often” and “make sure the dead vote” (just kidding).



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