The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
November 17, 2002
What Happens Next?
The voters have given Republicans control
of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives. What will the
GOP do with it?
I'm not in the prediction business, but I
am certain of one fact. Whatever President Dubya and Lott and Hastert do,
it will be for one reason - reelection in 2004.
The number one goal of any first-term
president is reelection. Party affiliation, ideology, convictions - all
that's secondary. President Dubya will do whatever he thinks will ensure a
second term. Lott and Hastert will do whatever they think will ensure a
Republican majority in Congress.
I say this because many conservatives are
giddy and drunk on the notion of power. They want the Republicans to enact
their agenda. This is not an unreasonable request, because Republicans
profess to support a conservative agenda. So, if conservative voters vote
for a candidate who supports the conservative agenda, it's right and
proper to expect that candidate to pursue that agenda.
But what if that agenda isn't popular
enough to ensure a Republican majority in Congress? What if it's not
popular enough to re-elect President Dubya? What if enacting the
conservative agenda hacks off liberals, moderates, and swing voters? What
if passing a few conservative bills produces a Democrat president or
Republican leaders must think about these
questions. They must balance their beliefs and principles with the pursuit
of power. That's just the way it is, and it explains why Republicans and
President Dubya may not do all that conservatives want them to do. It
explains why Dubya signed the liberty-destroying campaign finance reform
bill and pork-laden and wasteful farm bill, imposed steel tariffs that
will cost more jobs than they save, and flirted with an amnesty for
law-breakers (illegal immigrants) before September 11 derailed it. Those
actions, which conservatives rightly despised, took core issues away from
Democrats. But it also advanced Democrat issues. But it also played a role
in producing a Republican majority in Congress.
So Republicans will do just enough to keep
the conservatives happy (or, at the very least, make them as unhappy as
possible) to maintain their support, and stop just short of alienating
moderates and swing voters.
If you're a conservative hoping for and
demanding big things, expect a mixed bag, and be happy with whatever bones
are thrown your way.
Odds and Ends
Israeli soldiers have taken Hebron in
response to the Palestinian ambush on settlers and soldiers this past
Friday. Hard to see how any of this help Israel be safe or the
Palestinians receive their own country - if, indeed, they even deserve
Congress has created a supposedly safe have
on the Internet. A new "kids.us" domain will be available in a
year and be overseen by a government contractor, who will make sure it
contains no porn or other inappropriate material, as determined by the
government. This domain will become the number one target for hackers and
Deadbeats who file bankruptcy to avoid
paying what they owe got a reprieve from Congress. A bill to make it more
difficult for consumers to wipe out their debt to credit cards was killed
when Democrats inserted a provision restricting pro-life groups from using
bankruptcy to avoid paying court fines. Pro-life Republicans objected to
this one provision, which doomed the entire bill. Dems knew this would
happen; they can usually be relied on to support freeloaders. Still,
pro-lifers should support the bill, because bankruptcy should only be used
by the truly destitute, and not by groups or individuals merely seeking to
duck responsibility for their actions.
U.N. weapons inspectors are once again
headed for Iraq, where they will be lied to and fooled by Saddam's goons.
If they find nothing, the U.N. will declare Iraq weapon-free, and if they
do find weapons and destroy them, the U.N. will declare Iraq weapon-free.
Either way, Saddam wins and stays in power. President Dubya may be
counting on Iraq harassing the inspectors and denying them access to
facilities, which would then offer, under the U.N. security resolution,
justification to take out Saddam. Saddam surely knows this, and may
provide just enough cooperation to convince the gullible world that he is
Finally, please tell me I'm not the only
person who couldn't care less about The Bachelor, Survivor,
and other so-called reality shows, and has never watched one episode of The
Sopranos or Sex in the City. I just don't understand the
appeal. Maybe someone can convince me.