Friday, November 7, 2008

Election Post-Mortem

By Alan Caruba

Every time a political party loses an election, someone pronounces its death. The Democrats and Republicans, under one name or another, have been around from the beginning of the nation whether they were called Whigs, Federalists, or Dixiecrats. The once solidly Democrat South became Republican after the Civil Rights movement succeeded.

Those of a certain political philosophy will always find a home in one party or the other.
This may also explain why the Green Party, the Constitution Party and the Libertarians never seem to gain any ground. Their agendas are far too narrow or extreme to attract people who, from both sides of the political spectrum, simply want America to prosper.

There’s a pretty good explanation why the GOP lost the White House and his name is George W. Bush. This is why it frequently appeared that Barack Obama was campaigning against him and not John McCain. This wasn’t just a political ploy, this was a political reality.

Bush will leave the White House as unpopular as former President Truman. In Truman’s case, historians have since concluded he was one of the best presidents we’ve had for his role in containing the spread of Soviet communism and saving Europe via the Marshall Plan. If in fifty years or so the Middle East looks different in terms of more democratic forms of government and exporting something other than terrorism and oil, Bush may be judged less harshly.

Obituaries for the Republican Party are premature. Its loss, however, was entirely predictable. Washington, D.C., no matter which party attains the reins of power, corrupts them by virtue of the enormous scale of money at stake. Politics is about money because the game in the nation’s capital is predicated on who gets to control—dare I say it—its redistribution.

This explains, for example, why my home state of New Jersey only gets 61 cents back on every dollar it sends to Washington. Life is unfair said John F. Kennedy and this is quite true when it comes to the way money is spent by the federal government. The worst of it is the mind-boggling waste of millions on programs that, once in place, never seem to end.

The Republicans, traditionally thought to be more prudent and sophisticated regarding the nation’s economy, proved to be as profligate as the widely-perceived “tax and spend” Democrats. That’s because power is a drug and an addictive one at that.

This brings us to a fundamental truth about our President-elect and the new Congress. There is going to be a lot less money available to do the many things they want. The economy has, for the near term, been ruined by the very people we sent to Washington to protect, preserve, and increase it.

The only way that the Democrat majority and White House can acquire money for their agenda or just to keep the wheels of government turning is to borrow it. This nation, however, is so deeply in debt that it needs, as much as possible, to stop borrowing. This is not going to happen. Just watch the returning Congress for a taste of what is yet to come.

Democrat policies dating back to the days of Jimmy Carter are responsible for the credit crunch and mortgage meltdown. Even the pro-Democrat Wall Street went into a slump on news of Obama’s victory. Republicans, when in power, expanded an already troubled entitlement program, Medicare, by adding a prescription program. At the behest of the President, they have engaged in a dubious war in Iraq with the Democrat votes needed to maintain it. It wasn’t until the height of the Vietnam War protests that Congress finally summoned the courage to cut off funds for it.

What America needs most is a period of rest and recuperation.

It needs to get its fiscal house in order.

It needs to reduce its military involvement in places that do not directly affect our national security.

It needs to abandon programs based on a global warming that is not happening.

It needs to tap its own extensive oil, natural gas, and coal reserves, along with building more nuclear plants for the increased electricity it will soon require and to keep its fleet of cars and trucks on its roads.

None of this will happen. An empire doesn’t work that way. It grows until it implodes. That is the history of Rome, Great Britain, France, the Russians and every other nation that exhausted itself in the quest for global hegemony.

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