Monday, November 06, 2006

Better a Yellow Dog Than a Republican

Just to show that I am not totally out of touch with current events, we take a break from our usually scheduled discussion of humanitarian intervention to talk about tomorrow's election.

It is the usual American practice to vote the individual, not the party, and to decide based largely on local issues. That rule is coming undone. It frayed somewhat in 1994 with the Contract With America, in which the Republicans presented a well publicized party platform (widely regarded as a campaign gimmick) and called on Americans to vote generic Republican to protest Clinton and the Democratic Congress.

Democrats do not have a platform (a useless gesture, since George Bush would veto it anyway), but they are calling on people to vote Democrat to protest George Bush and a corrupt Republican Congress. More than any mid-term election I can recall (including 1994), this one is truly national and is truly about the party rather than the individual.

George Bush has started a needless war in Iraq and then proceeded to botch it; he has trampled on basic liberties in the name of fighting terrorism; he has treated all dissent as treason; he has shown himself to be utterly incompetent to manage the job. The Republican Congress has let him get away with it all. A Democratic Congress can at least hope to block some of his worst initiatives and force him to negotiate across the aisle instead of constantly pandering to his base.

Of course, individual Democrats can bolt their party and support Bush laws. But Democratic control of at least one house will determine who the officers are -- who is floor leader, who assigns bills to committees where they live or die, who pushes legislation through and, above all, who chairs the committees where the real power is. Control of Congressional committees is the key to investigating what Bush has been up to for the past six years, and exposing him is the key to curbing his abuses.

And that is why I say, in this election, be un-American. Vote for Congress based on national, not local, considerations. Vote the party, not the individual. And vote for the local Democrat, any Democrat, even a yellow dog. I never thought I would say such a thing, but our country's future may depend on it.


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