/* ------------------- begin IP Block script ------------------- Block IP address script Points to php script on blog.racetotheright.com IP addresses are within the script ---------- */ /* -------------------- end IP Block script ------------------- */

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Having power causes you to lose power

--posted by Tony Garcia on 5/11/2006

Sadly KTLK has taken Glenn Beck off of their M-F lineup. Too bad because he has been saying for months what Peggy Noonan says in her recent Wall Street Journal column.
What's behind the president's, and the Congressional Republicans', poll drop? All the bad news that's been noted, from Iraq and Katrina to high spending and immigration. What's behind the bad decisions made in those areas? Detachment from the ground.

Power is distancing.

When you've been in Congress for a while, or the White House for a while, you both forget too many things and learn too many things.

You forget why they sent you. You forget it's not that you're charming and wonderful. You forget it's not you. You become immersed in a Washington conversation, a political conversation, that is, by definition, unlike the normal human conversation back home. To survive and thrive, national politicians have to speak two languages, Here and Home. Actually it's more than two languages, it's two cultures. It's hard to straddle cultures.

But even as you forget a lot, you learn a lot. You get crammed into your head the political realities on the ground around you--how big the minority Democratic bloc in the House really is, how many votes the other team has in what committee, where to go for legal money, how the press will react to any given decision or statement.

In time you know a lot of things the people who sent you to Washington don't know. And you come to forget what they do know. It used to be easy for you to remember that, because it's what you knew too.
When the GOP is talking about 'maybe we should try to cut taxes' instead of 'maybe we should cut spending' you know they are gaining distance from their base. The immigration issue is another example.
But it's also true that the administration and the Congress are losing their base, and it isn't because of the media. Republicans on the ground love to defy the MSM. When the media dislike their guy, they take it as proof their guy is good.
Yep, you got that right. (This is not a dig at her so shut the hell up...) The speeches at the 6th CD convention for Bachmann were exactly echoing this. 'They hate her so she must be good.' They hate many people with a wide range of goodness and badness. From Hitler to Reagan to religion to American xenophobes (they love non-American xenophobes, though). Yep, from evil to greatness to good and bad they (the MSM) hate many. The MSM hating something does not make it a good thing. People need to look at the subject instead of the common enemies.

In fact, the whole enemy of my enemy is my friend is a bad thing. I have been guilty of it recently, I admit...but that is a subject for a different post after more reflection.

So, if the media hates someone they are not necessarily good. That is problem #1 with the GOP slide. Noonan continues:
But faith in political action has been damaged the past few years, not by outside forces but by the two major political parties themselves.

If you are a normal person with the normal amount of political awareness, you might see it this way:

The Republicans talk about cutting spending, but they increase it--a lot. They stand for making government smaller, but they keep making it bigger. They say they're concerned about our borders, but they're not securing them. And they seem to think we're slobs for worrying. Republicans used to be sober and tough about foreign policy, but now they're sort of romantic and full of emotionalism. They talk about cutting taxes, and they have, but the cuts are provisional, temporary. Beyond that, there's something creepy about increasing spending so much and not paying the price right away but instead rolling it over and on to our kids, and their kids.

So, the normal voter might think, maybe the Democrats. But Democrats are big spenders, Democrats are big government, Democrats will roll the cost onto our kids, and on foreign affairs they're--what? Cynical? Confused? In a constant daily cringe about how their own base will portray them? All of the above.
I could not agree more than I already do. She hits it out of the park with this analysis.
Where does such a voter go, and what does such a voter do? It is odd to live in the age of options, when everyone's exhausted by choice, and feel your options for securing political progress are so limited. One party has beliefs it doesn't act on. The other doesn't seem to have beliefs, only impulses.

What's a voter to do? Maybe stay home, have the neighbors over for some barbecue, and then answer the phone when a pollster calls asking for a few minutes to answer some questions. When they get to the part about whether America is on the right track or the wrong track, boy, the voter knows the answer.

Congressional Republicans right now seem just like the liberal Republicans of the great Losing Era of Republican history, circa 1960-80. All the Republican congressmen in those days had good beliefs, and shared them at the Rotary luncheon back home. The government was getting too big and taxes were too high. Then they'd go back to Washington and vote for higher spending and higher taxes. But not as high as the Democrats, they'd point out. Their job was to stand athwart history and cry, "Please slow down just a little bit!"
Sounds like what Pawlenty and the state House are doing also. A $1 Billion bonding proposal from the Governor's office to start with this year? C'mon. 60% of transportation allocation proposed to go to rail...from the roads, roads, roads governor? C'mon.
A reporter told me a story a few weeks ago. He was at a meeting with an important Republican congressman. Talk turned to the upcoming 2006 elections. The congressman argued it will be better for the Republicans than people think; they'll hold the House. He said they are better at getting the vote out. He made the case for this based on turnout figures in 2002 and 2004. They have more money. He made the case for this assertion too. And they have a message. The reporter who was there said later he noticed the oddest thing. Under "message" his notes were blank. He couldn't really remember what the congressman said.

No wonder. How could they have a message if they've lost their meaning?

The oddest thing about Republicans and Democrats in power is that they always know the technical facts, always know about fund raising, always know what the national committee is saying about getting turnout. But so often they don't know the message or even have a message. Which is funny, because they're in the message business. They're like shoemakers who make pretty shoeboxes but forget to make the shoes.
I sure don't know what the future holds in November but it is a growing sense from commentators that the GOP blew their chance in power and 2006 will be a bad year. Statewide the GOP has missed the chance to BE what they will claim they are. Nationally time is running out to prove they will act in the manner that they campaign on.

The nation's ideologies are like a pendulum. While I would like to see it continue to the right much longer than the 45 years it went to the left I am realistic to realize that those in power blew their chance. Temporary tax cuts are not tax cuts...they are TEMPORARY tax cuts. Immigration...what have they done except thwart the citizens who are doing what the Feds are not. War on terror...stagnated, methinks, if Iran is still puffing their chest and not much is being done. Spending...it just is not going up as fast, but it sure is not getting smaller at all.

Blown opportunities mark the past few years. What would be nice is if for the next 6 years 100% of the office holders lost their elections. Maybe then the politicians will pay attention to the people they left behind on their first innauguration.


Post a Comment

<< Home