Thursday, February 02, 2006

State of the Union and 2008

During the 2006 State of the Union speech, the line that got the biggest cheer from the Democrats was that Congress had not acted on Bush's proposed Social Security reform. Not only did the democrats jump to their feet and applaud, several including Hillary cheered.

Of course, Social Security is still unfunded. The day that it starts subtracting from the general fund is a year closer. Democrats tend to deny that there is a problem, insisting that a stack of IOUs is as good as cash. A few hold their hands over their ears and go "La, la, la."

Seeing that, I reluctantly became convinced that the best thing that could happen to the country, and the worst thing that could happen to the Democrats is for them to win the White House in 2008 but for Republicans to keep control of Congress.

It would have to be a Democrat who is strong on defense. Someone from the Murtha/Conyers wing would be a disaster for the world. Given that, our new president would have to work with the Republicans, at least a few, in order to get anything accomplished.

The reason that I think a Democrat would be better is that the Democrats as a whole have gone bonkers. They oppose everything that Bush proposes because he proposes it. They have closed ranks.

With a Democrat in the White House, they would have to open up again, but with Republicans still in the majority, they could not push a liberal agenda.

Now - part of the reason I would like this is because of what it does to the Democrats. The realists and the idealists tear each other apart. It happened with Clinton. He "triangulated" meaning that he found enough common ground with the Republicans to get things done. That meant that he abandoned all pretense of a liberal agenda. The far left still hates him for it. They still hate Hillary for it.

Can a moderate Democrat win? It depends.

In 2000 Democrats swallowed their pride and nominated Clinton's Vice-President. A lot of them worried that Gore would continue to triangulate. That's why Nader ran and why so many people voted for him.

In 2004 they wanted to beat Bush more than anything else so they ran a candidate they thought that regular people would vote for. When Kerry lost, many Democrats had buyer's remorse. They had bent their principles in order to win and they still lost.

They really want to win in 2008 but many Democrats want to win with a liberal/progressive candidate. These are the people who vote in the primaries and, more importantly, the caucuses. It is very possible that the Democrats will not nominate a candidate who can will.

In the meantime, Republicans finally got what they wanted - a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Republicans' secondary goals are should play well with the mainstream. These include strong defense, fiscal restraint, Social security reform and school choice.

Gay issues also play a factor and that deserves a column of its own.

So, it is very possible that we will end up with the same situation that we have now - a Republican president and congress with Democrats cheering obstructionism.

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