Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Thoughts

You can't find election analysis like this anywhere on the web....because you can find much better analysis just about anywhere you look! But I'm going to share my thoughts anyway.

The Good

There's just so much: We won the House! We won the Senate!!! Rummy's gone!!!!!! Richard Pombo defeated. The South Dakota abortion ban goes down hard. Conrad Burns and Man-on-Dog Santorum no longer polluting the floor of the Senate. Minimum wage hikes passed across the country. I could go on and on. Let's just say it's the best election since 1992.

The Bad

A few things.

Racism works. Bob Corker proved that. It's still an effective political strategy. It worked for Bush Sr. against Dukakis. It worked for Jesse Helms against Harvey Gantt. And it worked for Bob Corker against Harold Ford. This is still an awfully racist nation.

The bans on gay marriage that passed in most states--though not in Arizona! I wonder how long it will take for these bands to be overturned--so many young people, even conservatives, just don't care about gay marriage. I'm thinking they'll be a pretty big shift toward acceptance of at least civil unions in about 20 years.

It seems that my district, New Mexico's 1st, has reelected Heather Wilson again. Patricia Madrid seemed like a good candidate at first. Then she had to debate. Oh boy was that bad. Heather is beatable but she's also tough and savvy.

The Democratic Party is basically beholden to Joe Lieberman now. That is going to be severely irritating.

What now

This is what I think is interesting. Assuming that we win the Senate and the House, and that Lieberman stays with the Dems, we can do a lot. Or at least, we can force W to veto good bills.

The first thing that we should do is pass a comprehensive minimum wage law immediately raising the wage to around $7.50. We don't allow any ridiculuous riders like eliminating the estate tax. Just a straight bill. This is clearly popular around the country, considering that even conservative states voted for similar measures last night. Force Bush to either sign it and piss off his business friends or veto it and show the country that the Republican Party doesn't care about working class people.

The second thing we should do is pass some bills fully funding the Veterans Affairs Department, tying repealing some of Bush's tax cuts to funding veteran benefits. I have argued here before that Democrats should push to take care of returning veterans, not force them to pay for their meals while wounded, etc. Make the Republicans decide here between their tax cuts for the rich and taking care of soldiers. Establish the Democrats as the party that truly supports the military.

Third, work for some kind of immigration plan that gives immigrants labor and human rights while not forcing them to cross the Sonoran Desert in June. While I'm uncomfortable with a guestworker program that doesn't give workers the option to stay here and that smacks of the Bracero Program of the middle of the 20th century, anything is better than what stands now. Plus, it will help seal the deal between Latino voters and the Democratic Party.

Then, investigate the hell out of Iraq. The Democrats get a bit of a pass here because Iraq policy will still mostly come out of the White House. It's still George Bush's war, at least for 2 more years. Make them answer questions. Force every planner of this war to testify before the House and Senate. Show the perfidy behind this whole operation.

There's a lot more too--but I think this is a good start.