Thursday, May 11, 2006

GOP deserves to lose in November?

I've voiced my frustrations with the "conservative" Republican Congress and President for a while now, specifically (among many reasons) about how they seem to have abandoned their fiscal "conservatism" roots. Well, Peggy Noonan suggests that maybe it would take a GOP loss in November to straighten them out. Preach on, sister!
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.
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.

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.
Party leaders are showing a belief in process as opposed to a belief in, say, belief. But belief drives politics. It certainly drives each party's base.

One gets the impression party leaders, deep in their hearts, believe the base is . . . base. Unsophisticated. Primitive. Obsessed with its little issues. They're trying to educate the base. But if history is a guide, the base is about to teach them a lesson instead.
Noonan can't exactly be accused of being a left-wing mouthpiece or influenced by the liberal MSM, now can she?