9 November 2006

What a rum result

The first executive casualty has already fallen on his sword. Bush has announced Rumsfeld's resignation and replacement by a former CIA director. I doubt Runsfeld will be the last. I do not see George Bush as a guy with a lot of ticker.

The defence appointment takes away a Democratic nightmare, winning 51 seats out a hundred in the Senate, seeing Liebermann accept the post of secretary of defence, and then seeing the Republican governor of Connecticut (Liebermann's state) appoint a Republican to replace Liebermann in the Senate. The US has no equivalent of the rule in our constitution, Section 15, that senators must be replaced by a senator from the same party.

The US congress has he same structure as the Australian parliament. (No accident. Large slabs of our constitution run word for word with theirs) States get equal numbers of senators and proportionate-to-population numbers of representatives. The Senate is a tad strange. Half the Australian senate face election every 3 years. One third of the US senate face every 2 years, meaning that not all states vote for senator at each election.

The results are now fairly well-known, although I was surprised that their famous voting machines seem, if anything, to produce results at a much slower rate than our paper ballots. It's also strange to an Australian that there's no electoral commission to provide a neutral, uniform, professional electoral service on a nation-wide level. I guess that's another story.

The US media are still treating the Senate results in Virginia and Montana as open, although they're projecting Democratic wins and I suspect Australian election commentators would have already shut up shop and gone home for the night.

Last time I looked Webb, the Democrat was leading by more votes than there are left to count in Virginia. Montana, a very small state, is down to thousands of votes, but Tester, the Democrat has led every stage at the count and the chance for his opponent to overtake him is now vanishingly small. If both win, and I think they will, the numbers will be 51/49 in favour of the Democrats. 50/50 would be a Republican win because Cheney had a casting vote if there's a tie.

Bush will not be able to govern in the same way. He's already invited Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi to the White House for lunch and the Rumsfeld resignation is further evidence. I think more's happened than just the Karl Rove 'revolution' coming to an end.

Rove and Bush thought they'd set up a permanent Republican majority. That prospect is now dead. A couple of fairly startling numbers. 1/3 of white evangelicals, the base of all bases to the Bush administration, voted Democrat. In a wide zone from Maine to Indiana the Republicans were defending 21 marginal seats and lost 21. In the Senate as a whole, the Republicans were defending 13 marginal states and lost 11. The Democrats have not lost a single senator, governor or representative. Democrat representatives and senators have been elected, especially in the West from places that yesterday were counted as solidly Republican. The very small and very Republican state of South Dakota threw out a restrictive abortion law in an initiative referendum. Arizona threw out a referendum to ban gay marriage. Perhaps they felt Mark Foley and Ted Haggert should have the right to marry.

The only significant Republican win of the night was Scharzenegger's re-election as governor of California and it's notable that Schwarzenegger ran on a very unBush platform. This is the kind of election it can take decades to recover from.

I think this means that one or both of Bush and Cheney will face impeachment in the next 2 years. I do not think the Democrats who now control Congress are setting out to impeach. I do think their new investigative powers are going to reveal incompetence, corruption and deception on such a massive scale that impeachment now become unavoidable.

In talking about US politics, it's been a truism for several years that the party of Abraham Lincoln, the Republicans, has become the party of Jefferson Davis, who was the confederate president during the Civil War. Nixon set up the southern strategy, a dog-whistle appeal to southern working class whites to vote Republican. Since 1968 the Solid South has gone from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican.

On the other hand, maybe the country, if not the party, of Lincoln remains the same. You really cannot fool all of the people all of the time.


Anonymous said...

I don't think Lieberman was going to take the post if it was offered to him. Already, the Democrats were trying to smooth over things in Connecticut and he said he'd remain and caucus with the Dems.

Though Arizona might have voted it down, in the other states they voted to ban gay marriage and some even civil unions.

One thing that has been overlooked is that the complete annihilation of the liberal Republican is near so there won't be so much bipartisanship with a Democratic president.

The Democrats have in some states for the election gotten moderate Republicans to defect because of the dominance of the Religious Right. I was reading about Kansas being an example. But even Webb was an ex-Reagan Administration official.

We don't know yet whether it means a more conservative Democratic Party or not. The Nation claims it's about the Democrats returning to populist themes which to an extent quite was true with minimum wage and Iraq being major issues.

Causal said...

Take a moment, and help convince Nancy Pelosi to Impeach..

The day the nation demands impeachment is upon us. Sacks and sacks of mail are about to arrive in Nancy Pelosi's office initiating impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635).

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

That's where we come in. In addition to a House Resolution (635), or the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. ImpeachforPeace.org has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.

You can initiate the impeachment process and simultaneously help to convince Pelosi to follow through with the process. Do-It-Yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in. Be a part of history.