Thursday, November 09, 2006


Accountability Election

With the claiming of the Virginia seat by Jim Webb (pending the completion of "canvassing" of all votes), the rout of the GOP in DC is complete.

Ffew tears here being shed.

Ideally, I would have liked to have seen Republicans hold onto the Senate by a vote or two because of the judicial appointments power. But that was about the only thing to recommend retention of Republican power.

This was a majority that was as ineffective as it was arrogant as it was corrupt. True, the corruption was primarily ingrained in the House, but considering that Conrad Burns was also
on the Jack Abramoff payroll, Bill Frist was under SEC scrutiny over possible insider trading and Ted Stevens was a poster child for earmark abuse, it's quite obvious that this was a bi-cameral problem for Republicans.

a wise soul wrote some two years ago about the problem of lack of accountability in a one-party town.

Ultimately, on both foreign and domestic policy, the public's trust has been betrayed. Why should the public trust its leaders with future policy if those leaders deceive and manipulate the people's elected representatives to get a favored policy passed? If the American public and the world at large now react skeptically to future presidential claims that the United States faces a foreign threat, who can blame them?


It would be wonderful to believe the president's promise that the war in Iraq will lead to democracy in a troubled region. An immigrant--I was born in the West Indies--tends to absorb the earnest, spiritual myths of his adopted nation even more than those native-born. Democracy is indeed a human value. But initiating a war to "liberate" an entire region far from our shores can hardly be called a conservative cause. It will be impossible to restrain a government kept on a permanent war footing. And, in liberty's name abroad, liberty at home will inevitably be compromised. It already has been.

No, a Kerry administration would not be any conservative's ideal. But, on limited government, a Democratic president would, arguably, force a Republican Congress to act like a Republican Congress. The last such combination produced some form of fiscal sanity. And, when it comes to accountability, one could hardly do worse. Of course, a conservative can still cast a libertarian vote on principle.

At crucial points before and after the Iraq war, Bush's middle managers have failed him, and the "brand" called America has suffered in the world market. In any other corporate structure plagued by this level of incompetence, the CEO would have a choice: Fire his middle managers or be held personally accountable by his shareholders. Because of his own misguided sense of "loyalty," Bush won't dismiss anyone. That leaves the country's shareholders little choice.
What occurred during this past election operated on the same principle outlined above. The GOP Congress failed in its constitutional responsibility to have legitimate oversight of the executive. The end result of this election is that the Republican Congress is being held accountable both for its ethical failings as well as its constitutional ones.

Now, divided-government partisan oversight is not pretty: Often it is just a lot of witch-hunts. But many times it produces a real honest accounting and brings to light inappropriate behavior.

Now, a Democratic Congress will be asking some questions on contracting, lobbying and just regular bureaucratic decisions that the GOP Congress could have asked -- but chose not too.

Indeed, if any example of that were needed, Republicans provided it on the eve of the election, as
they pass legislation to close down the Iraq auditor's office. Insane.

Let's hope the GOP manages to regain its soul over the next couple of years, so it can make a comeback and send politicians to Washington who are committed to changing the culture rather than being absorbed by it.

UPDATE: A classy concession from Allen (though John Warner's introduction began to seem like he was going to concede for Allen).

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