I make no claims to be a political expert. But, what the heck, I make no claims to be an expert of any kind, yet I've been posting on this silly blog for over a year now. So, obviously, credentials, at least my own, don't mean just a whole lot to me.
With that said, I wanted to weigh in regarding the momentous domestic political events of the week. Tuesday's elections have obviously wrought enormous changes on the national and local fronts (although, it must be said, not so much at the state level in Texas). Everyone's got some opinions on recent happenings. Here are mine.
On the national level, this shift was probably overdue. If the Dems had fielded a better presidential candidate than John "I'm So Out of Touch, I Can't Even Correctly Tell a Joke to a Tame Audience" Kerry in 2004, there might well have been a Democratic sweep in that election. However, they didn't and the electorate had to wait another two years.
The Iraq war is clearly the galvanizing issue, probably the most galvanizing issue since Vietnam, and the level of Republican bungling here is staggering. We (the collective "we") have managed to piss away the good will of the entire world for not much, if any, return. On Sept 12th, 2001, the US, and George W. Bush, had more moral authority on the world stage than any nation or leader since at least 1918, and probably more than anyone, anywhere, ever. And look where we are now.
Tragic. Reprehensible. The biggest wasted opportunity in the history of the world, and that's not mere hyperbole. Name a bigger one.
I probably should remind you that I am a Republican.
So, 5+ years down the road, we are where we are, and it comes as no surprise the Republicans have lost both Houses of Congress. Deservedly so.
The President reacted in a way which surprised me. The firing of Rumsfeld was the right thing to do, and the right response to Tuesday's GOP debacle. It indicated, to me at least, the President is willing to listen a bit, work towards the center a bit. These are signs we've not seen since he left Austin. If I'm reading it correctly, this is encouraging as heck. Those traits, listening and working towards the center, were the traits GWB displayed as Governor, and were the traits which made him a very good Governor. They are the traits I thought I was voting for back in 2000.
I don't know what the answer is in Iraq. But I feel better about us moving towards an answer now than I have in quite some time.
At the state level, at least in Texas, it's status quo and no surprise there. Rick Perry, who seems to think he's gonna be a Vice Presidential candidate in 2008, is not much of a Governor, but his opposition was far too fragmented to pose a serious threat. With no Carol Strayhorn in the race, and no time-waste from Kinky Friedman, Chris Bell might have had enough to pull it off. However, with the anti-Perry crowd pulled in three different directions, Governor Good-Hair was left with a clear path back to office.
On the local level, at least in Dallas (which is not where I vote), there were HUGE changes. Dallas has been a conservative, business-oriented city forever, but that is changing. The main reason for the change, and the Democrats resounding victory, in my opinion, is the completely-out-of-control crime rate and the seemingly non-stop series of scandals and foul ups coming out of the Dallas Police Dept, DISD, and the Dallas City Council. I think people looked at their ballots, saw lots of incumbent Republicans in the DA's office, in courtrooms, and in other positions of authority, and those people said to themselves, "Well, whatever they're doing, it ain't working", so they just voted the other way.
So, all this leaves us at a major turning point both nationally and locally. Can the Dems capitalize on their new status? Can we make some constructive progress towards solving some of the problems we face? I dunno, but it was clearly time for a change, and change brings opportunity.
It's a start.