Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Why The Republicans Are Losing My Vote

The 2006 midterm elections are six months from today, and I'm in somewhat of a quandary. I've been a Republican my whole life; I've voted for a couple of Democrats for Senator and Governor when I was in the Navy, but Nebraska Democrats would pretty much be Republicans anywhere else. This year, though, I'm afraid I'm going to do something that I never thought would happen -- if the election were held today, I'd vote for Democrats pretty much across the board.

Normally, that's not a big deal in a non-Senatorial midterm election. This year, though, the Idaho 1st District Congressional seat is open, and if current trends continue, it could be one of the seats that decides who controls the House. I'm planning on voting for Democrat Larry Grant not only because he seems to be the best candidate, but also to send a message to the Administration and the Congressional Republicans as a whole -- you had your chance, but you screwed it up, and if you don't straighten up right away, We The People are going to replace you with someone different -- maybe not better, but they couldn't be worse.

What have the Administration and Republican legislators done to make me change my mind that Republicans are normally the best option during times of trouble? I have three main reasons: lack of competence, lack of fiscal and ethical responsibility, and most importantly, lack of steadfastness in prosecuting the War on Terror.

In the past, Republicans have been known as being more "competent" that Democrats; Dave Barry once wrote that if your car was broken down on the side of the road, a Republican would drive by without stopping; a Democrat would stop, but would accidentally burn your car to the ground in the process of trying to help. I've always thought that this was because Republicans, more interested in the "bottom line", would hire staffers based on who could do the best job, whereas Dems were driven more by ideology. The current crop of Republicans, though, seems to be just as ideologically-driven as the most progressive Dems; while Dems believe that people won't try to take advantage of you when you offer to do things for them that they should be doing for themselves, the "new Republicans" seem to operate under the assumption that it'll all work out no matter if they work hard or not, because God is on their side. I haven't seen much real-world evidence that either belief is true.

When I was at CENTCOM, I didn't work directly with the political appointees in D.C., but I worked with the people who went to meetings with them. It was then that I started realizing that the civilians we had in charge either weren't aware, or didn't care, that you couldn't just assume that "everything would work out" -- to use an old Sub Force saying, "You get what you inspect, not what you expect". The "Staffer's Hard Sayings Log" is full of examples of frustration from people trying their best to accomplish objectives that had no basis in reality, but it was something that the civilian leadership in D.C. thought would be a "good idea". That's the kind of thing you expected to have to do when Dems were in control, not Republicans -- until the last few years, at least…

Republicans currently in charge of Congress don't seem to me to be Conservative at all, if by "Conservative" you mean supporting less government intrusion in our lives and concern about increased government spending. They've run up huge deficits while arrogantly refusing to cut pork, and have no one to blame but themselves -- they control the whole budget process. Their recent attempt to "reform" ethics is, quite simply, a joke -- it's as if they don't even care that the voters know it's a sham. Why can't they even pretend to give up their boondoggle overseas "fact-finding" trips?

The last straw for me, though, is the failure of the Administration to prosecute the Global War On Terror with the level of intensity that I think is required. They started off pretty well, but somewhere they lost the way. I believed President Bush when he told the world that, "If you're not with us, you're against us". Coming up on five years later, we have the remnants of Al Qaeda's leadership hiding in NW Pakistan, and all we can do is an occasional Predator attack. I understand that it would be diplomatically difficult to get boots on the ground there, but I believe that had President Bush kept his eye on the ball, we could have convinced the Pakistani leadership to let us in. Likewise, I liked the idea of getting rid of Saddam Hussein, but the Administration's failure to understand the Arab mindset, as well as failing to adequately explain to the American people why this was important (hint: WMDs weren't the main reason, but it was the most convenient reason) was a huge missed opportunity from which it'll take a while for us to recover. Just as disappointing to me is the Republican's failure to ask those of us not on active duty (or their loved ones) to sacrifice for the war effort. The continued emphasis on tax cuts during wartime sends the exact wrong message, as well as contributing to an obscene bloating of the federal deficit.

Some might say that it would send the wrong message to our enemies to change horses in mid-stream; I say that this concern isn't valid, and here's why. Secretary Rumsfeld is right that this is going to be a long war; we can't expect to keep the same party in power for a generation or more (especially if they aren't serious about prosecuting the war). I think that when our enemies see that the Democrats are willing to continue the war (which they will; they're even more poll-driven than the Republicans, and scared to death of being seen as weak on national security) they'll come to realize that they don't just have to wait for a change in American politics. And honestly, it'll be hard for President Bush to legitimately open another front in the War. I don't think we'll have to attack Iran -- this will be a chance for a "Cold War" style victory for us in the GWOT. (We've already seen tensions between the Revolutionary Guard and regular Iranian armed forces that we should be able to exploit if we're smart.) If we do end up needing to go into Iran, I'd say that as only Nixon could go to China, only [insert Democrat's name here] could occupy Teheran -- that's political reality.

My bottom line: The Republicans currently in power have, through intellectual laziness, greed, and lack of vision, squandered an opportunity to lead the nation, and the world, into the new century. It's time for them to be pushed aside and let someone else try. And if they nominate a screwball for President in 2008 (and the Dems cast aside their recent history and nominate someone who isn't ridiculous) I could even see myself voting for a Democrat for President. I'm not there yet, but I could almost see myself going there is the Republicans don't straighten up.

Don't get me wrong; Idaho Dems aren't perfect. They have their share of moonbats, but the tin-foil hatters seem to be pretty marginalized from any actual political power; you only hear about them from their websites and on the Letters To The Editor page of the paper. Idaho Republicans, on the other hand, seem to not only listen to the black helicopter crowd, they even occasionally elect one of them to Congress. I don't want to be a part of that.

Standing by for incoming...

Update 1923 07 May: Chrys has some good thoughts she put up on her blog, and Sara mentions my post over at her place.


Blogger Alan said...

Good luck. It's nice to see a person change his mind based on reason and information. Most people simply will not critically examine their assumptions.

5/07/2006 12:56 PM

Blogger ninme said...

Well, is it a close race? See, if you want to make a principled point and it's a close race: If the Democrat is way ahead, you stay home. The Democrat will still stomp around talking about his Big Win, but the Republicans will quietly notice the missing votes. If the Republican's way ahead, you vote for the Democrat. A tighter win would light a fire under his rear end.

If it's a close race, though, it's complicated. Because the Dems want to win not because they want to fix any of the things you list, or because they want to screw those things up even more, but because they want to impeach Bush. And even a congressman from Idaho, if he has a D after his name, is going to get pulled along with that for numbers. So if you really can't stand the idea of voting for the Republican again, then I'd stay home so at least you won't have to know afterwards that you voted for the guy who's being used to impeach the president for lying and all that.

Then there are the tax cuts and all the rest of it which would be gotten rid of, screwing up the economy, but never mind all that.

5/07/2006 1:32 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Actually, the Dem candidate is really good, so I'll be voting for him rather than against the Republican. As far as tax cuts go, I'm against big tax cuts during wartime, especially if the deficits are so big.

5/07/2006 2:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, ninme, while I appreciate your comments, I hope you will take a closer look at my background and positions and make a choice based on who you think can do the best job. Do you really believe that the only reason a Dem would want to win is to impeach the President? Not this Dem. There are a lot of things wrong in Washington D. C. and we all need to get after our elected officials to fix them, but impeaching the President isn't even on my radar screen. After all, everything people are saying would be the basis for impeachment was known long before the last election and the voters decided they wanted President Bush. I believe in democracy, so that's the end of that. Do a lot of people feel betrayed? Yes, but not so much by President Bush, but by congressmen who say one thing and do another, as is currently being done today in connection with out-of-control spending, corruption and basic ineptitude. Take a closer look, then decide what you can do to get this country back on track. That's what I'm doing.

Larry Grant
Democratic Canidate
Idaho 1st Congressional District

5/07/2006 2:27 PM

Blogger saraeanderson said...

ninme, if you've got a second, I'd encourage you to check out what the Democrats have actually set out as their goals should they take the House this fall. Even amongst those who support it, impeachment isn't an end in itself, but a means to reaching other goals.

and bubblehead, welcome to the fold. Your post is a good one, and I have to say that I basically agree with everything you said - right down to the inept management of the War on Terror. This administration has betrayed both the left and the right and they don't deserve any more patience.

5/07/2006 2:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone should vote for the candidate they feel will do the best job. We should all remember that a politician's first job is to get elected, and their second job is to get reelcted. Everything else is irrelevant.

5/07/2006 6:27 PM

Blogger ninme said...

Well sir, upon the occasion of your victory at the polls, I look forward to seeing you on the floor of the House making a principled statement to that effect.

5/08/2006 12:07 AM

Blogger WillyShake said...

I commend you on your thoughtfulness; I can't really argue against your points, but I also can't let go of my suspicion that any junior Dems would feel the same temptations as the Republicans (to spend more, to be PC, etc.) and on top of that they'd be unable to stand up to the Kennedy's, Pelosi's, etc. In other words, I'm no Republican shill, and I'm sure that the day will come when the "tipping point" is reached and the Dems once again become the party of the people. I'm just not convinced that that point has been reached yet--and too many of the Dem leaders who have put politics above our national defense are still in power...I'm afraid that a vote for a Dem would be putting a vote in their pocket.

Again, I commend you on your responsible citizenship--God bless you!

5/08/2006 6:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that the Democratic Candidate can't spell "Candidate"? That's funny.

(Mr. Grant, please take this as good-natured ribbing. You'd better be ready for people to poke fun at your mistakes if you want to talk to us bubbleheads)

your daughter?

5/08/2006 7:00 AM

Blogger Skippy-san said...

Great Post! Sums up a lot of my feelings.......

5/08/2006 8:14 AM

Blogger Miss Ladybug said...

I live and vote in Texas, and I like my Republican candidates, and am fairly satisfied with their performance (particular Sen. Cornyn). In the upcoming congressional election, nothing scares me more than the Democrats taking control of the House and/or Senate because too many of the Dem leadership are out to get the President. I think not much could be worse than impeachment proceedings, which I know in my jut will take place if the Dems win a Congressional majority.

5/08/2006 9:45 AM

Blogger Julie Fanselow said...

Thank you, Bubblehead, for this insightful post. I am sure you are not the only Republican who feels abandoned by the GOP.

I am a Democrat; in fact, I manage Larry Grant's blog (and I am glad to see Larry stopped by to comment, too). I can tell you that the very thing that made me maddest about the Clinton impeachment hearings - that nothing else got done in our country for most of that year - is the very thing that would keep me from favoring impeachment action against Bush.

Now, way more so than in 1998, we have dozens of pressing problems in our country. Bush is a badly damaged lame duck, and the historians will eventually get to the bottom of the irreparable harm he's done to our country.

So I see no sense in spending time on impeachment - not when Democrats have explicitly said what they'll do on Day One of the next Congress to start setting things right: reinstate pay-as-you-go spending to reduce and ultimately eliminate Bush's deficit spending, raise the minimum wage, fix the bungled prescription drug law, and implement real homeland security reforms.

Should we have some sort of hearings to address unanswered questions into the wiretapping program and the use of faulty intelligence to start a war in Iraq? Maybe. But I am far less interested in seeking answers about past mistakes as I am in seeing Democrats get to work on building an America that works for all of us.

5/08/2006 10:57 AM

Blogger bothenook said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/08/2006 2:08 PM

Blogger bothenook said...

sorry about that, but i didn't watch what i was typing while blathering on. i have a horrible time spelling when ranting, so i figured i better bail, spell check, then repost...
that's better.

joel. i honor your politics, but i would like to add a little of mine.
the palestinians all thought they were "sending a message" to the government, and were all completely surprised that they had elected an even worse terrorist group to run their government than the one they were pissed at.
i hope we don't end up with the same voter's remorse in the coming year

on the other hand, i wish they could just sh**can the whole bunch of the thieves and idiots in DC, and bring in a whole new bunch of thieves and idiots. at least that way we might get at least a couple of them that actually care about their constituents and not about getting reelected.
me, no i'm not bitter. i have two of the worst moonbats in the senate representing me, and every candidate the repubs bring up are so odious you have to wonder if the party actually wants a win. gotta love kahlifornia. we dumped our governor, elected ahnold to make big changes, then crapped on him when he tried to do what we elected him to do.
i wonder if there are any uninhabited islands out there i can move to and be king of....

5/08/2006 2:13 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Realistically, the Dems only have a hope of winning the House. I'm thinking that divided government might not be a bad idea for a while; it'll make the Republicans know that we're pissed, but the national Democrats won't be able to get some of their wilder stuff through. As long as they fund the DoD (as I said, the Dems are scared to death of appearing weak on national security, so they will), we'll still be able to fight the war.

5/08/2006 11:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visit USNA veteran site and leave your comments on BLOG.
As soldiers we joined the military to protect our rights as Americans and protect our land and families.
It seems that now soldiers are being forced to protect Corporate interests without gratitude or proper compensation for veterans or their families. God Bless America, lets hope our leaders get us all back on the right track.

5/13/2006 10:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your comments! JMO, but in our current political arena, putting a dem in office is the very same thing as putting a repub in office. I recommend you investigate a third party.

Good to see citizens actually taking the time to reflect on issues/candidates.

10/08/2006 7:48 AM

Blogger Cameron said...

I wonder if you are satisfied with how things turned out?

3/14/2007 1:57 PM


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