July 09, 2005

Elections Mean Nothing: E.J. Dionne

I nearly had a stroke when I came across the opening paragraph of E.J. Dionne's column today.

Should a temporary majority of 50.7 percent have control over the entire United States government? Should 49.3 percent of Americans have no influence over the nation's trajectory for the next generation?

Translation: "Should the mere fact that the people of the United States have elected a Republican President, a Republican majority to the Senate and a Republican majority to the House of Representatives give the Republicans the right to govern? Does the fact that in 2006, 2008, and every other even-numbered year brings the American people the opportunity to set a new course and vote differently than they have in the last several elections mean that the winners of those past elections should not be permitted to govern? Does the hope that the American people might eventually come to their senses and start voting for liberals again be sufficient reason to deny the President and the Senate majority their Constitutional perogatives today?"

Now for those of you who think may be spinning the words of Mr. Dionne in an unfair and unreasonable light, let me offer this additional excerpt to you.

Consider that since 1992 the Republican presidential vote has averaged only 44 percent and the vote for Republican House candidates has averaged roughly 48 percent. In 2004, with large margins in some of the largest states, Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate received nearly 5 million more votes than their Republican opponents.

Bu, of course, such cummulative results are not how the system works, and that they are therefore irrelevant? One could, of course point out that only two Democratpresidential candidates since the death of Franklin Roosevelt have received a majority of the presidential votes cast -- Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter -- and the Democrat candidate has averaged only 46.14% of the vote during that period. In the last 10 presidential elections, the Democrat candidate has averaged 44.56% with only one achieving a majority (Carter, with a mere 50.1 wedged between a pair of GOP landslides). The last five presidential races have seen not a single Democrat win a majority of the vote, and they have averaged only 46.89% of the total vote. As for the Senate, since the 1980 election the American people have given the Democrats a Senate majority only four times -- and not at all since the 1994 election. It would appear to me that the current configuration of government is more than a mere temporary phenomenon. Rather, it seems to be part of a broader realignment of American politics. One might wonder, however, why it is that Dionne had no problem with the ideologically left-wng appointments of Breyer and Ginsburg by Clinton -- but I suspect we all know the answer.

Now do I believe that principled opponents of an eventual Bush Supreme Court nominee ought to be ignored? No, I do not. However, it is clear that most of the left-wing groups already girding for battle are not doing so based upon principle. They are proclaiming their opposition to the eventual nominee before he or she is even named by the President. In light of the obstructionist tactics of the Democrats over the last four years, it is clear that the issue is raw politics, not principle.

And given that George W. Bush was elected after campaigning on a clear platform of nominating a certain type of judge, it strikes me as a betrayal of the will of the American electorate for there to be any sort of nominee put forth other than one with a judicial philosophy that tends towards strict constructionism in the originalist or textualist mode.

Update -- Further interesting commentary from Right Wing Nut House, Mandelinople, Discriminations, The Shape of Days,.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!

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» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval, on July 13, 2005, 04:25 AM
Excerpt: First off...  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now...  here are all the links submitted by members of the Watcher's Council for this week's vote. Council link...

» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!, on July 15, 2005, 02:54 AM
Excerpt: First off...  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are I Despair. by The Sundries Shack, a...

Comments on Elections Mean Nothing: E.J. Dionne

Thanks for the breakdown on numbers. What it made me think of is the fact that we're probably ripe for a break-off 3rd party candidacy. And it might not come from the right this time...there are enough terminally offended left wing disaffected that they could get behind, say, Howard Dean. And they are delusional enough to perhaps think they could carry the day.

I think they should be encouraged in this line of thinking.

|| Posted by dymphna, July 14, 2005 09:53 AM ||

Same-O, same-o. The debate and fiddles trying to balance between a mandated government able to act and a representational reflection of public opinion has been going on since Athens. There are various models, and none is perfect so far. Elected government seems to work about in proportion to the degree to which the voters accept responsibility for keeping themselves informed. If they go all bored, uninterested, and wobbly, then political parties resort to strange and stupid tactics and appeals to garner majorities.

That's why it's so disturbing to see the MSM dedicated to keeping the public mis- and under-informed about the real issues involved in the War On Jihadists. Maybe that change of title, from WoT to WoJ would help. Waddya think?

|| Posted by Brian H, July 16, 2005 10:33 PM ||

I have no problem with that I think we need to make it clear that we fight Islamis jihadi swine, not some nebulous threat of terror.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, July 16, 2005 11:29 PM ||
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