Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Election issues

Our friend The Friar calls attention to this piece by his friend Robert Stacey, which has elicited a response from RCP’s Tom Bevan. I must confess that I’m closer to Bevan than to Stacey on this one. The Foley affair dominated a few too many news cycles, helped give traction to a claim that hadn’t gotten much before then, and got the Republicans off message. At a time when a flawless campaign might have saved Republican majorities in both chambers, the Foley affair knocked everyone off their strides for much too long. But the fundamental national issue is national security.

And we can thank the self-important John Kerry for reminding us how unreliable a steward he would have been and, by extension, how unreliable his colleagues are.

The Republicans couldn’t ask for better opponents!

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The Contract With America when Repubs took control of Congress said this:

This year’s election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.

Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act "with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right." To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.

The Heritage Foundation had this to say at the time:

Decades from now, historians quite likely will reflect back upon the Contract With America as one of the most significant developments in the political history of the United States. As Newt Gingrich, the first Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives in 40 years, has written: "there is no comparable congressional document in our two-hundred-year history."

[..]The Contract itself emerged publicly with the staging of the mass signing of the Contract on the steps of the U.S. Capitol by 367 candidates for office on September 27, 1994. On that day, all of these candidates publicly pledged: "If we break this Contract, throw us out."

Now the criminals who have ruined the country and are so obsessed with holding onto power want to change the subject to a gaffe by someone who isn’t even running for office this year. Business as usual for the bedwetters!

As the election approaches, and with it the end of political ads and partisan posturing, perhaps ">">http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_11_06/cover.html"> this will be of interest.

Good article, Steve. Thanks for the link.

Hey, any article that mentions John T. Flynn is okay by me.

In the end, I do not think Mr. Bevan and I are far apart. And Dr. Knippenberg and I even less so. He is right on target when he observes that a flawless campaign might have saved the Republican majority. The Foley scandal, however, was certainly a flaw, and it engulfed more than just a single disgraced congressman. Perhaps Speaker Hastert and other leaders handled the affair badly, but the path out of that trouble was far from clear. Regardless, Hastert and other Republicans were weakened not only in their own races (a few of which are measurable) but in their ability to assist other campaigns with money and appearances (which less measurable but possibly more important).

I would simply suggest that the reason for most of the collateral damage is old-fashioned moral outrage. Dr. Knippenberg is right: national security is fundamental. But the electorate seems divided on the question of which party can better deliver it. Moral outrage over the Foley scandal and the Republican leadership’s handling of it seems to tip the balance.

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