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Election 2006: Some in GOP still don't get it
Arizona Daily Star ^ | 12/11/2006 | Staff

Posted on 12/11/2006 11:06:46 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez

Our view: In Arizona and nationwide, voters rejected rigid ideologues in favor of those who promised moderation, dialogue.

The picture that emerged from last month's elections, at both the state and the federal level, showed a majority of voters weary of hard-line, intransigent ideologues on the far right.

We know that, because voters turned both houses of Congress over to the Democrats and for the first time in many years gave Democrats 27 of the 60 seats seats in the Arizona House of Representatives.

They also re-elected Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, giving her a 27 percentage point victory over her ultra-conservative challenger, Republican Len Munsil.

And so there is some irony, to put it kindly, in the comments from some Republicans who believe the party suffered because its candidates were not conservative enough. That line of thinking suggests that what voters really wanted were tougher, more rigid conservatives. If that were true, then candidates like Republican Randy Graf, an aggressive conservative who was running for Congress in District 8, should have trounced his Democratic opponent, Gabrielle Giffords. But the opposite happened. Voters told Graf to take a hike and sent Giffords to Washington.

It is remarkable, then, to hear Republicans like Bill Montgomery, who did so poorly in his race against Attorney General Terry Goddard, declare: "The Republican Party took a hit because we strayed from the principles that make our party so strong and that serve to unify our membership, which consists predominantly of fiscal and social conservatives."

This is the same as saying Republican conservatives should stick to the principles that made them unpopular and that voters, for the most part, rejected.

Montgomery was quoted by reporter Daniel Scarpinato in a Star story last Wednesday. We are more inclined to agree with Steve Huffman, a Republican moderate who ran a primary against Graf and lost.

"I think the most important conversation we have to have right now is: 'Are we where the voters are?' " Huffman said.

It's an important, practical question that suggests that candidates should be responsive to voters' concerns. It makes perfect sense, and if other Republicans were to accept reality they would see that there was nothing mysterious about the election results. Voters rejected the fringes and moved toward the political center. The Republicans in District 8 who rejected Huffman didn't get it.

Many of them would undoubtedly agree with Montgomery, a political novice, who told Scarpinato, "I've always had a problem with the term 'moderate.' If you always take the middle ground, I don't see how that's a virtue. That's not leadership."

On the contrary, we would say that it is both a sign of leadership and a necessary asset to realize the wisdom in compromising on 10 or 20 percent of the issues in order to achieve success on 80 percent of the others.

Compromise is not a dirty word, nor is it fatal to try to understand another viewpoint in the hope of negotiating an issue that gives both sides some of what they're seeking. A case can be made that compromise is a sign of wisdom and maturity.

The point that hard-liners like Montgomery miss is that public service does not require rigid adherence to a personal ideological agenda. It requires an ability to remain flexible enough to respond to the people who elected you as their representative, not their emperor.

Failure to accept the fundamental message of the last election will eventually dilute Republican power at the state level as sure as it has at the national level. Voters want a change, not a restatement of the same old manifesto.


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: election2006; gop; rinos
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The GOP's most important question in the upcoming years:

"'Are we where the voters are?'

1 posted on 12/11/2006 11:06:48 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez
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To: Howlin; nopardons; onyx; Cold Heat

**PING**


2 posted on 12/11/2006 11:07:41 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

You can try to figure out where the votes are, and position yourself there, or you can try to persuade the voters. To do neither is a losing strategy.


3 posted on 12/11/2006 11:09:41 PM PST by marron
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To: marron

What we learned from this past election, is that the votes that win elections are in the center.


4 posted on 12/11/2006 11:11:02 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: All

This is all silliness. The exit polls already answered this question. The voters were asked the most important issue that drove their vote that day.

It was not abortion. It was not guns. It was not immigration. It was not the economy and It Was Not IRAQ.

It was corruption scandals. Period. Full stop.

There is no ideological message whatsoever to be found in the election. None. It does not say you need to move to the right. It does not say you need to move to the left.

It says only that the GOP should not have had corruption scandals. Get rid of them, find some dirt on the Dems and get explicit indictments, and it all turns around without the party moving in either direction.


5 posted on 12/11/2006 11:12:51 PM PST by Owen
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To: Luis Gonzalez
picture that emerged from last month's elections, at both the state and the federal level, showed a majority of voters weary of hard-line, intransigent ideologues on the far right.

Oh please, spare me this deranged spew. If only the GOP were more "far right" and ideological. If they were, we wouldn't have had massive spending and unsecured borders. And somehow I doubt voters would send a message about being against "instransigent ideologues" by voting for the worst ideologues ever to populate Congress in the form of Pelosi and her far left extremist pathological, stand for nothing, agendless, visionless caucus.

But this writer knows damned good and well voters voted the way they did because the media portrayed for them one side of American's condition domestically and its position in the world and on Iraq, all of it negative, while reporting nothing about a record economy or the success we've had fighting terrorism and rebuilding Iraq. That is the long and the short if this election and this writer knows it because he/she/it helped to brainwash voters into voting against the president and party who helped give them the best conditions they've enjoyed in a long, long time. It's hardly as this delusional idiot claims that voters were voting against partisan extremes by voting for extreme partisans. Give me a break.

6 posted on 12/11/2006 11:15:40 PM PST by MikeA (Where's the media to call the elections a "temper tantrum" by America like they did in 1994?)
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To: Luis Gonzalez


Hi ya Luis!


7 posted on 12/11/2006 11:16:00 PM PST by onyx (Phillip Rivers, LT and the San Diego Chargers! WOO-HOO!)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

"On the contrary, we would say that it is both a sign of leadership and a necessary asset to realize the wisdom in compromising on 10 or 20 percent of the issues in order to achieve success on 80 percent of the others."

You know, moderate Republicans love to tell us conservatives to compromise on that 10 to 20% in order to get 80%, but they never deliver even 10 or 20% of the 80% they promise. I'm looking but I don't see no stinking 80% of fiscal restraint and small government ANYWHERE.


8 posted on 12/11/2006 11:16:37 PM PST by CitizenUSA
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To: Luis Gonzalez
What we learned from this past election, is that the votes that win elections are in the center.

What I relearned and had reconfirmed from this past election is that Americans are generally politically ignorant and really do not have a great deal of decent choices.

It's all theatre.

9 posted on 12/11/2006 11:19:18 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: Owen
find some dirt on the Dems

You don't have to look very hard for that, unless you're relying on the MSM: Rep. William Mollahon, Rep. William Jefferson, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Senator Harry Reid, etc. But the media all ignored these scandals to focus solely on the GOP's indiscretions, nearly all of whom resigned while the above named Demo Low Lives won re-election and are still in Congress. THAT is why the GOP paid the price for ethics in this election while the Dems. had theirs utterly ignored and were rewarded with Congressional control instead. We live in a country that's now a combination of Orwell and Alice in Wonderland.

10 posted on 12/11/2006 11:19:38 PM PST by MikeA (Where's the media to call the elections a "temper tantrum" by America like they did in 1994?)
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To: MikeA
You hit that one on the head.
11 posted on 12/11/2006 11:19:45 PM PST by samm1148 (Pennsylvania-They haven't taxed air--yet)
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To: MikeA; Luis Gonzalez

Great post


12 posted on 12/11/2006 11:20:45 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
"'Are we where the voters are?'

Oh by all means let's do follow the mob. After all, there's no way all those people could be wrong is there.

And besides, it's not the job of elected leaders to, well, lead. They've got to follow the whims of the majority and make sure they get what they want.

Then they've got to see that they get it good and hard.

L

13 posted on 12/11/2006 11:22:02 PM PST by Lurker (Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
We are more inclined to agree with Steve Huffman, a Republican moderate...

It never fails to irritate me to see the tendentious use of "moderate"--as, for instance, in "moderate Republican" or (as used here, the obverse) "Republican moderate."

In such expressions, the writer (or speaker) invariably considers the noun to be something of disrepute; the adjective "moderate" confers upon it an aura of semi-respectability.

It is, of course, enormously condescending. Better to be openly despised than to be treated as a credit to one's kind...such as it is.

14 posted on 12/11/2006 11:23:43 PM PST by AmericanExceptionalist (Democrats believe in discussing the full spectrum of ideas, all the way from far left to center-left)
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To: MikeA

People are not as stupid as you claim that they are.

People know that the economy is good, and they know that the war is not as good as they hoped it would be.

Kid yourself if you want, just be ready to watch years of DNC control of government if you do.


15 posted on 12/11/2006 11:25:22 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
There is nothing in this fluffy editorial that supports the idea that the nation is searching high and low for people who want to make deals on principles for the sake of national unity. That's the kind of empty talk that comes from people who have been on the short end of power for over a decade and want to get back on top, not from people who have a vision of what should actually be happening and a plan to accomplish it.

As has been illustrated ad nauseam for the past six years, nearly every attempt at bipartisanship by the Bush White House has been met with cries that it wasn't nearly enough (prescription drugs, No Child Left Behind, etc). Ironically, the one compromise that Bush did that was truly Solomonesque -- allowing Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research for the first time, but only on existing lines -- has become a rallying point for the Democrats because Bush refused to allow human beings at their earliest stage to be treated like rats bred for lab experiments.

If the question is "'Are we where the voters are?'" why don't YOU, Luis, tell us where YOU think they are -- and what the GOP has to do to meet them. And none of this bullschtuff about not being ideologues or being open to dialogue, because that's the kind of nonsense that led to that worthless Iraq Study Group report. Be specific, if you actually have issues that pique you. Let's see if you're up to the task.

16 posted on 12/11/2006 11:25:43 PM PST by L.N. Smithee ("Bipartisanship...has become a higher value than justice..." - Bill Bennett on the Iraq Study Group)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

LOL, I couldn't get past the first line, which was, of course, a baldfaced lie.


17 posted on 12/11/2006 11:26:12 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Luis Gonzalez
I think the Republicans lost for a simple reason - they became what they beheld. They promised smaller, cleaner government, which would deal harshly with America's enemies and be strong on protecting the country. In delivery, the Republicans were only a slight improvement on what the Democrats would have done - they had a twinge of conscience as they mercilessly expanded government, formed a cabal to make President Bush treat terrorist prisoners better, and failed to grapple with illegal immigration comprehensively.

By their own yardstick, the Republicans did not achieve their objectives. The remedy available to voters was to put the other fellow in - many of them were lulled by the fact that "Blue Dog" Democrats claimed to share their values. It was a lie, of course.

Regards, Ivan

18 posted on 12/11/2006 11:29:17 PM PST by MadIvan (I aim to misbehave.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

"The center" = the ignorant, mindless, soundbite-susceptible chattering class.
Yeah, let's go there.


19 posted on 12/11/2006 11:30:26 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Owen

Of course the DNC has scandals, but social conservatives reject even the mere mention of impropriety even as its leadership is mired in it.

On the other hand, the DNC says "so what, we're only human?", and the voters accept them.

The long and the short, if you're going to set yourself up as the party of family values and morals, you best hold up to scrutiny.

I admire Bill Bennett, but it's unfortunate that the man who wrote a book called "Virtues" turns out to have a problem with gambling.


20 posted on 12/11/2006 11:32:02 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

Which ones?


21 posted on 12/11/2006 11:32:30 PM PST by jwh_Denver (Until Republicans learn why they lost the election they will continue to lose them)
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To: AmericanExceptionalist
It never fails to irritate me to see the tendentious use of "moderate"--as, for instance, in "moderate Republican" or (as used here, the obverse) "Republican moderate." In such expressions, the writer (or speaker) invariably considers the noun to be something of disrepute; the adjective "moderate" confers upon it an aura of semi-respectability.

"Moderate" needs to be removed from our society...... that and Matthew Lesko.

22 posted on 12/11/2006 11:32:54 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: Lancey Howard

Yeah..they love you too, and will make damned sure that no one who even remotely thinks like you do gets in office for years to come.

Meanwhile, understand this...you can't win elections without them.


23 posted on 12/11/2006 11:33:33 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez; MikeA

You missed his point.


24 posted on 12/11/2006 11:34:34 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: Lurker
"Oh by all means let's do follow the mob."

"Let's?"

You're a Republican?

25 posted on 12/11/2006 11:35:26 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: jwh_Denver

The center.


26 posted on 12/11/2006 11:35:52 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: beyond the sea

I doubt it.


27 posted on 12/11/2006 11:36:27 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Lancey Howard

Right on.


28 posted on 12/11/2006 11:37:14 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
I really didn't think I'd need to identify obvious sarcasm as such to you Luis.

What you're proposing is that the Republican Party follow the dictates of a mob.

It's beyond pathetic. It's frightening.

L

29 posted on 12/11/2006 11:37:22 PM PST by Lurker (Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.)
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To: MikeA
"If they were, we wouldn't have had massive spending and unsecured borders."

Reagan had massive spending and signed am amnesty.

Not a conservative?

30 posted on 12/11/2006 11:38:10 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

If you are not in the center, your choice is to move to a center you don't agree with, be displaced by the politicians who do agree with the center, or try and persuade people you are right. Centers can move, and do move over time, as people are persuaded, and as reality imposes its own corrective.

Elections are decided by the Oprah-watchers, the people in the middle. If you can reach them, persuade them, inspire them, you'll have a long career in public service. If you can't, if you lack the talent for shaping the public debate and find yourself forever chasing the debate rather than framing its terms, you'll soon be back home doing whatever it is that ex-politicians do.

Your challenge, in reaching out to the center, is that you are trying to persuade people who have only the dimmest idea what you are talking about, and you've got 5 seconds to explain it before they click you off. The day you find yourself on "The View" trying to explain your plans for post-war reconciliation in the middle east, or the day you find yourself on Oprah trying to explain how you intend to decrease government intrusion into private business, you either knock it out of the park, or you start shopping your resume around the lobby firms you know who might be hiring.


31 posted on 12/11/2006 11:39:10 PM PST by marron
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To: Luis Gonzalez
I admire Bill Bennett, but it's unfortunate that the man who wrote a book called "Virtues" turns out to have a problem with gambling.

Any intelligent voter in this country shouldn't be at all effected by Bill Bennett and his gambling exploits.

That's Gorgonzola.

32 posted on 12/11/2006 11:39:50 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
The Arizona Red Star could not hide its glee the voters are moving towards Communism.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

33 posted on 12/11/2006 11:40:16 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

I don't.


34 posted on 12/11/2006 11:40:40 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

The center will swing to a good leader. Reagan proved that.


35 posted on 12/11/2006 11:41:19 PM PST by jwh_Denver (Until Republicans learn why they lost the election they will continue to lose them)
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To: Lurker

ditto


36 posted on 12/11/2006 11:41:27 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez; Clintonfatigued; JohnnyZ; AuH2ORepublican; Kuksool; BlackElk; calcowgirl; AntiGuv; ..

This piece is a load of crap. Conservatism didn't lose, the Republican party lost. Want to see where Liberal Republicanism gets us ? Take a look at California, Illinois, New Jersey, New England. The party continues to slip away there because there is little to nothing to distinguish them from the 'Rats, either ideologically or ethically.


37 posted on 12/11/2006 11:42:36 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (Cheney X -- Destroying the Liberal Democrat Traitors By Any Means Necessary -- Ya Dig ? Sho 'Nuff.)
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To: Lurker

In order to keep Democrats out of power, you need to get Republicans elected, and the pure and simple truth is that neither Party's base is sufficient unto themselves to get their politicians elected, and until you show me a viable third party candidate, that's not an option either.

Twelve years ago, the center rolled right and threw the Democrats out of power this time they rolled left and threw the GOP out.

I can't advance any ideology with the opposition in power.


38 posted on 12/11/2006 11:44:06 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: beyond the sea
What I relearned and had reconfirmed from this past election is that Americans are generally politically ignorant...

I wish I could disagree with you on this point. Sadly, I cannot.

Far too often I have heard person-on-the-street interviews conducted by Sean Hannity or Jay Leno. (Okay, so the two are hardly analogous, but they have both done such interviews.) Incredibly elementary questions (e.g. "Who is Condoleezza Rice?" or--I'm not making this up--"Who is the vice-president?" tend to provoke blank stares or wild guesses.

Bear in mind, the votes of such ill-informed souls--because there are apparently so many of them--more than negate the votes of those who take the trouble to at least master the basics.

39 posted on 12/11/2006 11:44:38 PM PST by AmericanExceptionalist (Democrats believe in discussing the full spectrum of ideas, all the way from far left to center-left)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

The person/people that wrote this article don't have a damn clue as to what they're talking about. Instead, what they've written is merely what they wish to be true.


40 posted on 12/11/2006 11:44:40 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Right


41 posted on 12/11/2006 11:46:01 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

We seated one of the most conservative presidents in recent history in 2000, and he could not hold Congress.

Conservatism lost.


42 posted on 12/11/2006 11:46:32 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
No - the RINOs lost.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

43 posted on 12/11/2006 11:47:53 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: MadIvan
In delivery, the Republicans were only a slight improvement on what the Democrats would have done - they had a twinge of conscience as they mercilessly expanded government, formed a cabal to make President Bush treat terrorist prisoners better, and failed to grapple with illegal immigration comprehensively.

Sometimes it takes someone outside the problem to really see what's wrong.

The only thing I'd take issue with is that 'twinge of conscience' thing. They expanded government shamelessly and at a pace that even LBJ would have envied.

Other than that minor quibble, very well said, sir.

L

44 posted on 12/11/2006 11:48:00 PM PST by Lurker (Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.)
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To: marron

You get it, how refreshing.

Great post.

Reagan did just that, but as much as I admire President Bush, he's not good at it and the GOP took a beating as a result of it.


45 posted on 12/11/2006 11:49:57 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: goldstategop

Sure they did.

By all accounts, it was the "I" vote that swung...but go ahead and keep your head in the sand.

It's safer there.


46 posted on 12/11/2006 11:51:26 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Lurker
I say a "twinge of conscience" because at least some of them were aware that what they were doing was wrong. But you're right, they gave LBJ a run for his money.

Regards, Ivan

47 posted on 12/11/2006 11:51:42 PM PST by MadIvan (I aim to misbehave.)
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To: beyond the sea

Bill Bennett was symptomatic of the whole party as a moral compass.

Thank God the President managed to stay fairly clear from scandal.


48 posted on 12/11/2006 11:52:52 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
This just happened to be a year where all the stars were aligned in the wrong direction and it would have taken a super-human miracle to change it. Americans have every rights to be idiots. I don't see the Democrats as a real improvement and with everything they had going for them, they hold only a narrow majority in Congress. I wouldn't read it as a thumping endorsement of the liberal agenda.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

49 posted on 12/11/2006 11:53:12 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: AmericanExceptionalist; Lurker
Far too often I have heard person-on-the-street interviews conducted by Sean Hannity or Jay Leno. (Okay, so the two are hardly analogous, but they have both done such interviews.) Incredibly elementary questions (e.g. "Who is Condoleezza Rice?" or--I'm not making this up--"Who is the vice-president?" tend to provoke blank stares or wild guesses.

I've seen the Jaywalking (Leno) segments often. It freaks me out to see people that ignorant. Sean finds some beauties on the street too.

I'll be 60 next month. I've seen this conscious/purposeful dumbing down of the children for decades. It's not getting any better, because it serves the powerful to have this large ignorant class. Just as long as the trains run and the sewers work, all the rest of the people can be ignorant fools...... and they are.

And it's all one lovely plan to tear down America. Gotta give them credit......... they're good.

As Butch Cassidy used to ask Sundance when they were being followed by the posse, "Who are those guys? I couldn't do that, could you do that?"

;-)

50 posted on 12/11/2006 11:54:12 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)
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