Public Comment

Commentary: True Political Love Truly Jilted

By Alan Swain
Tuesday May 16, 2006

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following commentary appears only on our website. 


I’m a Republican sympathizer you see. Barbara Lee doesn’t speak for me and I have never voted for her either and don’t intend to. While I still am a registered Democrat, I have been voting Republican ever since the mid ’90s. I think my last vote for a Democrat was for Bill Clinton over Bob Dole.  

The Democrats just seemed so boring and out of it. Stuck with old, tired ideas and all of the tiresome multi-culti orthodoxy of grievance groups combined with plans for more government and more taxes on the “rich,” a category I was disturbed to discover might eventually include me. The parasitic relationship of public employee unions with the Democratic party was as disheartening as was the excitement with which the Left greeted each new edict from the bench setting forth how our society is to improve whether we like it or not. The capper of course was the Left’s unwillingness to engage in the war on terror. A war that is defending all that the Left holds dear from a very real threat to take it all away. 

I cheered Newt and the boys when they managed to sweep out the decrepit Democratic ancient regime in 1994 using the Contract with America. I marveled at how politics can sometimes effect real change when the GOP managed to force Bill Clinton to sign the much needed welfare reform act and the deficit fell to zero. I had high hopes when conservatives finally seized the Senate and promised, with a Republican in the White House, to effect real change.  

However, I am feeling a bit disillusioned right now. There is nothing quite like the disappointment of true political love being truly jilted. The last important thing the conservative Congress did was pass President Bush’s tax cuts which not only staved off a recession but set the table for the fine economic performance we have enjoyed for the past several years. Since then nada, zip, zilch. The Congress has descended into the mire of wild pork barrel spending; lobbying disgrace, an obvious interest in power over principle and worse has accomplished absolutely nothing in years. Just now we are being treated to the absurd spectacle of election year pandering over immigration and gasoline prices at the same time. I had thought that virtue would win out a bit longer before the rot set in. 

The Founders really were wise and I now plan to take heart and refuge in that wisdom. They created a carefully modulated system of governance that responds to the wishes of the electorate in subtle combinations. For example, should the people wish to have change at an accelerated pace they can place the presidency and the Congress in the hands of the same party and over time the Supreme Court will join that structure. If the electorate wishes to modulate the pace of change then one house of Congress can be returned to control by the opposition. And in the event that the people don’t like the direction government is taking then both houses of Congress can oppose the president and the pace of change stops altogether. 

It seems to me that to enforce a penalty on the GOP in Congress for accomplishing nothing over the past several years and completely losing its intellectual bearings and wasting the public purse that a period of divided government is called for. This is hard for me to say, but I think that it would be for the best if Democrats take back control of the House in November. Now, I do admit that the specter of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House may be enough to cause many voters to blanch. However, this would be an ideal way to force the GOP to reconsider what it really wants to do. It may also give the Democrats a chance to think about what they can offer going forward. More of the same won’t cut it for either party. The Senate, and its control over presidential appointments is too important to sacrifice in this cleansing operation, but let’s focus on paralyzing the government for a while so as to lessen the chances that Congress will do any more harm than it already has. 

This November, I still can’t vote for Barbara Lee, but I won’t vote Republican either.  


Alan Swain was born in Berkeley and hold a masters degree from Columbia’s School of International Affairs.