Monday, October 09, 2006

Why Conservative Control Creates Liberal Outcomes

Conservative voters celebrated when they felt they gained control of the presidency, the house and the senate. Of course they are not celebrating now. What went wrong and why was the outcome not the one conservative voters anticipated?

First, in the past 20 years, 14 members of the house and the senate switched parties and became republicans. This merely meant that the dividing line between the parties had shifted, and that now republicans included a more liberal bias. A different outcome would have been achieved if that dividing line had not shifted, and instead conservative voters had elected 14 members that were conservative along the old lines.

Think of it this way: 14 people who had views that need not be considered in your decisions now had a voice and were allowed to be heard. Imagine 14 executives leaving Apple to work for Microsoft. Do you think that the future of Microsoft would not have an Apple flavor?

Another way to look at it is this: If the numbers 1 through 5 represent liberals, and the liberal average is a 2.5, while the conservatives number 6-10 and the conservative average is 7.5, then taking the 5 from the liberals and adding to the conservatives now makes a liberal centrist a 2, while a conservative centrist is a 7. After the switch the liberals are more liberal, and the conservatives are more liberal, too. So which ideaology benefits from this switch? Yes, the liberals.

Secondly, once the republican party had control of all three groups, the democratic minority party had nothing to lose by taking more extreme and liberal positions and publicizing those positions, forcing the republicans to shift even further left to cause the gap to shrink. This is why Nancy Pelosi became their leader. The entire republican party had to become more liberal, and actually tried to outspend the liberals on all sorts of agendas that they would have been against had they been in the minority themselves. By trying to appear more compassionate than in the past, they acted more liberal than at any time in the past. The result is that the liberals will scream "Not enough" even as the republicans propose more than ever in liberal programs.

Third, this happened not only at the federal level, but at the state level across the nation. Georgia has a republican governor that has been a republican for less time than I have been a libertarian. In effect, the democrats took control of the elections by being able to offer a democrat and a democrat light, removing any serious opposition. As proof, witness Sonny Purdue's effort to remove all those over 65 from the liability of state income tax. Shifting the burden of income tax is a liberal move, not a conservative one. True conservatives would have attempted to reduce the burden on all taxpayers, not a select group.

Do you really believe that if the republicans in congress would have been the minority party, that they would have wanted Mark Foley to continue as a representative in light of his text messaging scandel? Would a minorty conservative party have allowed spending to go on unabated?

If you do not believe that what I have described is or can happen, look at the election contest of Cynthia McKinney in Georgia. Republican voters switched parties and moved that district towards a more conservative yet still democratic candidate.

At least it is good to see this affects both parties, albeit in different ways. A good start to eliminating this issue, and letting the voters get what they actually vote for is to eliminate the barriers to third party candidates. As the United States has become more and more segmented, isn't it time our political processes catch up and reflect the interests of the voters.


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