The NY Times has a good read on the continuing assault on moderates. It reinforces a post I made a couple of weeks ago about the problem with politics. The gist of the NYT article is the Democrats are specifically targeting moderate Republicans in states that traditionally vote blue, and attempting to portray otherwise independent members as radical conservatives.
In the battle for control of the House of Representatives, Democrats are concentrating their efforts on defeating a particularly resilient set of opponents, Northeast Republicans who have held their seats despite the region’s tendency to vote Democratic.
Independent analysts say there are at least a dozen competitive races in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Connecticut, many involving districts where voters have supported Democrats for president in recent elections while electing Republicans to Congress.
Now, with many polls showing President Bush’s support at its lowest level yet, Democrats in those districts are running heavily against the president, hoping to tie Republican incumbents to his agenda.
It really is unfortunate that we have come to this point with our political system. The partisan divide and the quest for power have both become so great that we will sacrifice any voice of reason and moderation in pursuit of control. If our founding fathers could see us, I am sure they would be appalled. If the FTC could investigate both parties for anti-competitive or predatory tactics, I am sure they would be handing out fistfuls of indictments.
What is truly appalling is the attitude of partisan hacks like Rahm Emanuel.
“The big question,” Mr. Emanuel said, “is whether the Congressional map in ’06 will align itself with presidential performance” in these districts.
That assumes that people make the presidential selection and their congressional selection based on the same criteria. I guess if you are a straight ticket voter who believes that the worst Republican is better than the best Democrat, that may be true. Most people, however, vote for President based on the person that can best lead our nation. They vote for their member of Congress based on who can best represent their local interests.
I vote Republican on the Presidential ballot because I believe (despite the current Administration) that Republicans believe in a smaller federal government, fiscal responsibility and limiting the intrusion of the fed into our private lives (like I said, the current administration notwithstanding).
For congress, I vote for the person that I feel will best serve my community. In the case of NM-01, where I still vote, that was Steve Schiff for the first 10 years of my voting experience and Heather Wilson since. Steve was, and Heather is, a moderate voice in Congress. They did not strictly adhere to party lines. That never bothered me, regardless of whether the guy in the White House was with us or against us.
People judge these offices by different criteria. We are damaged as a nation when people like Emanuel try to equate them. When that happens, you get the problem before us – the harassment of independent voices by those trying to enforce groupthink on the population. They say, “You’re a Democrat, you must vote Democrat all the time because Republicans are evil.” But that thinking leads only to extremism and ultimately totalitarianism.
In the work I do, I spend every day listening to Congress tell me that we need competition. They say competition in the delivery of video services will save the world. They say companies competing for customers benefits everyone.
That logic, however, is quickly abandoned when it comes to redistricting and political power. When it comes to politics, monopolies on power are good and to be chased at any cost. It’s a mentality I have come to hold in great contempt.
Rather than spend time contributing to the extremism of America. Both parties should spend more time trying to make every seat truly competitive. If competition is good for the market, the economy and the world, shouldn’t it be good for our nation, our political institutions, our laws, and our civic debates?