Magazine article Reason

Getting beyond Politics as Usual

Magazine article Reason

Getting beyond Politics as Usual

Article excerpt

I'M WRITING this just a few days after the midterm elections, and the dust from the Great Democratic Revival--or was it the Amazing Republican Implosion?--has yet to settle. As the Democrats prepare to take control of both houses of Congress for the first time in a dozen years, it's not clear what sort of legislation to expect from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her crew, or what sort of interaction they'll have with President Bush and his chastened colleagues in the GOP.

Libertarian-leaning Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who cruised to re-election even as other Arizona Republicans got walloped at the polls, is upbeat, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that fiscally conservative Republicans will be able to reach meaningful compromises on immigration and tax cuts with the many "moderate Democrats" coming into office, because they are "genuinely cut from the same cloth we are" Maybe, maybe not. I suspect that most reason readers will agree that a couple of years of good, old-fashioned partisan gridlock sounds pretty good right about now.

This much seems certain: As David Weigel underscores in "The Myth of the 'Values Voters'" (page 14), the Republican Party's governing strategy of pushing an ultra-conservative social agenda while jacking up spending is as played out as Rick Santorum's ability to win re-election in Pennsylvania. If Republicans expect to win back Congress--or hold the White House--in 2008, they'd do well to focus on Weigel's summary of the current political mood: "a lot of voters just want the government to leave them alone" No more botched wars, no more Terri Schiavo interventions, and no more out-of-control spending resolutions. …

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