Well, I wanted it to happen, and it did. We have divided government. The good news is that the Republicans lost some ground, the bad news is that the Democrats won. Of course, the second had to happen if the first did.
What annoys me as an independent voter is hearing Democratic strategists claiming that independent voters “turned to them” and talking about the kind of mandate they get from that. There is only one real mandate–that is that you got elected.
But the only reason I voted for some some Democrats was to have you watch the Republican administration. In general, I scatter my votes between the parties based on my evaluation of individual candidates. This time, however, I hoped for divided government because I think the Republicans have been behaving arrogantly. Weak reactions to scandals such as Foley’s behavior is an indication that a party is getting too accustomed to power and doesn’t believe that they have to police their own behavior very carefully. When that comes at a time when their poll numbers are dropping and their approval rate is abysmal, it must be read, I believe, as an indication of contempt for the voters.
The Democrats need to be careful now about selecting leadership from their left wing as the Republicans have been doing so from their right wing. Both parties need to be ready to compromise as necessary in order to accomplish something. Remember, the big one comes up in just another two years. Neither party should think they can count on independent voters.
I am somewhat surprised by how little the Democrats did with the opportunities provided. With the dismal approval ratings of the Bush administration, I would think that they would have done better. I suspect that many voters felt as I did. The Republicans needed to be watched, but the alternative was not to be trusted either.
Personally, I would love to see a viable third party emerge that would combine a strong pro-free enterprise stand on economic issues with a strong pro-civil rights stand and a moderate view on many of the moral issues. I think there are a number of folks involved in government today who might do well in such a party, but their voice is drowned out by the more partisan voices of their parties. Three party government would be an excellent form of divided government as it would force more compromises between congressional leaders on the agenda.
One note on intelligent design, one of my other interests. Ed Brayton has posted some good news in the ID results. I also think that the passage of amendments restricting the use of eminent domain to seize private property which is ultimately passed to a private developer is definitely good news. The initiative passed here in Florida.
In the meantime, whatever happens to the Senate, I’m fairly happy with the results.