Yesterday was a particularly interesting day for me. I got up early because I had a job interview in the morning before I went to my current job. As per usual I listened to my talk radio programs, (at this point Laura Ingraham) and like most people who knew the importance of the day, began thinking deeply about a number of issues.

Though I had said recently that I would vote for the Republicans (which I did, almost down the line) I wasn’t overly thrilled about the prospect. In Florida, my choices for federal representation were not inspiring in the least. Later that day when the kids in my program asked me whom I voted for and why, I had to explain to them that I was voting for ideology, not people.

That’s a sad statement right there – that the political culture in this country has gotten so corrosive throughout that I feel even when I don’t like the candidates that I should still vote with the party that, in theory, represents and should carry out my values. I think this is the electoral equivalent of pulling at straws.

For me, this election can be summed up in two Senate elections: Casey Vs Santorum and Whitehouse Vs Chafee. In both cases, the incumbent was soundly beaten by the challenger, bringing the Democrats closer to possible control over the Senate (as of this writing, VA is still being contested). However, though they are both losses, they are two different kinds of losses with varied meanings.

Going back to my morning drive, PA Senator Rick Santorum was on two of the radio shows I listen to sounding as positive and sure of himself as any man I’ve ever heard going into an execution. Despite the pundits and polls declaring Santorum was dead meat, I thought that he’d beat the collective wisdom of the elite media and keep his seat. When his was one of the first called in favor of the challenger I was left dumbstruck. I could not understand what happened to Pennsylvania that not enough conservatives could keep this man in the Senate.

Santorum was one of the few Republican senators that actually acted and voted like a conservative. He was one of the few that made it seem like having a Republican majority actually mattered because he was not some milquetoast, overly comprising, RINO that tended to sell out conservative principles for the sake of political capital. And yet, I assume because people are losing patience with how long finishing the job in Iraq is taking, he is dumped over the side for “a new direction.”

In the exact opposite case you have Lincoln Chafee. Here’s a man who embodies the phrase, “Republican In Name Only” to the letter. He voted against using force in Iraq and even had the support of NARAL because of his stance on abortion. He is by far the most liberal Republican on the Senate making whatever deficit in votes they had on paper, less in actual votes. He might as well have been a Democrat and yet he too was throw over the side in favor of “a new direction.”

Late last night when most of the votes were in and the Dems had officially taken the House, one of my friends called to kibitz about the election. He was decidedly less sympathetic toward the Republicans that I was. He stated that they deserved to have lost the House and probably should lose the Senate as well, seeing as in recent years the GOP has done little to nothing for their non-Evangelical conservative base. Trying to keep Terry Schiavo alive doesn’t count for much when the whole reason you vote Republican is so the border will be guarded and the terrorists will be appropriately battled. Waiting until a week or so to pass a decent border security bill is not exactly pro-active when you’ve had control over Congress since roughly 1994.

That to me is what happened with Santorum and Chafee. Between people not understanding the Iraq war, what it means and what we are doing over there, and disappointment with the GOP at large for seemingly taking their base for granted, it was the perfect recipe for giving Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Socialist, the third in line for Presidency spot in the House of Representatives (presumably if you were dumping your Republican senator you were also voting for a Democrat Congressional Rep.). I doubt many people put much thought into their vote beyond, “Iraq bad, vote Democrat!”

This is why I am still flabbergasted by the election results. If you are conservative, how does dumping Santorum or Chafee (RINO or not) help you? You don’t like how things are going in Iraq and you want a change, presumably a better plan of action but not to blindly leave Iraq high and dry…so you vote against Santorum? Casey is going to add his voice to the clarion call to bring the troops home ASAP, so how exactly does that help your cause? It’s a change in direction all right, backwards.

Chafee is a slightly different issue. Again, he might as well have been a Democrat. Voting in just another Democrat, Whitehouse, doesn’t really change things a whole heck of a lot. He too will simply call for an immediate retreat from Iraq, which is no different from what Chafee wanted. Again, what was the point of punishing this man by replacing him with someone just as bad? Conservatives should have dumped Chafee in the primaries and replaced him with a real conservative from the start instead of sending a RINO to the slaughter.

I guess the real reason for my blues is that if this mid-term election cycle was really predicated on the length of time it’s taking to prosecute the Iraq then we the people are incredibly stupid and our president probably the worst communicator in the modern political century.

The mission is and pretty much always has been to train an Iraqi police force and military and incrementally hand over the countries security detail to them while a new government forms and takes shape. It’s an incredibly slow and arduous undertaking. It took something like 30 – 40 years to rebuild Europe and Japan after World War II and that was with the benefit of NATO and a Marshall Plan. The former Administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer said in his book that when he consulted with experts about how long it would take to fully train a police force to patrol the streets of greater Iraq, the numbers he got back were nowhere near original projections. My point is that we are still training police and have been doing so since 2003. We have the same issue with the Iraqi military. One can argue that the de-Baathification was a stupid and confounding idea but it’s done now and the results are that we’ve had to rebuild the Iraqi military from scratch. If Americans really want to bring the troops home now, dumping Conservatives and RINO’s doesn’t really help. Learning how to speed up time and military training might however.

So despite my worst fears and nightmares, I now live in a world where Nancy Pelosi is the Speak of the House because the voters of this country don’t read or understand global affairs. We are an impetuous and capricious bunch and shows in how we vote. One can only hope that with fellow Socialist Charlie Rangel at the helm of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Democrats won’t do something truly stupid and defund the Iraq war while the troops are still in the field. Though I suppose if they do, us Conservatives will show them who is boss by electing more…Democrats!

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