And now we get to deal with the hangover.
Nationally, it looks like all of last night’s results will stand. Two immediate results of this are that the federal judiciary will grow even more conservative and that any hope of a balanced budget are long gone. I wouldn’t object so much to the conservative judges if I still believed the rhetoric about judicial restraint, but Bush v. Gore two years ago put the lie to that one, and it’s clear that, at least at the Supreme Court level, it’s Republican party first, good of the nation second. I don’t know why anyone should expect different from the lower federal court appointees.
The great Clinton achievement of budget surpluses is a distant memory, which is precisely the way the Republican Neo-conservatives want it. The truth is that this nation is more than wealthy enough to fund social security and a raft of social programs if not for (1) military spending well beyond what is necessary even in the midst of a war on terrorism and (2) a continuing budget deficit, the interest alone on which costs hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
Philosophically, the Neo-cons are opposed to government handouts (which isn’t wholly wrong). Since in the minds of these Reagan Republicans virtually everything except prison time constitutes a “government handout,” theirs is a general opposition to education grants, social security, medicare, and so on. They’ll rarely if ever admit that publicly, because you can’t directly attack social programs without getting punished at the polls. So they dry up the funding anyway they can. In the next two years I think we can expect big military budgets, tax cuts for the rich, and another attempt to privatize social security.
The Oregon state and local races skewed sharply Republican as well. The only change from last night appears to be that Democrat Ted Kulongoski will win the governor’s seat. It also appears as if the Oregon Senate will be equally divided, something that will hopefully keep lots of right-wing ideas popping out of the House from becoming law.
Even closer to home, I was very surprised to see Democrat Bryan Johnston lose to Republican Jackie Winters in our local Oregon Senate race. Johnston ran about as good a campaign as you can on the local level. Apparently, he couldn’t overcome the low voter turnout (a nearly 40 year low for Oregon) and a plus 7 percent margin for registered Republicans in the district. I don’t see the Demos fielding a better candidate here any time soon, so it’s going to be a Republican seat for a long while. Lot of that going on, it seems.
Just thought I’d mention that Erin’s next OB/GYN appointment is next Friday, November 15. Don’t know if we’ll have an ultra sound at this one or not, but we should be able to hear a heartbeat and get a general update on how things are going. From our vantage point it’s been “so far, so good.” (Though I will note that yesterday Erin’s expanding waistline, for the first time, ripped out some pants.)