November 12th, 2006

Shaman - Horse

The Lessons of Power

I've been thinking about the lessons about power that one can derive from the Mid-term elections. I'll put them into bullet format.

1) Those who live by the sword also die by the sword.

Not all of us are lucky enough to die in bed. The Republicans have been winning by very narrow margins at the polls. This time they lost by very narrow margins. Should they be surprised? No.

2) The base is not enough

The Republicans made a strategic decision to only (mostly) address their base. They were almost forced to do this because their base did not 'play well with others'. To move on issues that their based did not support was done at the risk of losing the base. This has worked well, until charges of corruption and dereliction of duty (by fiscal conservatives) caused a fraction of their base to revolt (see point #1).

3) The attainment of absolute power does not guarantee future absolute power.

The Republicans hoped to stay in power via sophisticated grass-root efforts, district re-engineering, and control of the levers of government. The result seems to have followed the classic line, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely". A thing most telling to me is that corruption of the polling booth technology seems to be most connected with the Republican political machine. The Republicans seem to be gifted with the motivation and opportunity for election machine shinagins. Does this mean that the Democrats are not smart enough (opportunity) or aren't desperate enough (motivation) to do the same? I don't know.

4) Fear is not the only motivator

Fear can motivate many people. People also have a brain in their heads, recognizing that there is more to the world than just fear.


The Republicans lost supreme government power because of (according to the polls) a perception of corruption. There are lessons here for the in-coming Democratic party powers. There is definitely a lesson for those people running for President in 2008. I sincerely hope that we are leaving behind a period of political imperialism and fear-mongering. This is what I would like for Christmas.
Shaman - Horse

Was Bush a Bully?

I need a sanity check on this. Maybe there is another perspective to this. Ok... this is what I see. Growing up, I was the object of bully attention. I very much know what the bully dynamics look like, if only from a 'victim's' perspective.

I am a believer in the honest villain or hero. Say what you will do, stick by it, and live with the consequences of your beliefs. I've written on this before. The bottom line is that everyone can scramble to survive, do things their own way, but darn it, accept the results of life while being 'honest' to your beliefs.

Bush said that he didn't care about polls. He was a man of conviction and resolute direction. This is fine. He said that he had the right people beside him, and they were going to stay there until the end because they shared his vision. This is fine too. Very very scary, but fine.

So, the Republicans loose both houses. What happens? Bush jettisons Rumsfeld. He then says that he wants to play-nice. What happened? Where is the conviction? One conclusion I can draw is this: Bush is a Bully. He was big and bad when his guys had his back. Now that he is alone, facing the world without the fists of Republican controlled House and Senate, Bush loose his resolute direction.

I asked my lovely gf about this. She was in the military, had worked in Washington, and knows about how things flow in politics. I asked, “why has Bush changed his tune? If the convictions were good enough then to ignore the polls, the sentiment of the population are large, why are they not good enough now?”. Her answer was that Bush needs the Congress to fund his initiatives. He needs their support to make things happen. This was a good answer. However, it only reinforces my feeling that Bush is a Bully. Why couldn’t he be a pragmatist? Well, perhaps a repenting bully is a pragmatist. I would not have the bully to start with.

Your feelings please... Is there another way to look at this