Friday, November 05, 2004

The implications

Ok, so now that I've had some time to process what happened on Tuesday, I guess I'm ready to give my cogent analysis of what's going to happen between now and 2008.

  • The Supreme Court

There's a hell of a lot of spots potentially opening up, and despite what was said in one of the debates, I doubt like crazy that Bush doesn't have a "litmus test" for his appointees. He says that he wants candidates who interpret the constitution, but what's coming out of the other side of his mouth when he says that is nearly audible, it's so clear. He wants candidates who interpret the constitution in ways that agree with his own views. Anybody else is an "activist." Say what you will, everybody's got to admit that Kerry was very honest in his admission that he would not appoint a judge who would outlaw abortion, which was in his mind a constitutional right.

  • Legislation

With a clearer majority in both houses of Congress on the part of the Republicans, prepare to see a lot of bold legislation pushed through. Not only do they hold a clearer majority, but a lot of the Democratic senators and representatives are not by any stretch "liberal," and would be much more likely to cross party lines than would the conservative majority. There's already been a push for an amendment which would allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to be President of the United States. Well, the amendment would technically allow anybody who'd been a citizen for a certain number of years to run for President, but let's be honest--it's clearly designed for the Terminator. Prepare to see ANWR opened up for drilling, I'd think, as well. The Senate doesn't have a clear enough majority to block filibustering on judicial appointments, but they're getting there.

  • 2008

Already? Of course. Commentators started talking about the Presidential race in 2008 by the time it was the morning of November 3rd. I haven't the foggiest who the Democrats will run, but it had better not be Hillary Clinton. If she's the party's only hope, then we're in a lot bigger trouble than we ever thought. More likely to win would be a Southern or Midwestern governor, like Tom Vilsack of Iowa, or Brad Henry of Oklahoma, though I don't know if either of them (among others) have presidential aspirations. Vilsack was on the short list of consideration for Veep candidates in 2004, so his name's floating already.

As for the Republicans, I could see it possibly getting ugly. Giuliani and McCain are the two powerhouse names of the party, and they've been busy posturing themselves for it. I think that the current ultra-conservative administration would like a candidate who more clearly represents the logical progression from their own viewpoints (Giuliani and McCain are by far not toeing the party line on all issues), but I think they'd probably win out in the primaries due to their big name status and popularity. The ultra-cons would love to have somebody like Bill Owens of Colorado, for example, or maybe Jeb Bush (no matter what he says) to uphold not just the ideological dynasty, but the family dynasty (his son George Prescott Bush could be next, as well as being the first Hispanic President). If the non-US-citizen amendment were to pass, I'd think that Arnie'd probably win in a pretty big way, due to his big name and popularity, but the ultra-cons wouldn't like having someone in office who is, truly, a social liberal. I think that his name would distract even the Southerners and Midwesterners from that pesky issue, though.

  • 2006

I think that the outcome of the midterm elections will depend on whether the ultra-cons try for their overreach immediately, or in the last two years of their term. If they hold back for the first two years, they stand to gain substantially in the 2006 elections, I'd think, and then they could go for the glory between '06 and '08. If they can pretend toward bipartisanship for two years, they might even be able to get the 60 votes in the Senate needed to break a filibuster (if they don't just abolish that rule first). But I don't think they've got that patience, personally. The only question is whether the backlash reaction to the inevitable conservative overreach will come in 2006, 2008, or later, once we've realized that it's going to take a lot of work to pull America anywhere close to the center again.