Who got the political spending?

Politicians spent some $4 billion trying to get elected, which comes to about $43 per vote. But who ended up with all that money? Mainly television stations and other media outlets. The Washington Post Company reported a 7% jump in revenue for the third quarter, which it credits to political advertising on its television stations, as well as its for-profit Kaplan University.

This article talks about other businesses that benefited–including pollsters, advertisers, and small town restaurants–to the point of calling the election “the midterm stimulus program.”

A dance of death

The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a statesman of the old school.  The Senator from New York was a Democrat, but he also served loyally in Republican administrations.  He was liberal politically, but he articulated positions that would now be called socially conservative (such as the horrific consequences of having children out of wedlock).  Steven Pearlstein reviews a collection of his letters and cites this haunting warning:

In a resignation letter he never sent to Nixon, Moynihan complains that “the extremes of left and right have joined in a dance of death” around “the presidency and every other institution of order and reason in American society,” exploiting society’s divisions for “short-term, narrow, shallow purposes.”

“The extremists of the left and right need each other, complement each other, strengthen each other,” he wrote, creating a symbiotic relationship that threatened “the quality, and ultimately the survival of the American democracy.”

via Steven Pearlstein – A short reading list for the congressional Class of 2010.

He’s right, isn’t he, about the way the far right and the far left feed off of each other?  And, whether you are a conservative or a liberal, can you see how the extreme ends of both spectrums, playing off of each other, can endanger the country?

Lessons for Conservatives

Republicans won big in the 2010 elections on a conservative wave.  But there are also lessons conservatives could take away from their victory.

They have a genuine popular movement in the Tea Party.  But Tea Partiers must remember that they have to field good candidates.  A person who just has the right beliefs or even the person who leads the local organization is not necessarily going to be a good candidate or an effective office-holder.  The Tea Party brought some new blood into the political scene, and some of their candidates–I think of Marco Rubio–are quite talented and have bright futures.  But when the Tea Parties fielded candidates whose only qualification was their zeal, they lost.

What are some other lessons conservatives can learn from the elections?

How Obama can win a second term

The crushing rebuke of the Democrats in the recent election by no means finishes Barack Obama.  He can easily win a second term by emulating the last Democratic President who likewise lost a midterm election but came back to win a second term.  Bill Clinton simply played along with the Republicans to the point of co-opting their positions.  Welfare reform was a Republican issue, but Clinton made it his own.  He also won the public’s sympathy.

President Obama could take upon himself the reduction of the deficit.  (Yes, he caused a big part of it, but that doesn’t have to matter politically.)  He could drastically cut corporate welfare, farm subsidies and the military, thus pleasing his left flank.  The Republicans would co-operate with his other cuts, such as eliminating  whole departments and highly-visible programs.  He could reform social security, perhaps by not letting rich people get it.  He could increase his popularity by just leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, while keeping up the drone assassinations.

I’m not saying he SHOULD do any of this.  I’m just describing what might be successful tactics.  What else could he do?

Election post-mortem

Well, the House will be under the control of the Republicans with the Senate still in the hands of the Democrats.  What is your analysis and what are your projections?

A hung government is a good thing according to conservatives who want government to be checked and balanced into inactivity.  But might this thwart things that the government does need to do?

Special Election Day Edition

Today Americans go to the polls to vote.  In our ongoing discussion of those forbidden topics of religion and politics, I want to underscore that the two are, literally, different realms; that is to say, different Kingdoms.  Christianity is not about politics.  It is possible for two Christians to agree in the faith and yet disagree politically, and the former is far more important than the latter.  And yet we do have vocations as citizens, so participating in the deliberations of civil government has great value.

Anyway, today we will attend to politics and what looks to be a very interesting and potentially significant election.  In this post, feel free to comment upon the election as it unfolds:  your predictions, your local issues, what you see happening where you live, the key races, the final results.

Don’t get so caught up in online discussions that you forget to vote!


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