Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a few thoughts on the elections

Ok, this is not going to be a regular part of the blog, but I felt the need (and was cajoled by somebody who I sometimes disagree with but, at the same time, whose opinion I respect) to say a little something about the recent political changes. I'll start with the Obama-mania and then turn to a few of the important local elections.

First Disclaimer: For those of you who know my political feelings, you know that I am an economic conservative and I have some liberal social leanings. I'm not going to be confused with Nancy Pelosi; at the same time, I won't be confused with George W. either. I am in favor of women being able to choose whether or not to have an abortion and I think we should recycle and conserve our natural resources. At the same time, I think the "idea" about global warming is overblown by the media and I think the government should stop legislating morality and keep its ever-growing nose out of the economy. Second Disclaimer: If you disagree, that's cool. If you agree, also cool. This is just one man's somewhat informed opinion. In any event, on to the races.

I think Obama HAD to become President. Change is a good thing. The country had swung too far to the right and was too heavily influenced by the religious right. I think the country began this swing in 1994 when the Dems were swept out and the GOP had free run over both the House and Senate. Things intensified when W became President. 9-11, a truly tragic and life-altering moment, only pushed things further right. And I agreed with the decision to put the fight to terrorists and go after Osama bin Laden. Iraq, not so much. Especially since no Iraqi's (to our knowledge) were involved in 9-11. Egyptians, Saudis, Pakistanis and Afghans were responsible. But, this is a post about elections, not 9-11 and the war, so I'll re-focus.

W won again in 2004, more by default than by true victory over the largely impotent and inconsequential John Kerry. How a man so worthless could become Senator truly boggles the mind. Although asking how a man so worthless became President is not only a fair question, but perhaps a better one. In any event, I digress, once again.

The country HAD to go back to the left. Much like the economy, politics is cyclical. Much like a pendulum, things will swing back to the center and then some. How far the swing to the left will be is up in the air and this is my true fear. The Wall Street and financial bail outs make me shudder. And this was pushed by the GOP. This is America, not the USSR. Hey Washington, stay the hell out of the economy. You morons are just going to mess it up. And believe me, "mess" was far and away the nicest word I thought. And it wasn't even close. Believe me, I realize all Beltway Insiders, across the aisle, are in bed with big business and whose vote is always available (just name the price). I'm not naive. But at the same time, let the economy cycle. It will be fine. Don't play God and step in. Stay out. However (channeling the incarnation of pure evil, Stephen A Smith) I think Congress should certainly concern itself with the BCS and steroids in baseball. Forget that fact that we are in two wars, our economy is not exactly humming along on all cylinders, and health care being in the toilet, let's talk about sports. You all know I love sports, but there ARE more important things for our "leaders" to address.

Anyhoo, here is my point (wow, that took a long time, even for me)...I hope this GOP disgrace will be the kick in the pants the GOP needs to get back to its roots of economic conservatism and small government. Balance the budget. Don't, and I'll repeat, don't "tax and spend." Do what you promised you would do, if you can even remember.

I hope Obama takes this country back to the middle. Historically, our country has worked best with a different party in control of Congress than in the White House. When it's the same party, bad things happen. (I'd say the Patriot Act, but I don't want to be water boarded for using my 1st Am. rights). Here's the problem, as I see it: Obama is somewhat left (how far depending on who you ask) and Congress is left. Citizens are looking for change from the previous administration and the religious right. Look at the fervor with which people were celebrating the election results. I only hope we don't become Sweden, or worse, France. I can see shades of socialism in the buy out, and I don't like it. I hope I'm wrong (wow, when have I ever said that???) and that we go back to the middle where we should be, but I just don't know. And nobody will know for at least 4 or 8 years, or possibly even longer (History shall be our guide) how Obama did. We don't need to focus on this immediate second. Take a long-term view. Look at the horizon. Then we can see what worked and what didn't and who was right and who was wrong.

On to the local scene (for those of you not living in Houston, or even Texas, feel free to read on but you probably won't care anymore [assuming you cared before])...

1. Judge Pay Lykos, at the time of writing, was up by close to 4400 votes with 99% of precincts in. Thank God. Chief Bradford was an incompetent Police Chief and would be a worse DA. Come on people, remember the police lab scandal? The perjury? The raise he gave himself right before he left office? The boost in pension he gave himself? This is the guy he want in charge? I don't think so. Now, I've heard Judge Lykos can be a bit short with people. I've also heard she's one of the sharpest judicial minds in Texas. This is the person we want in charge.

2. So many criminal judges will be different come January. Democrats have ridden Obama's coattails all across the nation, and the Harris County Criminal Justice Center is no different. Don Stricklin, Brock Thomas (not to mention his father, soon-to-be-ex-Sheriff Tommy Thomas), and Caprice Cosper will be disrobed, so to speak. But people like Off her rocker Crocker stay on. Perhaps this is why judges shouldn't be elected, but that's for another time. Don Stricklin was one of the finest judges in Harris County. A case set in his court would actually get to trial in less than one year. I just don't know what these new judges are going to do. I don't think I'm exactly entirely unbiased in this regard, but it's moronic that all these judges were swept out on the wave of Democrats who came crashing down on Harris County simply because they were Dems. I don't care which side of the aisle you're on, good criminal judges are so valuable. You don't sweep them out because you like Obama. And I think that is what happened. And I don't like it. Perhaps these new judges will be great, perhaps even better than those they replaces. I truly hope so. But, again, only time will tell.

3. Ed Emmett snuck back in as County Judge because of his swift and efficient reaction to Hurricane Ike. David Mincburg is a successful businessman and was a key member of Mayor White's administration. Heck, he even had a pretty catchy radio jingle. Judge Emmett, however, is the straw that stirs the drink in Harris County. The right man won this election.

Well, this could all be wrong when I wake up (I'm talking about things on the local scene; Obama hooped McCain [no repeat of the 2000 hanging chad and recount incident, so let's stay above the fray, folks]). But I doubt it.


FUNG! said...

It scares me when I find myself agreeing with you.

Good post, Vik.

Anonymous said...

Global warming is more than overblown..its an outright lie. You have alot of demands for the good guys who play it more straight....what about the libs lefty dems who are basically synonymous with completely shady political maneuvers? Any demands for them? Or are you just resigned to their socialist tendencies?

UTgirl said...

I actually agree with what you said. Hopefully Stricklin can take a break and come back in the next election! :)

gizmo said...

nicely put, vikram.

i will disagree slightly on your insistence that the government stay out of the economy. while, in a broad sense, i agree with that statement, arguments can be made that the root of the financial crisis is in the government's failure to properly regulate the financial industry. i'm not saying we should go to an over-regulated system where every transaction has a government stamp of approval on it, but certainly the regulatory laws need to keep up with the financial industry and the complex securities that are being created within. only with proper regulation (and perhaps more importantly the ability to enforce such regulation) can you attempt to prevent occurrences such as the $700 billion rescue plan you are so adamantly against.

Vik Vij said...

I agree with you. Very nicely stated.

I don't want a return to laissez-faire economics, but for the most part I do want government to stay out of things it cannot control or even understand. I think some level of regulation must exist, but in a limited sense. Where exactly that lies, I cannot answer. Because if I knew, I wouldn't be blogging, I'd work for the WSJ.

As for "anonymous",
I have plenty of demands for the Dems. Please read the post again, I added some new thoughts. I hope they don't lead us down a socialist path. I hope they don't just tax and spend. I hope they remain vigilent in the War on Terror. I hope they respect the right to bear arms. I hope they don't over-regulate everyting under the sun. I hope our taxes don't go through the roof. I hope this country heads back to the moderate middle where it belongs and where it functions best.

N.A.T.E. said...

I am just happy to have a President that can (would) answer all of Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" questions CORRECTLY!

I believe Obama will govern as a Moderate. He is a highly intelligent person and will not make the same mistakes Clinton did. His administration will truly be "transparent" and communicate effectively to the American people. I think we will be a better country in four years.

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