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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Some Post-Election Thoughts

Well, I certainly had a busy day yesterday.  I was working as an election judge, so I was at a voting precinct from 6 am until 9:45 pm and then got home around 10:30.  Fun and rewarding day, but very long.  Came home and turned on the news to watch the election results.  Kept fading in and out, so I missed alot, but I did get caught up this morning.

Late last night my sister asked me if I thought the Republicans would learn from this election and distance themselves from the Tea Party.  She also asked me if I was pleased with the election results.  I want to deal with the first question first.

I certainly hope the Republicans learned from what happened.  Based on history, this should have been a relatively easy election.  You had an unpopular incumbent and a troubled economy, which usually spells trouble for the incumbent.  Unfortunately, the Republican party took a dramatic (although not sudden) turn to the right as a result of the rise of the Tea Party in 2010.  The GOP lurched so far to the right that they have to look to their left to see Genghis Khan.  As a result of this lurch, all of the GOP presidential candidates had to turn to the right as well.  Another result was many more moderate Republicans (voters and officials) ended up getting pushed out of the party because they were not conservative enough.

My hope is that the GOP will realize that the xenophobia and intransgient reactionary conservativism of the Tea Party will doom the GOP.  They need to accept more conservative members along with more moderate or liberal members.  Sadly, I do not think this will happen.  Given the history of the conservative movement, I suspect that they will say that Romney was not conservative enough and that he ran the campaign wrongly.  If only he had run more solidly on "conservative" (not really conservative, more like reactionary) principles, he would have won.

As for my reaction to last night, while I can appreciate a lot that President Obama brings to the table, I could not bring myself to vote for him.  Nonetheless, I was relatively pleased that he won.  I am annoyed that the Congress is still split between the parties, but hopefully they will actually try and work together.  In Maryland, I was delighted to see that most of the questions I voted for went the way I wanted, particularly Question 6.

So, overall I can say that I was pleased with the results.  We'll have to see if it stays that way moving forward.

[Edited 11/8/2012, 9:21 AM]  I just had to throw this in.  A little after I posted this, CNN.com had the following article up: "TRENDING: A day after loss, conservatives point fingers"  As I predicted, the leaders of the conservative movement are saying that Romney was not conservative enough and that "Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years[.]"  Sigh....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

On the Political Spectrum

I was having a nice chat with my sister yesterday about politics (something we discuss quite frequently).  It started when I saw in a friend's post on Facebook that I was tagged.  It was a blog post about abortion.  I have many fundamental disagreements with the author which my sister and I were discussing.

Anyhow, our discussion evolved (as many of our discussions do) into a look at different political philosophies and the political spectrum.  Now, most people (if not everybody) is familiar with the idea of the left (liberal) and right (conservative) wings of the political spectrum.  This familiar 2-dimensional version of the political spectrum is convenient, but it is inaccurate in many ways.  It does not take into account that the far right and far left actually have several things in common.  So it seems that a circle might be the best version of the spectrum to show this effect.  I, however, tend to favor more of a diamond.  While this is not the best quiz, the Advocates for Self-Government have an interesting quiz.  It is a little simplistic for my tastes, but it decent starting point.  Another decent quiz is here.  I have also tried this one or this one from PBS and the Pew Research Center.  For the 2012 election, there is a great quiz about the Presidential race from isidewith.com.  There are oodles of other ones as well, so look for several and see where you land.

Anyways, now that I have listed several good resources to look at, I guess should talk about my own.  Personally, I prefer the more nuanced quizzes because they give a better idea of where you lie.  Well that and the fact that the shorter quizzes tend to phrase the questions in such a way as to elicit a certain response.  Unsurprisingly, I am slightly left of center on social issues.  This (I think) mainly stems from my support of same-sex marriage while opposing abortion and espousing several more conservative political side.  Economically speaking, I am much further to the left.  This stems from the social justice teachings of the Church, as well as my own experiences over the past few years.

Before I go any further, I wanted to talk (briefly) about the origins of the 2 sided political spectrum.  It comes from France.  During the 18th century, the French Parliament was divided in such a way that the more conservative members were on the right side of the chamber and the more liberal members were to the left.  Very clean and simple.

Now, one problem with the simple breakdown of the spectrum (in addition to the problem mentioned above) is that as a result of the opposing ends actually agreeing on alot, the ends can be moved around.  For example, many people place fascism on the right side of the spectrum, where it sort of fits, but not really.  In the same way, communism (as opposed to communitarism or communalism) is placed to the left of the spectrum, which some people don't like.  The advantage of the diamond shape from the Advocates for Self-Government is that it gives more of a three dimensional picture of the political spectrum, taking into account that some people may be on one side economically and the other side socially.

Oh, yes I know this has been all over the place, but that is the way I am.  Let me know if you find another quiz you like more or if you disagree with me.