Democrat's Dream Come True
Rurak, Former Haverhill Mayor
By all accounts, it was a democrat
dream come true.
The election results posted sweeping gains for dems in
all categories: at least six more governors chairs
(total now 28 of 50); at least 4 more U.S. Senate seats
(total now 49/100, and dems lead in both Montana
and Virginiavictories there will transfer control
of the senate); at least 25 more House seats (total now
Exit polls showed less than 40% approval for the
presidents job performance and nearly 60%
disapproval for his conduct of the war in Iraq. In spite
of the vice-presidents insistence that no matter
what, its full speed ahead in Iraq, were in
for major changes. Some will be superficial, others more
First, on foreign policy, even though the president still
has the power to conduct the war as he sees fit, there
will be some major changes. Republicans, right now, are
telling him that if he doesnt do something soon,
they will lose even more clout in 2008, and perhaps even
the presidency. But, notwithstanding the tragically high
soldier casualty count lately, Iraq may be stabilizing.
The best evidence is that violence was minimal after
Saddams conviction, and, the government seems
poised to share power with some previously dissident
groups. So what will happen? Rumsfeld will resign.
(Editors note: Rumsfeld surprisingly resigned the day
after Mr. Rurak Submitted is column.)Thats a
surface change. But the substantial difference will be
greater. The new Defense Secretary will argue for one
last push to do the job right.
More troops will be sent. The democrats, even though they
could cut off funds, will go along on the grounds that we
need to protect our troops so that we can pull them out
safely that much sooner. Theyll give Bush a chance
on the grounds that they might share the credit for
success, and, they dont want to be the cause of
deepening our failures.
Domestically, democrats will be on the hot-seat. Even if
they do not control the senate (and I think they will)
they will have to accomplish several things without
endangering the economy. The first item is raising
minimum wage. In all fairness this needs to be done. But
republicans argue that this will increase unemployment
because businesses will have to reduce employees to
maintain the profit they need to stay afloat.
The democrats need both to raise the wage and to
propose programs to expand the economy. The interesting
fight will come over whether the tax cuts which are due
to expire will be re-authorized. Heres a chance for
both parties to move more to the center, and, they will.
The tax cuts for the very wealthy will go; those for the
middle-class will stay; the public will get the chance to
decide who to thank in 2008. Then, there will be
Clearly, costs are out of control and too many people are
without decent coverage or any coverage at all.
Ironically, the one successful innovation in the past
four years came from a republican, Mitt Romney, albeit
with much democratic input. Well have to see what
shape the national discussion takes.
If it moves in the direction of Romneys plan, it
wont necessarily help Romneys presidential
prospects, but it will mark a move of both parties toward
the center. And, its this move toward the center
which both parties will promote. Watch for Bush to grab
for the lead on this.
Locally, Massachusetts is completely controlled by
democrats for the first time since 1990. The last days of
complete democrat control are not happy memories, even
So, Deval Patrick will have to prove he is as different
as he said he is. He will follow through on community
policing grants and on using state income tax money to
increase aid to cities and towns. He said this will
reduce property taxes. In most places, it wont
because those cities most in need of relief are already
taxing to their limit under proposition two and one half.
So, expect increased local aid to translate into visible
public works projects, or specific proposals to boost
school test scores, rather than adding a lot of new
public employees. Lastly, I do hope that the type of
civic engagement which marked the core of Patricks
campaign translates into a whole new host of people
vigorously interested in political discussion at the
local level. That would be the major achievement of
*Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The November, 2006
Edition of the Valley Patriot
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