On Like Donkey Kong...

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jan 18, 2007 10:48 AM

I'm on MSNBC at 12:30 p.m. today, talking about Republican rifts on immigration, the war, George Bush, and the party's way forward. The segment is on "The Most" with Alison Stewart. Didn't she used to be the MTV News anchor? Rockin'.


Update: Me on TV! Thanks to Allah for clipping it, and go click over there, so he doesn't get ill at me for swiping the YouTube. Yeah, they did spell my name wrong. Happens all the time. Sheesh.

Update: Roger Simon rolls his eyes at my "partyline palaver," making the assertion that the war was the whole reason Republicans lost. As a 9/11 Republican who votes for Republicans almost solely because of their conduct in the War on Terror and the war in Iraq, I'm not surprised he sees it that way.

But there are a whole lot of conservatives out there who are very unlike Roger and don't view everything the Republicans do through the conditions on the ground in Iraq. There are a whole lot of conservatives and moderates/Republican-leaning folks out there who were ticked off about high spending, corruption, lobbying scandals, earmarking, and the same-old, same-old from Republicans as they had come to expect from Democrats pre-1994. That on top of bad conditions on the ground in Iraq was a killer combo. A CNN poll from Nov. 8 shows corruption as the No. 1 concern, with Iraq in 4th place. In Newsweek post-election polling, the Iraq number is way higher, but the spending and deficit number remains above 50 percent, as does the percentage of folks who are worried Democrats will pull out of Iraq too quickly. Certainly suggests some ambivalence.

I was hearing from those people every time I put up a post about helping out Republicans.

They all said, "Why would I bother to help elect Republicans when they don't act like Republicans? I'm staying home." They were not speaking about the war, but they were formerly committed conservatives who were hoping to spank the Republicans into behaving like Republicans, and maybe get a divided, gridlocked Congress out of the deal, so spending wouldn't go up.

Remember "Culture of Corruption?" There's a reason Democrats hawked the phrase-- because corruption was ticking people off. Remember the Bridge to Nowhere and the hunt for the secret holder? Both took up entire news cycles in the months running up to the election, even though we're in a time of war. Why? Because people care about them, and they exemplified the kind of business-as-usual stuff that made many people angry at the Republican Congress and the administration. What's the only October surprise anyone remembers? Not an Iraq story, as in 2004, but the Foley story-- another situation that inspired anti-incumbent sentiment.

So, was the war part of it? Heck yeah, a big ol' part, but that doesn't mean the fact that Republicans spent six years acting very unlike conservatives had nothing to do with it. If they had kept spending and waste in check, and treated the nation's pocketbook with respect while we're at war, I think they would have been granted a lot more slack on Iraq.

As for "partyline," if it were the Republican party line to actually mind their spending, they wouldn't be where they are today, and I'd be a much happier chick.