Thursday, November 10, 2011
The State of American Politics: Chapter 1 Part 1-13
America today is made up of three major Political Parties as I see it. Two of them organized and one of them not. The Democratic Party my party that represents the official Liberal Party in America the Left of Center party of America. The Republican Party the official Conservative Party of America the Right of Center party of America. And what I would call an Independence Party essentially the Independent Voters of America who represent the Centrist Voters in America. Who tend to be liberal to libertarian on Social Issues and agree with democrats there. But tend to be Fiscally Conservative and tend to agree with republicans on Fiscal Responsibility and taxes. So independents tend to be with democrats on Social Issues. But are scared off from joining them because of what I would call the Democratic Socialist Faction of the Democratic Party. The Far Left "Tax and Spend" crowd. And tend to be with republicans on Economic Issues. But are scared off by the Christian Right the Far Right what I would call the theocratic crowd. So Independent Voter tend to independent goes without saying and centrist in their Political Views.
Rebirth of the Democratic Party
The Democratic Party not the Democrat Party my party is made up today as I see it into three Political Factions. Liberal Democrats such as myself, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Sen John Kerry, former President Bill Clinton and others.
Then there's was I would call the Democratic Socialist Faction of the Democratic Party. Thats made up of people like Sen Bernie Sanders, Rep Dennis Kucinich, Rep Jim Mcdermott and others.
Then there's the Centrist Faction of the Democratic Party people like Sen Joe Lieberman and now former Sen Evan Baygh. Who tend to vote with liberals but talk like centrists and tend to be more Bi Partisan.
Liberal Democrats as I see it make up the brains of the Democratic Party as well as the leadership generally. Ever since the early 1990's. A big reason why democrats are back in power. Because we were no longer viewed as Tax and Spend, Soft on Defense, Soft on Crime and Welfare etc.
Democratic Socialists as I see it even though they've made positive contributions to the Democratic Party. Like getting our base to the Voting Polls and energizing them. As well as representing the heart of the Democratic Party. To me represent the Negative Stereotypes of the Democratic Party that I just mentioned soft on this or that. Which makes them seem extreme. Especially when were running for Governor, Senate or the Presidency. Liberal Democrats and Democratic Socialists are similar if not identical on Social Issues. But we differ on Economic and Foreign Policy.
Centrists Democrats who vote and govern like liberals but talk like centrists and tend to be more Bi Partisan. And tend to take weaker stands on issues without a strong Political Core as far as what they believe in. I believe tend to be better suited as serving as Department or Agency Heads. Rather then as Elected Officials.
What I mean by Democratic Socialists are people that believe in Democratic Socialism. Which is what they have in Europe. Where there is still a vibrant Private Sector but its heavily taxes and regulated. By American Standards and where the Federal Government has a larger role in providing goods and services to the society. Financed through High Taxes again by American Standards. And where they have more of a collectivist approach to society and politics. Where no one should have much more in Material Wealth then others. Where we have more an individualistic approach in America to politics and society. That people should be able to have as much Material Wealth as their able to produce for themselves. But we also have a progressive Tax System where the amount of taxes you pay is based on your ability to pay taxes without getting hurt by them. What I would call the Democratic Socialist faction of the Democratic Party is still very strong. But not in charge of the Democratic Party.
In 1968, 72, 84 and 88 the Democratic Socialist faction ran the Democratic Party. Kinda of the way the Christian Right runs the Republican Party today. And look where the Democratic Socialists took the democrats. We lost all for Presidential Elections and three of them in landslides. In those elections American Voters saw democrats as Tax and Spend, Anti Success, Class Warriors, Soft on Crime, Soft on Defense, Soft on Welfare. Anti Business, unpatriotic, Anti Apple Pie , Anti Testosterone etc. I could go on but in the interest of time and keeping you awake I won't. To put it bluntly democrats in these elections were seen as Candy Asses. But perhaps used a softer term. To be fair I think Vice President Hubert Humpfrey would've made a good President. Had he not been nominated in 1968 I think he would've gotten that opportunity. But the fact was he was LBJ Vice President and was seen as loyal. Like all good Vice Presidents are. Something that the Democratic Socialist left in America couldn't stand.
I think GOV Mike Dukakas would've made a good President. He was a Northeast Liberal but that wasn't his problem. A majority of American Voters in 1988 agreed with the him more then they did with Vice President George Bush. Mike Dukakas's problem wasn't his politics but his Presidential Campaign and how he ran it. Perhaps the worst in World History and he has plenty of competition. I'm thinking of Sen John Kerry in 2004. GOV Dukakas had a 17 point lead over Vice President Bush going into September 88 and he blew it. Over a bogus (for lack of a better word) Political Ad. The problem was that GOV Dukakas didn't take the ad seriously and didn't think many people would believe it. And that was a devastating mistake that he didn't recover from. Because after the Willy Horton ad GOV Dukakas's numbers fell faster then a boulder being dropped from the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Also lackluster performances in the Presidential Debates didn't help either.
Oh but wait in 1992 a little known Governor from Arkansas named Bill Clinton came on the national scene when he ran for President. He was a Liberal Democrat but he was from the South. But he didn't meet the traditional stereotypes as a Liberal Democrat. Because he was the real thing when it came to liberalism. Clinton wasn't viewed as Tax and Spend, Soft on Crime, Soft on Defense etc. I'll spare you the rest you should get the idea by now. Instead GOV Clinton ran on cutting taxes for the Middle Class, expanding the the American Dream for millions of americans. Expanding trade for America putting people on Welfare to work. Safer streets with the Crime bill and preparing America for the post Cold War era.
Clinton wanted to cut taxes for people who were hit hard by the recession of the early 1990's. Expand trade for American Workers and Business's. Because he knew America could compete with anyone in the World. Putting people on Welfare to school so they can get the skills that they need to get a good job. Move to the Middle Class and be Self Sufficient. Cutting the historical Crime Rate with the 1994 Crime bill. Which had restrictions on Hand Gun purchases as well as a Weapons Ban. But also has a 3 Strikes Law and then 25-Life in Prison Law for Violent Criminals. Bill Clinton wanted to prepare America for the post Cold War era by by trying to keep actual Weapons of Mass Destruction out of the hands of Bad Actors States and private Terrorist Groups. This was pre 9/11 by the way. Clinton at the time campaigned on cutting the then record Federal Budget Deficit of 290B$ in half within four years. With steep Budget Cuts and raising taxes on the wealthy who could afford to pay it. And making the Federal Government more effective.
But even though cutting the Budget Deficit, passing the Crime Bill, and trying to reform our Health Care system. Were the right policy decisions to make. The 1993 Deficit Reduction Act did have a large Tax Increase even though it was on High Earners. The 1994 Crime Bill did have new Gun Regulations. The 1993-94 Health Care reform debate was handled so badly. That it was viewed by many voters as "Socialized Medicine" which killed the bill in the Senate. But President Clinton did manage to accomplish three difficult things. The 103rd Congress of 1993-94 at the time might of been the most productive Congress going back to the LBJ Presidency. It also included Family Medical Leave in it as well. So the Clinton Administration managed to accomplish on policy in its first two years. Went a long way in making President Clinton a very successful President. And why he was overwhelmingly reelected in 1996. But they paid a heavy price in the 1994 Mid Terms when they lost Congress to the Republicans. Because not enough americans saw the progress that was being made. And some of that had to do with bad communications from the White House. One of the reasons why they changed Chief of Staff at the White House in 94 just one year into the Presidency. And another reason why they lost Congress because of the legislation they passed. They managed to unite the entire Republican Base against the White House and the Democratic Congress. Who before didn't know what to do after losing the White House in 1992. While democrats held on to Congress.
The Deficit Reduction Act united Corporate America against democrats with the Tax Increase. The Crime Bill united the NRA against democrats with the new Gun Regulations. Don't ask don't tell united the Christian Right against democrats. Because it allowed homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they kept they're sexuality a secret. The failed attempt at Health Care reform united the Insurance Industry against democrats. Because that bill wanted to crack down on abuses by that industry. Plus Bill Clinton being a progressive Baby Boomer from the 60's and a big supporter of Civil Rights and equality for all didn't make him popular with the Christian Right. Who tend to be a lot more conservative on Social Issues to put it mildly. All these factors some of them which couldn't be helped like the generation first Baby Boomer ever elected President of the United States. But some of them were part of the White House's undoing. Like bad communications from the White House. As well as President Clinton managing to offend his Far Left base. With the NAFTA and GAT Trade Deals. As well as the tough Crime Bill with the Three Strikes Law for Violent Offenders. Contributed to Bill Clinton being the first Democratic President since Harry Truman in 1946. To lose control of both Chambers of Congress.
With all the so called Clinton Scandals of the 1990s, whether it be Whitewater Gate, File Gate, Lewinsky Gate or whatever gate. The only two that bothered me, were the failed Health Care reform attempt of 1993-94 and the China Scandal. Involving the 1996 Reelection Campaign. But especially the Health Care failure, because without that failure, republicans would've probably still picked up seats in Congress 1994. Unless President Clinton had an excellent Approval Rating like in the high 50s. But they probably would've picked up around twenty seats in the House. But would've still fallen twenty short of taking the majority. Similar with President Carter in 1978, because generally in a Mid Term Election, the Opposition Party picks up seats in Congress and in a lot of times a lot of seats. There's only a handful of examples in the 20th Century, where the Ruling Party picked up seats in Congress in a Mid Term Election. With Jack Kennedy in 1962 and FDR in 1934. Mid Term Elections are seen as a check on the President to prevent the Presidet from going too far. And maybe the GOP picks up 3-5 seats in the Senate, which would've left the Senate GOP a few seats short of taking the Senate Majority. Meaning that Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole would've been Minority Leader of the House and Senate in the 104th Congress. Instead of Speaker and Leader. And President Clinton would've still gotten reelected President in 1996. Because the economy was improving, the Federal Budget Deficit and Debt were falling. And America was at peace. And Democrats would most likely with a popular President once again retained control of Congress for the 105th Congress as well.
See the Crime Bill and the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993-94 were both very unpopular with the Republican Base. But not enough to give the GOP a 52 seat gain in the House and a 7 seat gain in the Senate. Its the Clinton Health Care failure that won them Congress in 94.
Another Clinton Scandal that bothered me was the October Nightmare of 1996. Not October Surprise but Nightmare. When it was leaked to the press that the Chinese Government might of influenced the Clinton Reelect Campaign. With Campaign Contributions which at the very least would be treason. The idea that a Foreign Government could influence a US Presidential Campaign is frightening. If the Chinese Scandal is true, then that would be an Impeachable Offense. Going into the Fall of 96, President Clinton had a sold lead over Leader Dole. And the House Democrats were on pase to win back control of the House. They only needed to pick up about twenty seats in 96. They were on pase to pick up twenty five. Because of the China Scandal they came up ten short. Because of the 1993-94 Health Care Fiasco and the 96 China Scandal. Democrats weren't able to fully win back the support of the American People. They weren't seen as responsible enough to be a Ruling Party and a Congressional Majority Party at the same time. Which would've made them a Governing Party with a United Government. This is something fifteen years later that the Democratic Party hasn't fully recovered from.
And then the millennium happened the birth of the 21st Century. To paraphrase a famous Ex President, a year that would go down in infamy the year 2000. Or that could be simply summed up as Bush V Gore. The problem with that like most things is that its not that simple. The year 2000 can't be summed up in a few words or a trendy Catch Phrase that you here from some Cookie Cutter sticom. That election like most things is a lot deeper then that. I'm going to make the argument that the US Supreme Court case of Bush V Gore should've never happened. That the American People should've never been exposed to a Florida Civics Lesson on how to run elections or not run elections. That americans should've never been exposed to terms like Hanging Chads or Partial Votes. That there should've never been committees put together to decide when someone intended to vote or not, because they couldn't read the Voter Card. That americans should've never been exposed to Justice Antonin Scalilla saying that the reason that the Florida Recount should be stopped is because the result may hurt then GOV George W Bush.
One simple reason why the Florida Recount should've never happened is because that thousands of Jewish American Voters, enough voters to give the Vice President Al Gore the Florida Election. And in result the Presidential Election. Accidentally voted for Far Right Presidential Candidate Pat Buchanan. A man who wrote a book arguing that America shouldn't of gotten involved in World War II in Europe. Where we saved millions of more Jewish Europeans from being murdered. If those Voter Cards would clear, then most if not all of those votes most likely, would've gone to Vice President Gore. And there's your Presidential Election with Al Gore being elected the 43rd President of the United States. Because Al Gore would've had more then enough Electoral Votes with Florida, to win the election.
In the 2000 Presidential Election on the republican side you had GOV George W Bush of Texas. The son of President George HW Bush, a Governor of a State where the job is not very powerful. Even though the Governor is the Chief Executive of the Texas Executive Branch. Where a lot of the power in the Texas Government resides with the Lieutenant Governor. Which is like the Vice President of Texas, who presides over the Texas Senate but has real power. There in running the Senate unlike the Vice President of the United States. The Lieutenant Governor is an actual President of the Senate. GOV Bush had only been Governor for five years by the time the Presidential Primary Season started in January 2000. The Governorship of Texas is the only Public Office that GOV Bush had ever had. And he was 53 years old at this point, five years of Public Service thats it. Which hurt GOV Bush when he had to answer questions in an in depth way. Actually pre 1986 GOV Bush never had a regular job and wasn't sure what he was going to do with his life. Even though he had a Business Degree from Yale but in 1986 he and his friend Don Evans started their own Texas Oil Company. Where they made a nice fortune together. If George W Bush was named George W Smith or George W Jones. Son on a mechanic or a Construction Worker, not that there's anything wrong with those jobs. Nobody outside of Texas would've probably ever heard of him. His father has played a huge role in his life and in the success he has achieved.
On the other side you had Al Gore two term Vice President of the United States. I believe the most successful Vice President of the United States. As far as his partnership with his President, his influence on the President. And his ability to carry out the President Clinton's policy's. All things that Vice Presidents have to do now going back to Vice President Walter Mondale in the Carter Administration. Who I believe is the Architect of the Modern Vice Presidency, which may be a future blog someday. So stay tune to all of you Political Junkies, if your not a Political Junky. Check it out anyway if your having a hard time sleeping. Vice President Gore was essentially the Chief Operating Officer as well as Chief Counsel on Policy of the Clinton Administration. With access to the same information as President Clinton with real responsibility outside of Congress. Like helping to put together the Clinton Administration back in late 1992 and 1993. Actually ran that operation as well as running President Clinton's Reinventing Government Program in 1993. As well as selling the Clinton Policy's through the media. As well as responsibility in Congress like counting votes and trying to secure votes one way or the other. Depending on President Clinton's positions. January 1993 when Al Gore was sworn in as Vice President of the United States. Is not where Gore started is Public Service career.
Al Gore's Public Service career goes back to the late 1960s early 1970s when he volunteered for the Vietnam War. Same thing with John Kerry, when most people in their generation including George W Bush and Bill Clinton were doing. Whatever they could to avoid serving in the Vietnam War. Then Gore after Vietnam got a job with a local Nashville Newspaper and in 1976 ran for the House of Representatives and was elected. I believe holding the same seat in the House that his father did like twenty years later. He served in the House concentrating on communications and Foreign Policy, as well as Energy Policy. And served four terms in the House and then in 1984 runs for the Senate again taking his father's old seat in the Senate. A Liberal Democrat from Tennessee getting elected to the US Senate. The same year that a Conservative Republican Ron Reagan. Gets reelected in a landslide including winning Tennessee. Sen. Gore concentrated on similar issues in the Senate, as Rep. Gore did in the House. Then in 1988 Sen. Gore believing he was hotter then he was politically runs for President. Lasting only a few months, bombing as bad as a Demi More Movie Festival. But Sen. Gore got a few things from that Presidential Election, that he wasn't ready to be President. And that he wouldn't make the same mistakes the second time he enters National Politics. Do you like the lead in, any idea where I'm going next. Lets end the suspense, after deciding not to run for President in 1992. Probably believing President Bush would get reelected and also believing that GOV Bill Clinton. Another Southern Liberal Democrat would run for President. GOV Clinton nominates Sen. Gore to be his Vice President. Where Al Gore provided the perfect lets say balance, sorry I'm not going to say ying to his yang. Damn I just did but you get the idea, Bill Clinton an Executive, twelve years as Governor of Arkansas. Al Gore a Veteran Members of Congress 16 years in the Federal Government. They both had what the other didn't. They were also very similar politically. Gore also Military and Foreign Policy Experience, very important for a Vice President. And was a Intellectual Rival to Bill Clinton. They would get elected in 1992 and reelected in 1996 both Electoral Landslides.
So on one side you have a Presidential Nominee who didn't grow up until he was 40 years old. And on the other side you have a Presidential Nominee who was ready to serve by the time he graduated college. A mismatch on paper right, surely the 2000 Presidential Election couldn't of been as close as two people freezing together. Unfortunately for my party the 2000 Presidential Election was a close as Siamese Twins. But the 2000 Presidential Election better known as Bush V Gore wasn't just about the recount. There were a few steps on the road to recount that happened for both sides.
One one side you have George Bush running the smoothest Presidential Election. Since Ronald Reagan's 1984 Reelection Campaign. Where he won 49 States and about 59% of the Popular Vote. This is where George W Bush shows his ability as a manager and a businessman in a positive sense. And why people thought he could become President of the United States. And why he was the overwhelming Frontrunner going back to the Summer of 1999. Except for one little problem, a nagging little nat. A little Senator from Arizona but little in Physical Stature only. Who had a long Conservative Record going back seventeen years in Congress. Who had both Barry Goldwater and Ron Reagan as his heros. As well as a distinguished Military Record including serving in the Vietnam War and being a POW. But telling them nothing despite being tortured over and over. One thing that was missing from George Bush's resume was a Military Record. Also Bush's Conservative Record or lack of one, consisted of five years. As Governor of Texas where he had a Democratic Legislature or at least a Democratic Senate to contend with. He was more of a Right of Center Pragmatist then anything else. Showing the ability to work across the isle to get things done. But Right of Center Republicans aren't exactly as popular as Free Trips to Hawaii in the Republican Party. So GOV Bush had a couple of big strikes going against him.
So what did George W Bush have going for him, you might ask. (or could care less) George W Bush's father of course was George HW Bush former President of the United States. Who W Bush worked for his father's Presidential Campaign in 1988. And the Reelection Campaign in 1992 where they of course lost. HW Bush also had a long and good career in Public Service and was well respected in both parties. I have a lot of respect for George HW Bush as well. GOV Bush was Governor of the 2nd largest State in the Union. Which is very important because of the National Media that brings. With two of the largest Media Markets in the country in Texas, Dallas and Houston. George Bush has his personality, love him or hate him. He's very likable with a quick wit. I actually personally like the guy myself, not enough to vote for him. He also has a fairly Mainstream Record as Governor of Texas for the reasons I laid out. And because of all of these things he could appeal to Independent Voters. And also with with Economic Policy, appeal to Economic Conservatives as well. Bush had the entire Republican Establishment behind him because of his name and position. He was an outsider but with some Washington Experience and was seen as electable. GOV Bush had Karl Rove, again love him or hate him, Karl Rove is the new Lee Atwater of the Republican Party but probably even more clever.
On the other side you had the most qualified Presidential Candidate, at least since George H.W. Bush. For the Democratic Party. In Vice President Al Gore but a man who was finding himself or wasn't confident enough in himself, to share with the American People. As being in charge of the most dysfunctional Presidential Campaign since George McGovern in 1972. Vice President Gore had to fire his National Campaign Manager, Tony Coehlo. Right before the 2000 Democratic Primary Season. Gore had trouble answering the question, why he was running for President. Even though he was thinking about being President of the United States. At least since 1987 when he was still a Senator and ran for President the first time. The Vice President also had President Clinton's Monica Lewenski Scandal to deal with. And how to handle or use President Clinton in his Presidential Campaign. the Lewinski Scandal of course was not Al Gore's fault but he could never figure out how to use President Clinton. A very popular and successful President, that he served loyally as Vice President. And played a major role in running the Clinton Administration for eight years. This is going to sound like 20/20 hindsight but Gore could've used Clinton. In the background, as a fundraiser and help unite the Democratic Base behind him. That would've taken advantage of Clinton's Political Skills but kept him in the background. Not thinking about Monica Lewinski. Al Gore from his sixteen years in Congress and eight years as Vice President. Had strong ties in the Democratic Party sorta like Walter Mondale. With his ties to the Civil Rights Movement, Environmental Protection and Organize Labor. As well as the Washington Democratic Establishment behind him. As well as a solid Primary Challenger from former Democratic Senator Bill Bradely to push him. Which made Vice President Gore a stronger Presidential Candidate in the General Election. But despite all the success that Vice President Gore had in winning all of those Democratic Primaries in 2000. The old cheesy expression, take one step and take two back. Fits Al Gore very well with his 2000 Presidential Campaign. Right before the Democratic Convention, Gore nominated Sen. Joe Lieberman to be his Running Mate. Twelve years later as it turns out Sen. Lieberman is a Neoconservative on Foreign Policy and National Security. Even though he's still a Democrat but backed everything that the Bush Administration did. On Foreign Policy and National Security, now I don't believe Gore would've selected Sen. Lieberman as his Running Mate. Had he known Lieberman was a Neoconservative but one of the roles of selecting a Vice Presidential nominee. Is to assure your party that your one of them, someone who can excite the base. Especially in Presidential Elections as tight as the 2000 Election. You don't get that with Joe Lieberman and someone who'll take on the other parties Presidential Nominee. You don't get that with Joe Lieberman, who now serves as an Independent in the Senate. Even though he votes with the Democratic Leadership on most issues. That don't relate to Foreign Policy or National Security. What Lieberman did was to assure the Democratic Base, that Al Gore was a Moderate. He's not but with a pick like Joe Lieberman, that gives Democrats suspicion of that. The last thing you want to do when running for President. Is to make your party think your not one of them, which is what you get with Joe Lieberman. You have to win a majority of Independent Voters while winning your base overwhelmingly and getting them to the polls and working for you. Democrats did have a good convention in 2000, President Clinton did pass the baton so to speak to President Clinton. Gore gave an excellence Nomination Speech and found the message of his campaign, he was going to fight for America and the Middle Class. After the 2000 Democratic Convention a very important thing happened for the Gore Campaign. They finally took the lead over George W. Bush in the polls. After going into the convention 8-10 points down and left 2-3 points ahead. Which is more then a bump, more like a shove from a Grizzly Bear. Gore cleaned Bush's clock, (for lack of a better term) in the first debate on substance. But there was a little problem and it gets back to that old expression. Take one step forward and two steps back. He kept making these sighing gestures and came off as rude and in a culture thats become. So superficial where American Voters now probably weigh as much or more. Whether they actually personally like a politician, rather then who's more qualified for the job. Gore's rude behavior cost him the first debate. And in the 2nd debate, Gore and Bush were both sitting down at a table. And Gore came off as real friendly to a fault and almost bored. Not the fighter he was in the first debate and gave voters a feeling who is this guy. Its not the same guy we saw in the first debate. Then there was the third debate a Townhall Format, which you would think would benefit. George W. Bush, with his folksy charming Texas demeanor. But Bush seemed unable to fill his tim alloted and was speaking in sound bite answers and Gore seemed very prepared, ready to win the debate and election. Too bad this is not the whole story for Al Gore, because this debate is known as the Invasion of Space Debate. Where Bush is answering a question and Gore steps in right where Bush is sitting. As if he was going to interrupt Bush and Bush looked at him. And gave him a humorous nod. As if to say how are you, do you mind, I'll be with you in a minute, I'm talking to someone. This is an example of how superficial our politics have become in America. In our sound bite short attention span culture. Of course there were screw ups on the Florida Election but I don't blame that for Al Gore losing the Presidential Election. I blame Al Gore for losing that election and the people who voted for George W. Bush twice. And now believe he was a bad President. Part 2 Post Bill Clinton Democratic Party President George W. Bush's first two years can be summed up in two numbers. Any guesses, to spare time 9/11, people tend to believe that President Bush had a Republican Congress his first six years in office. They are half right, actually Senate Democrats controlled the Senate. The Upper Chamber in Congress for basically the first two years. They had an Ideologically Majority for the first five months in a 50-50 Senate. And then when Sen. Jim Jeffords switched Caucus's in May 2001. Senate Democrats gained a 51-49 Majority and held that until January 2003. After Congressional Republicans won the Mid Term Elections in 2002. South Dakota Democrat Tom Daschle became the Senate Leader in May 2001 Made for interesting governing with a Divided Congress. House Republicans controlling the House, Senate Democrats controlling the Senate, with a Republican President. The 2002 Mid Terms were about one thing and one thing only, 9/11 and Radical Islamic Terrorism. And how as a nation we were going to combat it and thanks to Nationwide Gerrymandering from both parties. It wasn't a matter if House Republicans were going to keep their majority and if Dennis Hastetert was going to get reelected Speaker or not. But whether Speaker Hastert was going to add to his small majority or not.. The Senate was a different story where Senate Democrats had a bare majority but where Senate Republicans. At least going in, had more vulnerable seats up for reelection. Which was going to make electing Minority Leader Trent Lott the next Senate Leader, a little more difficult. So the 2002 Mid Terms was about which party was going to do the best job in defending the United States against Islamic Terrorism. So since the Mid Terms were about fighting the terrorism, the Congressional Candidates and Incumbents from both parties. That did the best job of convincing their voters that they were stronger to fight terrorism. Were the Candidates that were going to get elected and reelected. Even though the 2002 Mid Terms were about terrorism, there was one big looming distraction just over the horizon. ANy guesses. If you said a War in Iraq, your American History is pretty good up to this point. As it turns out the Bush National Security Council, was preparing to go to war with Iraq. At least since the Invasion of Afghanistan back in 2001. President Bush wanted a Congressional Resolution to give him the authority to Invade Iraq in October 2002. To force the hand of Congressional Democrats, especially Senate Leader Tom Daschle. Senate Democrats controlled the Senate. Bush already knew that the Republican controlled House was going to approve the Resolution. The only qustion was how many House Democrats led by Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. Were going to vote for it Minority Leader Gephardt had already given his approval of the Resolution. And was going to bring House Democrats with him on the Resolution. But the Senate was a different story, because Leader Daschle could've just said no. Or moved to postpone the vote to after the Mid Terms. Which looking back at it now with 20/20 hindsight, would've been a smart play. Because it would've given Senate Committee's with jurisdiction over a possible war. Breathing space to look at the "Slam Dunk"evidence for an Iraq Invasion. And to determine whether this was a good idea or not, instead of rushing into it. And what we would be getting ourselves into.