Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Winds of Change in the South

I don't usually blog about U.S. politics. To be honest, I don't know that much about the subject. Their system of government puzzles me and I usually find myself deliberately tuning out all the histrionics.

However, after scanning various morning headlines and editorials, I am left with the following questions:

- What are the implications for Canada?
- What does a shift in popularity to the Democrats mean for the world; especially concerning Iraq and the 'war on terror'?


According to Renan Levine, a University of Toronto political scientist, "the House is a bigger prize for Democrats than the Senate" (CTV):

"Because the minority tends to have quite a lot of power in the Senate and because there's a Republican president, not a hug impact," Levine told CTV.ca on Tuesday.

For example, overturning a presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority, or about 67 votes in the Senate.

"One of the big impacts, though, by taking over the House, the Democrats will have subpoena power," he said.

Under the U.S. system, Congress is charged with the oversight of the executive branch, i.e., Bush and his cabinet, he said.

"They can hold hearings about policy matters that will embarrass the administration," he said. "We're likely going to hear a lot of hearings about Iraq."

Well, I'm turning it over to you, dear readers. Please enlighten me.

16 comments:

Red Tory said...

Same shit, different day. It won't have any impact. Much ado about nothing if you ask me. There might be some more oversight, but that's about it.

Gerry said...

Al-Qaeda in Iraq will be claiming victory soon. It's going to be a very interesting to watch the next two years unfold.

God Bless America...

Zac said...

Meh....

It's more symbolic than functional.

Don't sweat it too much.

Jason Bo Green said...

That was a very good editorial from the Post.

The Democrats should have cleaned up - their numbers are terrible. Classic 'negative victory'. Their vision-less, defeatist victimization act cost them a crushing and decisive blow against a very poor President. Pelosi and Reid should make way for their betters.

jeff davidson said...

the optics of the change may be more important than the actual results. on a simplistic level, it sends a message to the rest of the world that perhaps americans are ready for a change in foreign policy. globally, it can't hurt them.

C. LaRoche said...

This will matter more in 2008 than it does now.

counter-coulter said...

Gerry said...
Al-Qaeda in Iraq will be claiming victory soon.


Nice to see our neighbors to the north picking up neo-con talking points. The fact that Bush's misadventures had actually increased the terrorist threat makes your statement all the more pathetic.

PGP said...

Don't think for a minute that what happens in the US does not affect our lives in Canada.

Nancy Pelosi is a dyed in the wool liberal and completely immersed in the politics and political correctness of the Bay Area she represents.
This includes rabid anti-conservative prejudices and a full on case of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
Expect assaults on every republican initiative and politically motivated legal attacks on all things from the Whitehouse.....this bunch will do everything in their power to exact revenge on Conservative Americans for having the temerity to think that they could have their say in how the nation should be run.

Market futures already trending down have taken a steeper trajectory...expect that to continue.

The good thing is that given 2 years of what can be expected from the Dems in congress Americans will once again be ready to put them out of office.

Lastly Counter-Coulter ...the tired and untrue rhetoric of the left's anti-war chants are no more factual today than yesterday. Give it up.

And hope to hell the Dem's don't open the door to more attacks on your population. Which by the way puts Canadians at risk as well.

counter-coulter said...

PGP said...
Lastly Counter-Coulter ...the tired and untrue rhetoric of the left's anti-war chants are no more factual today than yesterday. Give it up.


For your edification: National Intelligence Estimate:

National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) express the coordinated judgments of the US Intelligence Community made up of 16 intelligence agencies, and thus represent the most authoritative assessment of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) with respect to a particular national security issue.

So yeah...you're right...I mean what do the collective judgments of 16 intelligence agencies know as compared to the infinite wisdom of say, Rush Limbaugh. But nice try on attempting to pass off your opinion as something authoritative.

And hope to hell the Dem's don't open the door to more attacks on your population. Which by the way puts Canadians at risk as well.

That's a good one. Bush and his neo-con buddies go and destabilize the Middle East with an elective war and no strategy for winning, but it's the Dems that you have to worry about? Now who's attempting to pass off "tired and untrue rhetoric".

RGM said...

Because I like answering some questions:

1. For Canada-US relations, this doesn't mean terribly much, at least not that we'll actually see in the daily headlines. Public diplomacy between states is done by the heads of government, and that means it's still the Steve and George show. Quiet diplomacy, however, may be given more of a chance, particularly with the northern states. There's also the notion that Canadian officials of most stripes tend to work better with Democratic counterparts than they do when Republicans are running the show. That will be put to the test, as there's the potential for members of the House of Representatives from northern states to meet and mingle with Canadian colleagues. The Canada lobby in the US hasn't been particularly strong in recent years, and perhaps all the changes--on both sides of the border--will allow for more dialogue.

2. On a more global scale: even with Rumsfeld's departure, the folks who handle the majority of foreign policy/grand strategy issues are still Republicans--those in the White House and the Administration. What exactly the Congressional Democrats will do regarding Iraq and the broader War on Terror remains to be seen. A lot of the agenda for the "first 100 hours" involves domestic issues, plus as Jason Bo Green is fond of (rightly) saying, the Dems have yet to really put forward a strong strategy for winning in Iraq. It's not going to be until 2008 that there will be seismic shifts in the way America conducts its foreign affairs, but there is the opportunity to tinker a little bit with the existing framework (which is desperately needed).

Joanne (True Blue) said...

This is great! Thanks, guys!

As I consult my U.S. Primer, I see that:

General consensus is that this is not a huge deal, but perhaps an indication of things to come.

RGM, your comments seem very well thought out, and mesh with what I've heard today. The Democrats in the northern states may have positive influences on our affairs vis-a-vis bridges, pipelines (jobs), etc.

All in all, maybe a good thing to shake up the Republicans, and hopefully fix things up before the next election?

Can't help thinking that Saddam Hussein must have a little smile on his face tonight though.

counter-coulter said...

Joanne (True Blue) said...
Can't help thinking that Saddam Hussein must have a little smile on his face tonight though.


I see the CPCers are able to bury their heads just as far as their neocon brethren to the south. I'm going to spare you the embarrassing question of your rational behind such a ludicrous statement and assume that you opted for a willful disregard of reality. What sweet bliss one must derive from such stupendous depths of ignorance.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

What sweet bliss one must derive from such stupendous depths of ignorance.

What a lovely comment. I can't take all the credit though, after seeing the political cartoon in yesterday's National Post.

Thatguy said...

Being an American and a 911 Republican (therefore a neocon) myself I see real trouble these next two years. Tax increases, a cut and run mentality in Iraq (meaning de-funding the war) and Afghanistan, impeachment proceedings, amnesty for Mexican illegals (which cost the state billions in public assistance and unpaid medical bills), censorship of talk radio (Fairness doctrine), more but I'm too sad to say. *Sniffles

Oh btw the NIE estimates are notoriously and lol mealy-mouthed in their estimates. It makes the assertion that the war in Iraq encourages more people to volunteer for terrorism but that leaving Iraq would encourage even more! It also says that Al-Qaida has been so terribly bitten up by coalition forces so much so that the new terror recruits will have less killing power and lethality. All in all an inconsistent take on events. Hardly gospel to base your opinions.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

That guy, thanks for joining the discussion! Great to hear your perspective.

Pardon my ignorance of U.S. politics, but what are "NIE estimates"? Thanks.

Thatguy said...

Oh that's the National Intelligence Estimates Counter Coulter was trying to flog. My best friend (about to serve in the Taiwanese army) studied them in grad school and they're clearly bureaucratic gobbledygook according to him.

Thanks for the welcome. I'll stop on by when I can. I was attracted to your post based on a google search on 'liberal trolls' and your advice on dealing with them popped up. lol