Wednesday, November 08, 2006

US mid-term elections - lessons for Australian politics?

At the risk of antagonising the 'stick to Council issues' eCouncillor readers I will delve slightly on tonight's US election results. It is difficult to compare US results with any lessons for Australia particularly given the nature of politics under the USA non-compulsory voting system. An interesting release from Log Cabin Republicans (Gay and Lesbian Republicans, their friends, families and supporters) below. Was it Iraq or social conservatism that turned the result? Will Australia's major political parties under the growing influence of the religious conservatives heed the warning from the LCR? Inner city residents continue to raise these issues with their Councillors.

"The social extremists have taken our Party off track. They're largely to blame for what happened in this election. They should step out of the way and let mainstream Republicans bring our Party back to its core principles. That's how we'll win again." LCR

News ReleaseFor Immediate Release
November 7, 2006

Log Cabin Republicans Blast Social Conservatives for Causing Defeat in House

GOP House Leaders Lost Sight of What Brought our Party to Power
(Washington, DC)—"Republicans lost this election because independent voters abandoned the GOP," said Log Cabin Executive Vice President Patrick Sammon. "Social conservatives drove the GOP's agenda the last several years. Their divisive agenda alienated the mainstream Republicans and independents who determined this election's outcome. Social conservatives should take responsibility for this loss."
"Democrats didn't win because of anything they stood for. They won because of Republican mistakes," said Sammon. "GOP leaders lost sight of what brought our Party to power in 1994. Limited government, lower spending, high ethical standards and accountability, and other unifying GOP principles attracted a broad coalition of support including fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, mainstream Republicans, libertarians, and independents. Now we've lost the U.S. House because Party leaders turned their backs on the GOP's core principles and catered only to social conservatives."
"Our Party's Congressional leaders drove over the bridge to nowhere and left their principles behind," said Sammon. "The Republicans lost touch with the issues that matter to mainstream voters. The American people lost confidence in the GOP's ability to govern because of misplaced priorities and ethical scandals. The Party should've focused on core kitchen table issues that impact voters' lives. Instead of cutting spending, cleaning up lobbying rules, reforming immigration laws, or balancing the budget, GOP leaders catered to the fringe on wedge issues such as the anti-marriage amendment and the Terri Schiavo case," said Sammon.
A failure to articulate a clear policy on the Iraq war was also a major factor in this defeat. And the ethical problems of some Congressmen caused voters to turn on the GOP. "These results show us that character counts. Our Party must nominate candidates who have the integrity worthy of their office," said Sammon.
Log Cabin Republicans across America worked hard to elect inclusive GOP candidates to all levels of government. Our members donated their time, talent, and financial resources to support inclusive Republicans. "Log Cabin congratulates our allies who won their elections, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Gov. Jodi Rell (R-CT), Gov. Linda Lingle (R-HI), and Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH). Unfortunately, an anti-GOP mood swept out some good mainstream Republicans such as Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Nancy Johnson (R-CT), and Charlie Bass (R-NH).
"Log Cabin is more committed than ever to helping bring our Party back to power in Congress," said Sammon. "The social extremists have taken our Party off track. They're largely to blame for what happened in this election. They should step out of the way and let mainstream Republicans bring our Party back to its core principles. That's how we'll win again."
"A strategy that caters solely to a narrow group may win one election, but it won't create a permanent majority. The GOP spent the last several years catering to social extremists. But social conservative leaders will always bully and threaten instead of working for the Party's future," said Sammon. "They're an unreliable foundation who can't be trusted for long term support."
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and further the re-election of Governor Schwarzenegger

Log Cabin Congratulate Governor Schwarzenegger on Resounding Election Victory

Governor’s Victory Shows the Power of Inclusion

(Sacramento, CA) – “Log Cabin congratulates Governor Schwarzenegger for his re-election victory,” said Jeff Bissiri, Log Cabin’s California Director. “The Governor has reached out to all Californians including the gay and lesbian community. The Governor’s inclusive leadership is a model for other Republicans around the nation. His re-election shows that inclusion wins,” said Bissiri.

On a night when the national Republican Party suffered many defeats, Schwarzenegger’s victory shows that mainstream inclusive politics is a winning strategy. “The Governor’s agenda should be a model for other Republicans around the nation,” said Log Cabin Executive Vice President Patrick Sammon. “Schwarzenegger won this race by pursuing a positive common sense agenda that appealed to both conservatives and mainstream voters.”

Since taking office in 2003, Governor Schwarzenegger has signed over 20 bills supportive of the gay and lesbian community including expansion of domestic partnership rights, hate crimes protection, housing and employment non-discrimination laws, improving HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment strategies, and ending the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the state militia. The Governor has spoken out publicly against the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment and has been one of the nation's leading voices advocating for a "Big Tent" Republican Party.

“Log Cabin proudly endorsed Governor Schwarzenegger. Many of our members across the state volunteered on his campaign and provided important financial support for him. We look forward to continuing our support for his efforts to bring people together and build an even brighter future for the state of California,” said Bissiri.

On June 29, 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger was guest of honor at an event to support the work of Log Cabin. He made history as the first Republican governor in California to speak to the gay and lesbian community. In a rousing speech, Schwarzenegger declared that he was "committed to being a Governor for all Californians" and was "proud to stand side by side with Log Cabin in their work to offer basic fairness for gay and lesbian citizens." He went on to say, "A person should only be limited by his dreams and not by his background, and not by his heritage and not by his sexual orientation...We are united in the values of love, tolerance, and understanding? working together we can create a better future for California where everybody matters and every family counts."


Toby said...

LCR ignore the gay sex scandals which also played a part in the election. You draw far too long a bow trying to blame the loss on religion, even with the tenuous link that "inner city" residents raise this issue with their councillors. If 90% or so of the US population is religious, the illogicality of your point is patent.

If the Republicans had spent less, been less corrupt (fiscally and sexually) and done some reforming of social security and immigration, they would not have lost, however religious they were.

Shayne Mallard said...

I agree that the sex scandals have contributed to the election disaster for the Republicans - because they have underlined the hypocrisy of the neo con social agenda and helped spotlight the party out there on the isolated hard right of the political spectrum. The result against the trend and lessons learnt by Schwarzenegger show the way forward on social inclusiveness desired by most mainstream people and not the politics of division and wedges playing one group off against the fears or prejudices of another.