Friday, November 3


A good friend of mine at work, a Republican who enjoys talking politics with me, dropped into my office this morning for one of our periodic discussions. James is one of the most brilliant men I know, an early-thirties type with master's degrees in both business and information systems (from MIT), a former Bain consultant and for the past few years director of strategic planning for my company. And he's voting for Kinky Friedman for Texas governor.

James began our little talk by wondering aloud if the Republican strategy that has bonded economic conservatives, social conservatives and paleo-conservatives to consolidate their power, isn't unraveling (James is an economic conservative). His contention was that not one of the three groups has gotten what they wanted from the Bush administration, though Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.

I thought about it for a minute, and then took issue with him. The economic conservatives got their longed-for tax cuts, though they certainly didn't get the fiscal restraint they expected from a government wholly controlled by the Republicans. The social conservatives, though they didn't get constitutional amendments banning abortion and gay marriage, did get conservative Supreme Court justices and a presidential veto of expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. It's only the paleo-conservatives that have gotten virtually nothing from this administration. Basically isolationists, they've seen their pet peeves -- foreign military adventures and nation building -- embraced and advanced by Dubya, and their biggest worry -- illegal immigration -- receive a presidential proposal for a guest-worker program, a path to citizenship for illegals already in the country, and border security receiving the short shrift.

James agreed, and then pointed out that it's a fantasist's dream to expect that any one of those groups would turn to the Democrats in the voting booth. "Something's better than nothing," he concluded.

That's pretty much the reaction of all my Republican friends. Still, they don't seem awfully anxious to cast that vote.

Or so I thought. I left work to vote early, and as I did, on the elevator I ran into one of my fellow Directors who was doing the same. He was on his way to vote a straight Republican ticket. While I was standing in line for my ballot, I heard a familiar voice behind me and turned around to discover the CEO of our commercial construction unit (we're dear friends) also voting early. We hugged, then he said, "I should have noticed your car outside and punctured your tires so the Democrats would have one less vote. But then, I guess I should have done it before you got in line."

So much for them staying at home. All the hoopla and projections about Dems retaking the House give me hope, but not confidence. That's why Sunday and Tuesday I'm hosting MoveOn GOTV events at my house. We can't take anything for granted. We have to do everything we can. Or live with the consequences.



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