ELECTIONS (AMERICAN CONGRESSIONAL AND OTTAWA MUNICIPAL).I don't really have too much to say about this so-called Democratic Party "landslide" in the Congressional mid-term elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Needless to say, as part of the Mark Steyn-ian minority of Canadians who generally prefer the Republicans, the Democrats taking both the House and the Senate was not my preferred outcome, and it does distress me greatly that Islamic terrorists were cheering them on, as they see the slight shift among middle-of-the-road voters towards voting Democrat as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve among the American public towards having the troops actually win. However, I'm not that concerned that we'll see that much of an immediate change on the ground in the Middle East as I ultimately believe that it was easy for the Democrats to say that there must be a "better way" than "staying the course" when they didn't have the reins of power to effect change and were saying whatever they believed they needed to say to bring out their base support in elections, but, now that they do have both Congressional reins that merely being critical of "staying the course" is not a plan in and of itself, and it would be suicidal, for both the Iraqi population and for deterring future terrorist attacks on American soil, for them to simply withdraw the troops or funding for the troops before Iraq and Afghanistan are able to defend themselves. The kook fringe among Democrat voters is going to be very dismayed when the "course" under Democrat control turns out virtually indistinguishable from the "course" under Republican control. ("Staying the course" is misunderstood anyway; it just means keeping troops on the ground until the job is done and true victory can be declared, not that the strategies should be unbendable and shouldn't change according to circumstances.)
And, as Rush Limbaugh, Mark Larson, Roger Hedgecock, and Glenn Beck et al. have pointed out, it's not so much that there's been a huge sea change among the American public towards the left wing, it's that Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi recruited enough candidates with small "c" conservative street cred, while the current Republican Party are not the lean n' mean (government) Republican Revolutionaries of 1994. Too many of the Republican candidates are very milquetoast, country club, RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who do and say everything that they think needs to be done and said to be treated nicely by the "Inside the Beltway" media and to appease the mushy middle. This defeat is just the enema that the Republican party needs to get back to the conservative basics to be competitive in 2008.
Meanwhile, here in Ottawa, we're having the municipal elections on Sunday, with embattled incumbent mayor Bob Chiarelli going up against the favoured-to-win Alex Munter, a social activist-type, and the dark horse business-oriented candidate, Larry O'Brien.
I still feel very new to Ottawa and still feel very jejeune when it comes to local politics, but, from what I gather, the big issue, and about the only issue when it comes to what I overhear on CFRA when I'm upstairs and not listening to my favourite right wing American radio talk show hosts on San Diego's KOGO is the controversial plan to bring "light rail" (essentially glorified streetcars) to Ottawa, putting tracks along Slater and Albert Streets downtown and along the Transitway as well as building new tracks to areas in the south of Ottawa like Barrhaven. As someone who still doesn't drive, I'm certainly no foe of public transit, as my many photographs of Ottawa OC Transpo buses (and Gatineau/Hull, Quebec STO (Société de transport de l'Outaouais) buses can attest. And I miss taking the AMT commuter trains in between downtown Montreal and Pincourt. But Montreal's a much bigger city. I find the Ottawa buses mostly sufficient as they are, and would rather see money spent on improved bus services than I would see it spent on the light rail system, which strikes me as being very "I swear it's Springfield's only choice!/Throw up your hands and raise your voice!/MONORAIL! MONORAIL! MONORAIL!" for a medium-sized city like Ottawa.
As such, I'll be voting for Larry O'Brien, who also has the advantage of potentially being a very distant relative of Conan O'Brien, and who, if you put a scar over his right eye, looks vaguely like John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) from Lost.
And, if we get "Locke" as Ottawa mayor, maybe I'll finally be able to find out exactly what is inside that mysterious, nuclear-bunker-like hatch on Meadowlands Drive in eastern Nepean between Chesterton and Tiverton.
Did the Dharma Initiative put it there?