Day: May 21, 2009

Obama vs. Cheney On National Security

President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney both gave national security speeches today, with Cheney’s speech coming exactly two minutes after the end of the Obama speech.

Obama defended his decisions to ban torture and close Guantanamo as a base for holding of terrorists.  He also made clear the need to keep the constitutional guarantees given to us in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as he delivered his nearly 50 minute speech at the National Archives, the repository of these sacred documents, along with the Declaration of Independence.  He also asserted that the Bush-Cheney policies did not make the country safer, alienated our allies in the world, put our soldiers who might be captured under greater threat, and undermined our moral standing, and that torture had not and could not gain information that was crucial to our safety.  As usual, Obama delivered a convincing and articulate speech, and I think gained more backing from the American people for his approach to the issue of national security.

Cheney made the usual arguments favoring torture and keeping Guantanomo open in his 36 minute speech,  and continues to make the connection between Al Qaeda terrorists and Saddam Hussein.  He distorts reality and uses the Big Lie technique, which is that the more you repeat something, the more people will believe it.  Thankfully, only a minority of the American people, and not a large one, believes that Cheney is legitimate in his arguments and reasoning.  But the battle continues for public opinion over the issue of how best to preserve national security.  It will not end anytime soon.

The Partisan Gap And The Growth of Independents

A new poll reveals that the gap between Democrats and Republicans has grown wider, and that the percentage of independents has grown to be the largest voting group.

According to the poll, 36 percent are now independents, while 35 percent are Democrats and 23 percent are Republicans.  The number of Independents is the highest in 70 years and the number who are Republican is the lowest in 25 years. 

While Independents have problems with both major parties, they tend to favor the Democrats when it comes to the issues of government regulation of business in the public interest,  social values, the issue of religion’s role, and the issue of national security.  Only on the issue of expanding the social safety net do we find Independents siding more with the Republican view.

Additionally, the average age of Republicans is getting older, and the younger generation is less socially conservative than they have been in earlier times.  This all bodes well for the future of the Democratic party, along the lines of James Carville’s prediction that his party should hold national power for the next forty years, although not necessarily in every election and every circumstance. 

Of course, if the voting registration continues to favor Democrats, if not the voting in every election, it will set an unbelievable voting registration edge, which began with the accession to power of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, and would, theoretically, with Carville’s projection, mean dominance until at least 2048.  This would mean 116 years of Democratic dominance, as compared to the previous GOP  advantage from 1860-1932,  a  total of 72 years.

In any case, this poll is good news for the Democrats and bad news for the Republicans.