27 October 2010

Thoughts Before Election Day 2010

Perhaps unlike many with whom I share common values – call us Tea Partiers, conservatives, Constitutionalists, whatever – I am hesitant to become too excited about the upcoming election day. I can best express my feelings of the prospects this election day with an analogy to watching Chicago Blackhawks hockey. The analogy isn’t perfect; no analogy is, I suppose. But it will suffice for the time being.

As a life-long Blackhawks fan, I had suffered through what some have called 49 years of futility. Most un-memorable, perhaps, were the teams of the early 2000s. Or rather, they were memorable for what they might have been.

It wasn’t that the Blackhawks did not ice good players during the early 200s. But it seemed that the team either expected too much from players or that certain players didn’t expect enough of themselves. A fan favorite like Kyle Calder eventually left Chicago after the 2005-06 season, bounced around the league, and never again approached the 20-goal mark he twice broke in the Windy City. While in Chicago, Calder was given first line time and put up bigger numbers as his career progressed, though his hard work in the ugly areas of the ice is his forte. The team expected a lot of Calder. Perhaps he did not understand how he would fit in elsewhere, or that his leading role on the Blackhawks was earned and would not transfer to elsewhere. In any case, Calder has not played in the NHL for nearly a year. On the other hand, Tyler Arnason was given every chance to become a star in the league. What’s more, he had the skills to be a star. But as is widely reported, Arnason didn’t have the tenacity to show up for every game and every shift. He would take shifts off regularly. He did not expect enough of himself. And so, Arnason also left the NHL, or rather, the NHL left him behind.

The Republican Party – the only party which has an abundance of candidates and officeholders who are conservative – probably suffers from both of the above symptoms. We, as supporters of the party, cannot ask too much of our elected officials. By that, I mean that we must not throw them under the bus if they are unable to do the vital things we are asking of them. If they plow ahead in a steady manner, if they do not deviate from the course (meaning “compromise” away the legislative exercise of our common goals), then we should allow them the time to continue their work. On the other hand, those who do not have the tenacity for the task at hand – the rebuilding of our government based on a non-living, non-breathing Constitution – must be left behind, and this must be done during the primary process. We must not allow unopposed reelection of all sitting Republicans simply due to their incumbency. Each and every candidate must be accountable for his record during the primary.

The post-lockout defensive re-tooling of the Blackhawks, through the signing of Adrian Aucoin and Jassen Cullimore, was supposed to provide the ‘Hawks with a steady, explosive core from which to build. Unfortunately, management had not factored in rules changes when these players were signed. The ‘Hawks had been rebuilt for a game which had existed before the lockout; the game – and many players on the way to the net – passed the Blackhawks by. It took years to rebound from that mistake. In fact, about four years.

If the “game” passes conservatives by, if it passes Republicans by, we need to keenly take note of that. Once in the majority in either legislative house, Republicans must begin the effort to repeal and replace, to de-develop the federal government. Those who would be passive because, and in truth, such efforts will be vetoed by the sitting President need to be challenged in their next primary race and thereby replaced. The process of replacing these folks whose time has passed will indeed take years, but that rebuilding effort will be well worth it.

Finally, there were many times in the early 2000s when, as a Blackhawk fan, optimism ran high – indeed, too high. Even within individual games, there seemed to (even if only occasionally) be a sort of “high” in every potential win. And yet all too often, the outcome would be negative. One common refrain between my sister and I when watching the ‘Hawks was, “That would have been cool.” This feeling ran so deep – the high expectations followed by dispiriting let down – that when Patrick Kane scored the Stanley Cup winner in overtime, I stood motionless in front of the television. I did not celebrate; I stood silently and waited for the play to be waved off, for the referee to blow the whistle for the next faceoff. I went so far as to, in the most pessimistic part of my mind, concede Game 6, Game 7, and the Cup. It would have been true to form for the ‘Hawks of the early 2000s – not their fault, just destined to happen. Only after Kane’s goal became official did I allow myself to believe.

The same stand true for my expectations for Tuesday night, 2 November 2010. It seems that all of the pundits and true electoral experts (like Barone) are predicting a Republican house and a split Senate. Given the history of the Republican Party, I won’t be all that excited with a win on Tuesday. I’ll be excited if, once in office, Republicans stick to the hard road of de-developing the federal government. Anything short of that will not be cause for celebration.

No comments: