Politics & Policy

November Surprise

It will be nice to be a Republican on November 8.

Media reality says that the Democrats are going to win — either a colossal win or at least a narrow win — in the House and Senate races November 7. Maybe. But I am sticking to my view, expressed last June 15, that the Republicans will actually gain seats this fall, both in the House and in the Senate. Well, maybe only in the Senate, while holding the House.

#ad#Put another way, I am expecting a delicious “November Surprise.”

I know, I know. Unrealistic. All my friends who are numbers crunchers and “realistic” think that the Republicans are toast. Some of these friends favor the Republicans, others don’t.

And, yes, there are a growing number of “close races” that have led the Democrats to reduce their highest hopes. The Dems are running a little more scared. To be sure, all these close races, especially in the Senate, but also in the House, could still break for the Democrats. But in mid-term elections everything depends on turn-out, as the proportion of registered voters who actually vote is much lower than in presidential years. This factor alone magnifies the chances that the party with the better organization will pull off a great surprise.

What matters is how many real hands physically cast a vote. This is a body thing, not an opinion thing. Opinions actually have to be made flesh, incarnated in living voters. (Well, in some Democratic cities, the voters don’t have to be living. Some keep rising from the dead every election year to stand in long lines to vote Democratic. In which cities? You know who you are. One begins with a “B”; another with a “C”; another with a “P”; and another with an “M”.)

So get ready, Democrats. Have your explanations at hand. This is an election you should have won quite handily. You didn’t win in 2002 or 2004, and by rights there ought to be a big backlog that is going your way. In 2006 there are many seats you should pick up that you probably will not.

As for myself, I can take a Democratic win. After so many years in the desert, they really ought to. I will evince proper equanimity, even humility, if they do. Then I will resolve to come back and fight another day.

Not that one vote matters, but I will not vote Democratic as long as the Democrats defend abortion, as they once defended slavery, in almost the same way and by almost the same arguments, especially their references to “choice” (see Lincoln vs. Douglas in the Illinois debates). In both cases they flew smack-dab against natural right. In both cases they pleaded “choice.” No man, Lincoln said, can choose slavery for himself, thus neither can he do so for another. No woman can choose abortion for herself, thus neither can she do so for another.

Why a November 7 Surprise?

The Republican base is extremely angry at the mainstream media. The media have ceased to be striped-shirted referees in the ring. This year, day after day, they have been throwing sucker punches aimed to help the Left. Nowadays, there is no trustworthy referee. Where a reasonably impartial press (tilting only slightly left) used to be, there is now only a passion to hurt a president in a time of war, the most dangerous war in our history. Republicans will be voting against the left-wing media, the left-wing courts, and the whole culture of the Left.

Recent court decisions — New Jersey most immediately — show so much contempt for moral tradition (as if our grandfathers were less moral than we), such a lack of intellectual acuity (as if matrimony were a contract like any other, as if it were a human bond like any other, as if it were of no more crucial service to the survival of the State than any other human relation — say, of two elderly sisters caring for each other), and such an arrogant disregard of the will of the governed that once more, yet again, they have unmasked the ugly culture of the Left.

The kerfuffle between Michael J. Fox and Rush Limbaugh will not blind the public to the deception built into the fine print of the proposed cloning referendum on the Missouri ballot this year. Mr. Fox is deserving of the utmost sympathy and respect. Yet the truth is, he admits to not having read that fine print, or the full text of, the proposed law.

That Missouri bill is a fraud. It is not, in fact, a stem-cell bill, as it is being called. It is, in the fine print that goes on at such length on the ballot, a cloning bill. his new horror would allow families in Missouri and elsewhere to begin to profit from exploiting poor, young women for their eggs, needed for cloning. These companies might start what in effect are farms for the eggs of young women, in need of a few dollars. This is because embryonic-stem-cell research requires a huge supply of eggs.

The accusations being leveled at Republicans on this issue overlook two truths. First, nearly all pro-life politicians, Democrats as well as Republicans, are in favor of research on stem cells taken from adult tissues. (Adult stem cells have been showing a great many successes in research helpful to the needy; embryonic stem cells do not show good results. So far they are all hype and no substance, all bun and no beef.)

Second, President Bush has raised not a single objection to adult-stem-cell-research, and in fact is the first president ever to make federal funds available for research on embryonic-stem-cell lines.

So there is more research going on today on stem cells, adult and embryonic, than ever before.

Yet why aren’t big companies investing billions in embryonic stem-cell research, if it holds as much promise as its passionate supporters imagine? The prospects of success look exceedingly slim. Why invest good money in a faulty set of presuppositions? (Unless the government wastes the taxpayers money by paying the companies to do it, without cost to themselves.)

In Maryland, I am sorry to report, the gutsy Fox made the mistake of asserting that the gallant black candidate for the U.S. Senate, Michael Steele — probably the most exciting single candidate running for office this year — is opposed to stem-cell research. But that is a lie, and Steele batted it out of the park within 24 hours of its delivery. Steele is not opposed to stem-cell research, certainly not to adult-stem-cell research, by far the most prominent kind. And clinical evidence suggests that adult stem cells are far more successful in bringing relief to the suffering. By contrast, embryonic stem cells have tended to grow in rather wild, unwanted directions, into tumors, monsters, and dead-ends.

The issue is, as the brilliant, witty, and good-humored Michael Steele puts it: Why should we kill living embryos, harvested from thousands of young women in “embryo farms,” in order to do cruel experiments, with no proven record of success, or even probable promise of success? Even if success were certain, why farm so many eggs from young women, and then why kill them? How does the end justify those draconian means?

Adult-stem-cell research, yes. Embryo farming, and embryo killing, no.

There is also the fact that sober voters will know that, when they pull the lever, if that lever comes down on a Democratic candidate enough times, it will cost them at least two thousand dollars in higher taxes. For almost certainly, the creative cuts in tax rates made against furious Democratic resistance during the last four years — and, not so incidentally, now producing record-setting incoming federal revenues each year — will be allowed to lapse under Democratic leadership.

And I have not even mentioned the most complex and dangerous war that our nation has ever been bombed into, as it was on that shocking clear day of September 11, 2001. A war begun by terrorists, which this country cannot squirm away from, or evade, or wish away, even if a plan-less, rookie leadership wished to do so.

Hug a Democrat on November 8

Whatever Democrats think, actual reality will set in on the morning of November 8, or perhaps not long thereafter.

Good luck, my Democratic friends. If you lose, don’t despair. Go back to the drawing boards and put the Democratic party back on its older, winning track.

For Democrats, it will be hard even to admit that they lost. Democrats do not go easy into that good night.

For some number of Democrats, the highest paying job they will ever have is provided for out of the public purse. Besides, Democrats really do believe that the nanny state is what a good state should be, and that only they can run it.

For Republicans, losing is a bit easier. Republicans depart from government with a lighter step. They do not place such hopes in it.

And What If I am Wrong?

So, then, what about this particular Election Day, and its actual, one-by-one casting of election returns?

Well, we will see.

I respect the intelligence of the voters. I will happily enough accept their verdict, and begin again from there.

But I cannot shake the feeling that the night of November 7 might be a happy one for me. The common sense of voters, first, and then the efficiency of a highly motivated turn-out effort on the part of Republicans, should surprise most of the prognosticators.

Of course, that, too, may be an illusion. We will shortly see.

Michael Novak is the winner of the 1994 Templeton Prize for progress in religion and the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. Novak’s own website is www.michaelnovak.net.

Michael Novak — Michael Novak is Catholic philosopher, journalist, novelist, and diplomat. The author of more than twenty-five books on the philosophy and theology of culture, Novak is most widely known for his ...

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