"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."
-- Winston Churchill
George Allen just gave his concession speech. By all accounts it was classy and humble. So, it's official; the Lieberman spanner not withstanding, Democrats have taken Congress. I think it's fair that everyone takes a deep breath and enjoys the afterglow; maybe take the afternoon off. Go to the park, feed the ducks, or sit quietly on a bench and watch Republicans tear each other apart.
Actually, there seems to be some real reflection and self examination going on in certain conservative quarters. That is to be commended and encouraged. These are people Democrats can work with in the coming months -- they should not be alienated with badly choreographed, extremely drunk, in-your-face "Kiss My Ass" victory dances.
Still, when Rush Limbaugh steps forward with his hat in his hand, sniveling that he's been lying and that he didn't mean many of the thing's he said, that he was only following party orders and that, he for one, actually welcomes the new Overlords. Well, I just want to punch him in his bloated, Oxycontin-chewing, Santorum-smeared face.
I don't want to rain on a much deserved parade--BUT, I do have grave concerns about the coming months. The bulb atop my little Tin Foil Hat is flashing 'Etruscan Sun Yellow', that means 'Threat Level Elevated'.
Have expectations been raised to high? Have the Democrats just inherited an unwinnable situation in Iraq for which they will be ultimately held responsible? (remember, Vietnam was initially Kennedy's war but is associated by many with Nixon.) Will a continuation of the President's policies in Iraq be successfully spun as Democratic impotence? Will Republicans be able to successfully skip-out two years hence leaving a foreign policy bomb in Democratic hands as it detonates? Will the ensuing explosion permanently destroy any Democratic hopes for the future? Will a now berserk, foaming Republican attack machine wreck havoc on Democrats, and by extension the country, as they did during the Clinton administration (The Arkansas Project, Anita Hill, Paula Jones, Troopergate, Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, Kenneth Starr and whisper campaigns that included suggestions of murder, rape and illegitimate children.)
In a word, are Democrats being set-up?
Still, 'Little Tin Foil Hat' not withstanding - Glenn Greenwald has nudged the optimist in me awake! He has some words many on the Left would do well to consider while swaning about the High Road in their party dresses.
The basic mechanics of American democracy, imperfect and defective though they may be, still function. Chronic defeatists and conspiracy theorists -- well-intentioned though they may be -- need to re-evaluate their defeatism and conspiracy theories in light of this rather compelling evidence which undermines them (a refusal to re-evaluate one's beliefs in light of conflicting evidence is a defining attribute of the Bush movement that shouldn't be replicated).
Karl Rove isn't all-powerful; today, he is a rejected loser. Republicans don't possess the power to dictate the outcome of elections with secret Diebold software. They can't magically produce Osama bin Laden the day before the election. They don't have the power to snap their fingers and hypnotize zombified Americans by exploiting a New Jersey court ruling on civil unions, or a John Kerry comment, or moronic buzzphrases and slogans designed to hide the truth (Americans heard all about how Democrats would bring their "San Francisco values" and their love of The Terrorists to Washington, and that moved nobody).
All of the hurdles and problems that are unquestionably present and serious -- a dysfunctional and corrupt national media, apathy on the part of Americans, the potent use of propaganda by the Bush administration, voter suppression tactics, gerrymandering and fundraising games -- can all be overcome. They just were.
And speaking of the High Road (with a couple of changes by me)
Dear dismayed conservatives:
We hereby make these promises to you.
We will protect your lives and livelihoods.
We will listen to and respect your beliefs.
We will never try to force you to change your religion or sexual orientation.
We will do our best to reduce the number of abortions in our country.
We will have no tolerance for corruption and cronyism, even in our own party. ESPECIALLY in our own party.
We will never tell you that you are unpatriotic.
We will never threaten you.
We will never tell you that your opinion doesn't count.
We will never waste your lives for power.
WE will work for true election reform and protect the integrity of all of our votes, yours included!
We will hold our leaders to a high ethical standard and when they succumb to lust for power, we will hold them accountable.
If we forget this, please, please, please, remind us.
We need you to do this. You are America as much as we are.