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Think positive!

Discussion in 'News' started by Nekro, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. Nekro

    Nekro Elite Member

    Joined: Feb 19, 2003 Messages: 2,568 Likes Received: 1
    For a couple of days I just had to switch off the television and toss out my newspapers unopened. It's not so much that I couldn't endure the parade of understandably excited conservatives gloating about their great new governing mandate. (Though I do feel that if Bush intends to take a much-belated stab at being a uniter, his first move should be to have Grover Norquist's lips stapled shut.) The bigger annoyance was the media's predictable, tedious insistence on painting Tuesday's events in the most earth-shattering terms imaginable.

    With media types, no event is self-contained or mundane. It must be a watershed moment or part of a burgeoning trend or the sign of something monumentally sinister to come. Even a truly seismic event like September 11 can't be allowed to stand on its own. It must signal "the end of irony" or some incredible horseshit like that. Thus, Tuesday's Very Bad Day for Democrats can't be just that. It must have some sort of historic, enduring import that will give the chattering class something to chatter about for at least another few weeks.

    By far the most annoying post-election line I'm hearing over and over again is how remarkable it is that George W. Bush managed to become the first presidential candidate since 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote. Oh my God! How remarkable! Let's see: This means that, with his 51 percent of the vote, W. managed to break the long, non-popular-majority string of exactly two presidents--Bill Clinton and himself. Of course, to make the comparison meaningful we need to factor in that, unlike 1992, 1996, and 2000, this year there was no serious third-party challenger peeling away votes. But still, W. managed a better electoral margin than one whole president other than himself. How ever will he handle the burden of it all?

    Then there's all the gasping about the Republicans gaining seats in the House. How on earth did that happen? Well, since several of the seats were gained in Texas, it probably has something to do with Tom DeLay's spending the past couple of years bending laws in order to carve up the Lone Star State into congressional districts more twisted than Bill O'Reilly's fantasy life. (Rumor has it DeLay even approached Vicente Fox about letting Mexico reclaim some stubbornly Democratic pockets near the border.) I suppose anyone who hadn't read a newspaper since 2000 might have been unaware of the Hammer's machinations and thus shocked by Tuesday's developments. But everyone else should try to sound a little less breathless.

    The Democrats' Senate losses were more upsetting, though (with the possible exception of Tom Daschle's defeat) hardly the historic stunner that you'd assume from listening to the pundits. In a presidential election year with the incumbent's base ultra-energized over social issues like same-sex marriage (a hot-button topic that was on the ballot in eleven states), the Democrats lost seats across an increasingly Republican South. Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? Hardly--especially when you consider that the Dems could not have built a presidential candidate from scratch who was less in tune with the culture of Middle America than John Kerry. Seriously. The guy makes Steve Forbes look earthy.

    Yes, Democrats had a lousy Tuesday and probably need to do a little soul-searching--although less about their policy positions than about how they wound up with such an unappealing candidate. But it's not like we endured some Reaganesque landslide for W. and his world view. This nation is near-evenly split and, as such, the Democrats have an obligation to limit their paralyzing self-recriminations and resume fighting the good fight as soon as possible.

    Now I realize that regaining your zip can be difficult when everyone's yammering about the utter bleakness of your position. So to help jumpstart the recovery, I'd like to point out a handful of bright spots to come out of Tuesday. Most are minor, but, hell, this week, non-conservatives have gotta find solace wherever we can:

    · There was no Nader Factor. Democrats lost this race all on their own, without any help from that bitter, pious, self-aggrandizing little nutter. Now maybe we can all go back to ignoring Ralph's bizarre tirades about how everyone in the country except him is a greedy corporate tool.

    · The Christian Right is going to get the shaft. All those devout social conservatives credited with propelling Bush to victory may win some small-scale battles in Bush-Cheney 2. But on their pet issue of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, their prayers will almost certainly go unanswered--not because Bush gives a damn about the rights of gay people, but because amending the constitution would require expending an awful lot of political capital. My suspicion is that, his personal relationship with Jesus notwithstanding, Bush would still rather spend his political capital slashing taxes.

    · The Iraq mess. As badly as his team has bungled the occupation thus far, Bush still has a better shot at making things right than Kerry did. If nothing else, George and Dick will have greater freedom to request more money or troops (or, alternatively, to start calling the troops home) than would a Democratic commander-in-chief who had to keep one eye on the Republican Congress and one on his reelection chances.

    · We will all be spared Teresa Heinz Kerry as First Lady. Forget Hillary: A few months of the imperious, impolitic Tuh-ray-zah would have convinced all of red-state America (and a fair chunk of blue) that maybe the Taliban was onto something with that policy about women being neither seen nor heard.

    · California passed its stem-cell research funding initiative. This means that a chunk of public money will be going to important medical research, and social conservatives will have no one to blame but a Republican governor so popular that not even Karl Rove wants to tangle with him.

    · Zell Miller is officially out of the Senate, allowing his former Democratic colleagues to dispense with all that tradition-mandated comity and start treating him like the crazy old bastard he is.

    · Four more years of the Bush twins. The Kerry girls were far too boring and mature to provide much in the way of spectator sports. But with Princess Jenna in possession of a real ID and an increasingly trashy fashion sense, the next four years promise to be one big tabloid extravaganza.

    · Finally, for all those really bitter, vindictive Democrats out there, it bears noting that second terms have, on at least a couple of notable occasions, proved bumpy for presidents. (Eight years may simply be too long for the leader of the free world to stay out of hot water.) And considering all the economic and foreign-policy problems that George and Dick have saddled the nation with, there are plenty of opportunities in the coming administration for them to reap the unpleasantness they've sown.

    Of course, one has to be careful when wishing failure upon the White House. No one wants W. to win the distinction of, say, being the first U.S. president to preside over two major terrorist attacks on American soil. But I suspect some 48 percent of the electorate wouldn't weep if this administration failed in its "market-based" economic agenda or its efforts to let the religious convictions of some Americans limit the rights of others. So screw all this talk of unity and working together to achieve a bunch of goals that half of us don't like anyway. The headlines I want to see four years from now are how George W. Bush managed to achieve less of his second-term agenda than any president of the last 100 years. That's the sort of media hype I could learn to love.

    Michelle Cottle is a senior editor at TNR.
     
  2. BROWNer

    BROWNer Guest

  3. KING BLING

    KING BLING Guest

  4. ledzep

    ledzep Junior Member

    Joined: Feb 21, 2002 Messages: 146 Likes Received: 1
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