Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Can You Hear Us Now?


America is apparently not unlike an alcoholic: it had to hit rock-bottom before it was finally willing to ask for help.

Yesterday, Americans went to the polls in near-record numbers, and this morning the political landscape has undergone such a monumental change as to appear unrecognizable; this simply is not the same country it was at this time yesterday morning.

To downplay the extraordinary seismic impact of what has happened would be to dismiss the collective will of millions, yet amazingly, that's precisely what a few of the usual talking heads in the now wounded and limping Republican party are doing. A few hours ago, Tom Delay made the rounds on national television and -- when asked if he accepted that the country was demanding a different direction in Iraq and an end to the kind of scandals in which he himself played such an unquestionable role -- pulled off one of the most impressive feats of self-delusion seen outside of a padded room: he said that the Democrats didn't win, the Republicans simply took a hit because they didn't get their message across. He said that America is a nation with conservative values and the GOP is, and always will be, its national party.

I'll have to assume someone just unearthed him from a time-capsule buried back in 2002.

No administration has ever made its message more crystal clear. Bush, Cheney and their minions repeat the same statements more often than an autistic nine-year-old.

Let's recap though:

The Democrats now control the House, and when all the votes are counted will more than likely control the Senate as well.

They won an assured victory in the House despite redistricting changes made during the past twelve years of Republican rule -- changes which meant that the campaigns for many seats weren't as genuinely competitive as they were during the Republican Revolution of 1994.

In Rhode Island, Senator Lincoln Chafee -- despite having a 63% approval rating, and being an extremely moderate Republican -- was voted out; exit polls showed that voters were willing to sacrifice him to ensure that the overall balance of power was tipped.

The Democrats knocked off more than a dozen incumbent members of the House, and as many as six in the Senate -- winning seats in states throughout the Midwest which have traditionally voted Republican. They basically redefined what can and can't be considered a "Red State."

And finally this fact: not a single Democratic incumbent was defeated last night -- not one representative, senator or governor.

If that isn't winning, I have no idea what the hell is.

But here's what made me breathe a sigh of relief -- for the first time in a very long time -- after hearing Delay's hallucinatory comments: he doesn't matter anymore.

For the first time since George W. Bush took office, the usual pompously preening suspects of the GOP are nothing more than paper tigers. Rush has been neutered. Rove has been pummeled. The God-fearing theocrats have been, for the most part, left out in the cold. O'Reilly and Hannity now in some strange way resemble nothing more than a couple of yapping chihuahuas.

The fearsome schoolyard bully has fallen.

Those on the right, who have governed unopposed -- monopolizing the agenda which has steered us toward oblivion -- now understand that they are not the only residents of this great nation.

And what of their leader, the Naked Emperor, the man whose arrogant and uncontested rule has in just six short years cost this country the lives of 3,000 of its sons and daughters in Iraq, an entire American city at home, and the respect of most of the world?

The former King George is already begrudgingly making conciliatory gestures and talking loudly of bipartisanship -- because for the first time in his painful presidency, he has absolutely no fucking choice. He will have to find a way to table his leviathan hubris and learn to listen.

The noise the voters just made is loud enough that even he might be able to hear it.

Nothing substantial has changed yet, and it remains to be seen if the Democrats can and will do as they've promised. But simply by winning, they've brought accountability to an administration which sorely needs it if this country is to survive.

It took hitting rock bottom, but America finally asked for help -- and as any alcoholic knows, that's the most important step.

22 comments:

cruella dahling said...

Unless the Democrats fuck up in some enormously monumental way in the next couple of years, I hope to hear these words in November of 2008...."your next President, Barack Obama!"

Discouragement Kitten said...

I'm so glad I never have to write another in-the-middle-of-the-night-blind-with-rage letter to Rick Santorum. I know there will always be plenty of people to send those letters to - but he was especially odious.

Dancin' Bunny said...

You know I sat watching CNN last night til about 2 am...I was riding a percocet train for a super bad case of Strep throat and in between halluncinating about Karl Rove throwing snowballs at me and yelling at the entire state of VA via my tv, I thought I can't wait to see what you have to say. I'm the small slow child that yells "That's DOO-DOO" and you translate it into smooth sparkling prose which has me standing up saying YEAH...WHAT HE SAID!!!"

unfrozen caveman lawyer said...

Nice election wrap-up.

But as for cruella's hope above, I doubt we will ever hear those words. Still too many white folks in America that wont vote for a brown guy.

genevieve said...

Oh God, yes. I would love a President Obama.
Oh, and here's another thing-- the South Dakota abortion ban was defeated. Choice still prevails.
This was my first time voting, I'm an OHIOAN, and hearing that both Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland won was just amazing for me.
I am so damn happy.
Great post, Chez.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention it looks like our good friend Rummy has steped down. Lets hope the Dems dont blow it. By the way, awesome project here, it keeps me way entertained and wanting more. Keep it up!

cruella dahling said...

Rummy gone, K-Fed gone, Ted Haggard and the Bushies disgraced.....maybe there is a God after all!!!!

VOTAR said...

Earlier today, Rush Limbaugh did a segment on his radio show (yeah yeah, okay, it's on my car radio...but it's important to survey the whole landscape when possible) that I swore was quoting a bit of your blog entry Chez. Maybe he's a fan of yours?

I'm still building my own blog post about this, but as it relates to yours, what I heard today leaves me a lot less exhuberant about this "sweeping victory" by the left. I'm actually a little nervous.

I don't believe the neo-cons, and their mouthpieces the Rushes and the Hannitys and the Schnidts, have been rendered irrelevant. I think they have been empowered, because now they are the underdogs, just as it was under Clinton.

It's going to be up to the Democrats now to get EVERYTHING right, and not to blow this chance they've been given, because if they do, these guys will be waiting in the shadow, ready to jump out on stage and scream "SEE? WE TOLD YOU SO!"

JBS said...

I now feel just a little more hopeful than I did yesterday. I'm still feeling cynical, but not quite so hopeless about our country. When I saw that Rumsfeld is leaving I really did think I must be dreaming!! Hopefully some good will come of this and things will change.

Chez said...

Let me be clear: I don't deny that this election was more a referendum on the way the Republican party has conducted itself over the past few years than anything else (and yes, that includes -- but is not limited to -- the situation in Iraq). It was such a stunning and powerful rebuke however, that the message is clear; the American people essentially said that President Bush and his ilk need a chaperone -- that they simply can't be trusted on their own.

The end result is that for the first time in this administration's existence, there is more than one voice spouting one specific set of talking points with one and only one opinion being heard -- and that's more than just a good thing; that's the best thing imaginable right now.

VOTAR said...

ALL THESE PLANETS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE.

USE THEM TOGETHER. USE THEM IN PEACE.

Wen Dee said...

Ding, dong the witch is dead! (or at least wounded and dying a slow death)

Chez said...

Are you calling this a warning from the landlord? Decent analogy, despite the fact that the reference proves you're the biggest nerd ever.

choenbone said...

DING DONG THE DOPES ARE DONE! now i can mark defeating the republicans off my to do list. next up...oh yes learning Russian just to piss people off.

thanx mike ghostbot

Peter L. Winkler said...

"O'Reilly and Hannity now in some strange way resemble nothing more than a couple of yapping chihuahuas."

More like a couple of old, drooling bulldogs who got their bones stolen from them.

Unfortunately, the hyperventilating right-wing blowhards will now ramp up their demonization of Pelosi, Murtha, Hillary et al. They've already been recycling the fallacious argument that we lost Vietnam through the agencies of the left, Jane Fonda, and the liberal media and retuning it to explain how we lost Iraq.

These people are fanatics who don't ever acknowledge being proven wrong, since they make no attempt to persuade moderates or liberals.

Roberto said...

The election results leave me hopeful, but I'm still drawn to the fact that gay marriage bans were passed in several states, affirmative action was banned in Michigan, a tax on big oil to research alternative energy was defeated in California, Ford was beaten in Tennessee, and incumbents like Allen and Burns still almost won their elections. I don't see the House and Senate results reflecting anything other than people being tired of the war. We still have the same, right-leaning, gay-hating, close-minded, closet-racist population we've always had, and I don't think that bodes well for the Democrats in 2008.

Stuka said...

Congratulations from Amsterdam..

Big vote signal, and (Still pinching myself) Rumsfeld gone..

So happy here in the Lowlands.
Now I feel obliged to do thesame here, we have a vote soon. See if we can get rid of some more conservative protectionism!

But stay sharp overthere..

Scariest thing I ever saw a politician say in USA, was when te Repub's lost from Clinton. One high in the ranks told a dutch cameracrwe, that "This doesn't matter. Beacause we follow christian beliefs, we wil make babies, and raise them, raise them to be the judges and senators and presidents of the future."

So, Democrats, you now know your duty.

Chez said...

Buzzkill.

Schwa Love said...

So, Democrats, you now know your duty.

Enforce mandatory federally funded abortions and fully instate the evil gay agenda to destroy marriage so that there are no more babies?

SmellyTerror said...

I'm from Australia, and I have to say it's nice to think we can go on being America's ally without feeling we're only doing it because we're scared not to...

...but don't you think that this gives the Republicans hope in 2008? Bush and Friends will be blaming the Democrats for everything they can over the next two years. The burden of chosing the lesser evil in Iraq is going to be - if it's at all possible - laid at the Democrats' feet. I strongly predict we'll see the ol' "stabbed in the back" line being wheeled out, and a lot of folk will buy it.

Until now, even the most rabid Republican could not possibly blame anyone but the Republicans for the disasters in policy we've seen. Now they will have another option, and a lot are going to take it. People can forget a lot in two years.

I'm pleased by the result, but as a non-US citizen I'm much more interested in '08 - and unless the Democrats are utterly perfect for the next two years, I'm seriously worried we'll have an anti-Democrat backlash by 2008.

Schwa Love said...

smellyterror...

Are you implying that the average American voter has an attention span so short that they will forget the true source of their problems after two years have passed? I am shocked!

Chez said...

Buzzkills! Damn you fuckers.