Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Well, I haven't much to say about the election that hasn't already been said. I'm not surprised that the radio jockey's are trying to spin the Democrat victory as something that may turn out for the greater good. While I don' t agree, it's certainly better than how the Dems acted following their last few losses. I especially loved Howard Dean's comment that with this victory, he hopes we can all just get along.

Very funny, Howie. If memory serves, it wasn't the Republicans who were equating Bush to Hitler. It wasn't the conservatives who cozied up to Nancy Sheehan, while she embraced Al Sharpton and Hugo Chavez. It was a GOP senator who called the troops in Iraq stupid.

Of course in the last example, we must consider the source.

No, I'm not lashing out bitterly. I believe as Don Henley once wrote, "we get the government we deserve."

If the majority of those who voted want the Democrats in charge, then that's just te way it is. Personally, I believe it to be a foolish mistake, but I also believe it's the GOP's own damn fault.

This election was theirs to lose, and they lost it. How did they lose it? Well, it certainly wasn't because of any great plans or ideas from the Dems.

No, they made sure they stayed on the same message over and over again - "Bush is bad". Not "we can do better". Not "here is a new idea". Not even "we have a plan." No, that failed them 2 years earlier when it turned out that their plan was "get elected at all cost."

But the Republicans? This should have been easy. Just two short years ago, President Bush was talking about his "political capital" and how much better it would be now that he was more legitimized. How could he lose that?

I'll tell you how, and it has nothing to do with historical data that often shows us how often an incumbent in his second term loses control of the Congress. It's obviously no longer "the economy, stupid," as James Carville so refinely put it. It's no longer about being a war-time President - because even though our troops are at war in Iraq, Americans are not at war anywhere (except the troops).

And therein lies the biggest flaw in the election campaign. In battles between going to war and not going to war, the Republicans hold a huge lead - this was again proven by Senator Joe Lieberman, who was shunned from his Party just 6 years after being their VP candidate. Democrats moved left and wanted someone was was against the war. But Lieberman showed his former Party up and ran as an Independent - and winning.

So, no - the war wasn't the issue.

The issue was the aftermath. Look, you and I both know that war is hell and that human suffering is a major cause for avoiding it. We also know that compared to those we are fighting, we are at a clear moral advantage - much like Israel has over the thugs that rule in the PA and Hezbollah (you know, the one's who shoot from behind the children).

The problem was that the Republicans seemed to run scared from what was being accomplished overseas. I liken it to the relationship between an older bully and a schoolboy. The bully is mean, condescending and strong. The schoolboy has been taught that he should love his neighbor and treat everyone equally. So what happens? The schoolboy gets picked on by the bully and out of fear and also because he was taught to turn the other cheek, he constantly swallows the abuse - hoping that rational reasoning will eventually work. He begins to try and engage with the bully by either laughing at his jokes, or even acting as if he approves of the bullies behavior.

But eventually, one of two things can happen. Either the bully once again turns on him, or he gets pulled into the muck also. When the boy gets in trouble to, the principal doesn't care who started it, or why. He also didn't really make friends with bully and because of his new alliance with the bully, is left unpopular as well. In the meantime, the bully is still the bully.

The way I see it, the GOP started to fear the big, bad Democrats (who weren't really that big). But instead of following their teachings, they decided to make nice to the bully in the hopes of avoiding a beating. What eventually happened was that in appeasing the bully, they were brought down into the muck with them. But the bully was still the bully and he stayed true to himself. The GOP is left standing in the muck, unpopular.

The good news is that the GOP continues to hold the office of the President and it's not to late to rise up out of the sewer. But to do that, they must understand where they failed and reassure the average American that although they got too far away from what led them to win before, they will re-emerge stronger and more trustworthy.

I'm not overly worried about this country just yet. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi will do a good job. Or perhaps, she will get just enough rope to politically hang herself. I hope it's the former. For this country's sake, we need the games to stop. This is a very serious time in the world and and it really is time to put-up or shut-up.

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