Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Further Brief Thoughts on the Revolution of 2006

• The "Revolution of 2006" is not a term I've yet heard, although I'd be astonished if I were actually the first to use it. But calling change-of-party elections "revolutions" has a long and storied history in the U.S., back to Jefferson's "Revolution of 1800" and most recently with Gingrich in '94. This one surely qualifies: we have deposed -- or begun the work that will be needed to depose -- another King George. (This isn't meant to imply impeachment -- although I'd be for it, since he deserves it a dozen times over (at least!) -- but simply holding his powers back to that of a President, from his assumed monarchy: one of the more important tasks for the new Congress.)

• Several people have pointed out that Rumsfeld's departure means that the Democrats are already improving things, even before assuming office. And I agree. Still, those who think that Rumsfeld's resignation is going to improve Iraq are in for a rude disappointment, I fear. The problem, all along, has been Bush, whose policies Rumsfeld has been implementing -- and, of course, the initial crime of the invasion. And, at this point, the choices are between terrible and even worse. Changing Rumsfeld won't change that: at best it will mean that Bush has decided to choose "terrible" rather than "even worse". But Bush isn't known for his respect for evidence, the voters, the lives of the troops under his command (let alone civilian Iraqis) or his ability to change course. So I wouldn't be surprised if Robert Gates simply put a new face on what Rumsfeld would otherwise have done -- if this was mere politics. But, again, even in the unlikely case that this isn't true, there are no longer any good options left. Only different terrible ones. And that's the fault, ultimately, not of Rumsfeld, but of Bush.

• A home-state note: I'm disappointed about New York's State Senate, which, despite the massive gains of Democrats in other races in this state, will remain in Republican hands. I'm disappointed not only because, as Jerome Armstrong notes, some senior Democrats didn't do all they could to push this (although I wouldn't draw such absolute conclusions about them that he does from that fact alone), but because I don't know if overall enough effort was made.

Yesterday when I walked into the voting booth to vote the straight Democratic ticket, I noticed that for one office there was no Democratic candidate -- namely, for our local State Senator. Now, given that Ithaca is an island of blue in a sea of red, I can well believe that for whatever the precise district is, any such challenge would have been purely nominal. Nevertheless, all our other representatives -- US House, US Senate, NY House -- are Democrats; and I would have bloody well liked a chance to vote against the current louse. (He's a sponsor of a pro-discrimination marriage amendment here.) I looked about the ballot, hoping for a chance to vote for someone, anyone, else -- but he was the only guy on the ballot (albeit, due to New York's cross-endorsement laws, for three different parties!). So I abstained in that race. (If I had known how to write-in someone, and there hadn't been a line behind me, I would have written someone in.) But why couldn't we at least have someone on the ballot, even if they didn't campaign a lick?

A lot of conservatives are now admitting that they have been carrying water for people whose governing they dislike. (More.) What they aren't yet admitting is that this ought to destroy their credibility even for those who are still so gullible to grant them some (for reasons that are self-evident: why admit it, given that only the gullible do still grant them any?) It would be nice, however, if the MSM would start treating these people as the admitted liars and principleless hacks that they are. (Update: Adding--) And you wonder if they will now openly admit what a disaster Bush has been? Or will they continue to lie about that until after he leaves office?

Pre-emptive meme immunization: If, as some are suggesting, Allen does not challenge the results in Virginia, expect a lot of bloviating about how this shows that Allen is a gracious looser, and Gore was a sore looser -- etc, etc, ad nauseum. This point is entirely invalid, for one overwhelming reason: Gore actually won while Bush stole the election, whereas Allen was the one trying to steal the election he would be challenging. It's not just that Gore won the popular vote, giving him moral legitimacy; it's not just that more people went to the polls intending to vote for Gore than Bush but weren't counted, from overvotes to butterfly ballots; it's not just that the Republicans used blatantly illegal means like "fixing" absentee ballots after the election was over: it's that if it had not been for Jeb Bush & Katherine Harris's illegal, immoral and racist program of using a private company to cut African Americans who had names vaguely similar to those of ex-felons off the voter roles in advance of the election, Gore would have won Florida despite all the rest. Gore had no obligation to be a gracious looser, because he actually won. Allen does have an obligation to be a gracious looser, because he not only lost fair and square, he lost despite his best efforts to cheat.

[Update: final point added.]

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