It’s always gratifying when Democrats win elections, especially on the state and local level. It’s especially satisfying given Our Glorious Leader’s campaign to kill as many American soldiers in Iraq as possible (Hey, everyone needs a legacy, no?). With those who pledged to “restore honor and dignity” to government mired in their own ethical and moral quagmire, it’s not hard to take pleasure in watching Republicans lose. Before Democrats fall all over themselves in fits of self-congratulation, though, we might take a moment to figure out what it all means. Is this the beginning of a trend? Are Americans realizing what a moral cesspool the Republican party is? Or were Tuesday’s Democratic victories in Virginia and New Jersey simply little more than momentary lapses of reason on the part of voters in those states?
Three days post-election, I’m not certain that it’s possible to draw any hard and fast conclusions. I’m going to enjoy and savor the results, because post-Bill Clinton, positive news has been damn hard to come by for Democrats. November, 2008 is still three years off, and a lot can happen between now and then. Nonetheless, in about 12-18 months, the 2008 Presidential campaign will begin to swing into gear as contenders and pretenders try to gain traction. For Democrats, Tuesday’s results have to be a positive. The question, of course, is whether the party will be able to take advantage and create some momentum. For Republicans, the results have to be more than a little depressing. Realizing that the Smirking Murderer in the White House is now more of a liability than an asset means losing the advantages that the bully pulpit of the Oval Office should provide.
Yes, there are still voters our there who wouldn’t vote for a Democrat if Our Glorious Leader was shown live on CNN buggering a goat. The question that the Democratic Party will have to answer is whether they can find candidates and a message that will sway those voters disgusted or merely disturbed by the lies, deceptions, and sheer murderous ineptitude emanating from the White House.
Gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey were kind to Democrats, but they cannot be seen as referenda on Republican control of Congress and the White House. Virginia voters were pleased with the centrist administration of Gov. Mark Warner and hope Lt. Gov. (now Gov.-elect) Tim Kaine will continue Warner’s policies. President Bush visited the state on election eve to rally support for Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore but shouldn’t bear much blame for Kilgore’s defeat. The former state attorney general had waged a negative and off-putting campaign that contributed much to his loss….
Republicans are correct to point out that Tuesday’s elections are a snapshot that will have little bearing on congressional and state elections in 2006. As Houston’s re-elected incumbents demonstrate, there is no “throw the bums out” wave sweeping the nation. Still, the haste by which Republicans raced to point this out shows that they are uneasy with the election results, which follow weeks of setbacks for the Bush administration and Republican congressional leadership.
While Democrats tended to come out on top around the country, the nation remains deeply divided. Whereas Maine voters approved a law banning discrimination against gays, Texans overwhelmingly approved a zealous but poorly drafted constitutional amendment that prohibits recognition of any legal status identical or similar to marriage. Read literally, the ban would cover all marriages.
On the day that the Kansas Board of Education voted to inject unscientific notions into biology classes, Dover, Pa., voters ejected eight of nine school board members who supported the teaching of intelligent design.
Such philosophical battles are more indicative of the state of the nation than the victory of a few Democratic candidates.
Indeed. This is a country cleaved down the middle by ideological, religious, and political/philosophical struggles. From gay marriage to the teaching of Intelligent Design to abortion to the war in Iraq, Americans are more divided now than perhaps at any time during our nation’s history. While election cycles come and go, Americans struggle more than ever to define who we are as a nation and what we should stand for. Are we the world’s last remaining superpower? The world’s moral policeman? Or the class bully, willing and able to throw it’s weight around to achieve it’s desired ends regardless of how we’re perceived? Right now, the answer is probably a little bit of all of the above.
Being America has never been easy. Being the military, political, and economic power that we are makes us an obvious target for the jealous and hateful around the world. Of course, while Bill Clinton was almost universally hailed as a hero wherever he went abroad, Our Glorious Leader is almost without exception universally reviled- and justifiably so. When your foreign policy is built on force, arrogance, and the complete disregard for world opinion, you cannot claim to be surprised when that world thinks you a mean-spirited, hateful idiot.
This country has miles to go before it can reasonably claim to have learned any lessons or deciphered any trends from Tuesday’s election results. I’ll take it for now, since the results were very positive for Democrats. Perhaps we will be able to turn that into momentum over time.