Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Elections Have Consequences

Do you know how many times we all heard that tired old line in 2004, 2005 and 2006 from Republicans? You know, the one about elections having consequences? The one telling Democrats to go shut up and fly the flag for the newly-legitimized president Emperor because of John Kerry's failure to win 118,000 votes in Ohio?

A lot. In fact, allow me for the sake of history to provide a few reminders of said obnoxious arrogance...

From the Washington Times on May 19, 2005 in support of confirming Alito:

No Republican Compromise
How many presidential and senatorial elections must Republicans win before the Democratic Party accepts the fact that elections have consequences?
George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000. Four years later, with the prospect of several Supreme Court nominations an issue in the campaign, Mr. Bush increased his vote total by nearly 25 percent, winning re-election by more than 3 million votes.

Or John McCain in the New York Times talking about the necessity of confirming John Bolton (in case anyone ever doubted McCain's wingnut credentials):

Among Mr. Bolton’s supporters, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, was among those who urged the Senate to cast aside the Democratic objections and vote on Thursday in favor of the nomination. “Elections have consequences,” Mr. McCain said.

Or Fox News, in support of the Roberts nomination (and getting in a sharp, mocking dig at the Nader voters):

To the Victor Goes the Court
Elections have consequences. George W. Bush has won two elections as president of the United States and now he gets to name Supreme Court justices. And as long as those nominees are qualified and not extreme, they deserve confirmation. His first nominee, John Roberts, should be confirmed unless something unforeseen surfaces during Senate hearings...
Some liberals opposed Al Gore and voted for Ralph Nader as a protest. Nader pulled in enough votes in key states like Florida to hand the election to George W. Bush. Once again, elections have consequences, and President Bush will have the opportunity to name Supreme Court justices who oppose all that many of those Naderites hold dear....
Above all, as I mentioned at the outset to this article, elections have consequences. George Bush won and he now gets to make these appointments. As long as he chooses highly qualified nominees like Judge Roberts, he will make his mark on the Supreme Court.
Next time we vote for president, keep the Supreme Court nominations in mind. For some of us, few things a president does in his term are more important for the future of our country.

You've heard it all before from the GOP crowd. Now, far be it from me to issue the same sort of anti-democratic and triumphalist drivel, but I have to ask whether these people whether they even realize that we had an election this past November?

The Republican Party was not just beaten--it was humiliated. They failed to snatch away ONE SINGLE SEAT from the Democrats. No representatives, no senators, no governors. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Such a thing has never happened before. We cleaned their clock at every level despite enormous gerrymandering hurdles, money imbalances, the presidential bully pulpit, the complacency and compliace of the traditional media, the distracting fuckup that is Joe Lieberman, a favorable slate of senatorial contests, infighting between our election masterminds, intentional collusion by the oil companies to drive down gas prices, and downright cheating and electoral fraud in some districts (and we may never know how many they tried to steal and failed...).

And they still got their butts waxed by incredible margins--and it could have been a lot worse. It was historic.

And yet, they act like the election simply never happened.

Their answer to Iraq remains the same: stay the course, add a few more bodies into the mix, and repackage the strategy with a new name. Again.

Their answer to Afghanistan remains the same: ignore it and hope it goes away without anybody noticing.

Their answer to the minimum wage remains the same: okay, but only if we get tax cuts for the rich as part of the package deal.

Their answer to homeland security remains the same: Over my dead body if it slows business down, or if the TSA employees get to unionize.

Their answer to Medicare and Social Security remains the same: privatize--and failing that, kick the can down the road with huge giveaways to the pharma and financial sectors.

How, indeed, would the Republican strategy and face look different is the Democrats had NOT spanked the Republicans like a red-headed stepchild? Crazy von Moustache would still be at the U.N. Rumsfeld might still be Secretary of Defense--though I think they would have replaced him anyway. But that's just about it. Outside of that, I can't see anything that the GOP is doing that reflects the slightest realization of the historic drubbing they were given.

Instead, the Party of Bush is pushing an Iraq "strategy" that has the backing of approximately 12% of the electorate, and they're going to put THAT forward as their first major policy speech of the new year.

I know it's hard to do, but clear from your mind for a moment the outrageous moral evil that is the surge escalation of the conflict in Occupied Iraq. Clear from your mind the mind-numbing stupidity of the decision, even if its architects weren't moral cretins. Clear from your mind the futility of the entire enterprise.

Instead, ask yourself what kind of blind political insanity it takes to push such a policy in the face of a devastating electoral drubbing and popular support rivaling that of NAMBLA. Because that's really what we're dealing with.

And so, it is less out of triumphalism than out of sheer exasperation that I attempt to remind the Republican Party of a maxim it has so often promulgated as a universal political truth: ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. Especially an election whose results are as unambiguous and vivid as this one.

Because at this point we know that can count on the Republican Party to be immoral, arrogant, corrupt, venal, wilfully stupid, ineffective, and incompetent. But the least they could do, as a Political Party, is to show even a Machiavellian understanding of basic Political Reality in the interests of pretending to try to win the next election.


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