Silver Linings

I’m the eternal optimist — even in the realm of contemporary politics, where optimism is as out of place as an oyster on an ice cream sundae. So while my friends agonize over which political party will have control of Congress come January, I like to point out that, regardless of which way things turn out, this election will almost certainly result in a number of positive trends:

  • Gridlock: I’m one of those people who prefers the executive and the legislative branch to be held by opposing parties — a philosophy has been thoroughly vindicated in the last four years, dont’cha think? And while Democrats may not take the Senate, one thing is clear: Bush will no longer have a rubber stamp at his disposal, drawing this chapter of Ideologues Gone Wild! to a close. I know many would like the Democrats to spend the next few years investigating and impeaching members of the Bush administration, but that’s the wrong way to go: the solution to polarization is not further divisiveness. And, anyway, I think the Dems would get clobbered in 2008 if they went this route. Worse, Bush would view prosecution as persecution, and settle comfortably into his role as a martyr. Better to simply frustrate his agenda for the next few years and let him serve our his term an impotent lame duck. I mean, look how cranky he became when he couldn’t gut Social Security — seeing his frowny, petulant face on the news every evening filled my heart with joy.
  • The Democratic Party Will Have To Cough Up An Agenda: The only reason the Dems are poised to make gains this go-round is because the Republicans are imploding. But the electorate, having Thrown Out the Bums this year, will cheerfully elect shiny new Republicans in 2008 and 2010 unless the Democrats offer some sort of compelling vision. Best of all, without Bush to run against in the next presidential election, Democratic candidates will have to do more than just walking around in a t-shirt reading “I’m Running Against Stupid.”
  • Republicans Will Again Welcome Actual Conservatives: The biggest fallout from this campaign for the GOP isn’t the loss of congressional seats or governorships, but that the whole “Republicans are the party of conservatives” has been exposed as the fraud it’s long become. Democrats have adopted the rhetoric (and, let’s hope, the mantle) of fiscal responsibility, and unless Repubs want to become known as the party of “big government,” they’re going to have to fend off this encroachment on what had been one of their signature issues. In a perfect world both parties would compete to outdo each other in economic rectitude and we’d have this whole deficit squared away by the time the last Harry Potter book is released.
  • Third Party Candidates: I’m not a fan of Lieberman (I can’t look at him and not remember his crowing about being “in a three-way-tie for third place,” possibly the most pathetic declaration in a presidential election rife with wince-worthy moments), but I’m all for more people running as Independents.
  • The Course, It Is A Changin’: The White House has chosen an eleventh-hour “Change The Rhetoric, Stay The Course” gambit in regards to the war, but I have no doubt our Iraq policy will finally be changing. For one thing, James Baker’s report is going to drop like a hammer; for another, Bush is going to have a hard time backing away from his promise of “benchmarks.” Plus, see point one: Gridlock is a a cynical word for “Oversight.” I don’t pretend to know what we should be do in Iraq from this point forward, but I know that “same old same old” ain’t doin’ the trick.
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12 comments.

  1. Ideologues Gone Wild WBAGNFARB

  2. Idealogues Gone Wild Wr9fGeg

  3. > Bush is going to have a hard time
    > backing away from his promise

    [snicker]

  4. Since the GOP is now the party of pedophiles, torturers, and sanctimonious windbags, one would think the Democrats would have something coherent to say.

    I’m for a law that puts a “None of the above” box on the ballot. More polls need to have a category: “They both suck.”

    Lieberman being an “Independent” is as much of a misnomer as Lieberman as a “Democrat.” Lieberman and Zell Miller should run as Sleepy and Crazy on the Democrats as Ideological Drag Queens Party.

    The Venture Brothers have a more coherent strategy than both parties. Plus a world run by the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend would be far less creepy than Bush Lite and his Stepford Wife Librarian / Fetal Briefcase Laura.

    Yours in Christ,

  5. Since the GOP is now the party of pedophiles, torturers, and sanctimonious windbags, one would think the Democrats would have something coherent to say.

    I’m for a law that puts a “None of the above” box on the ballot. More polls need to have a category: “They both suck.”

    Lieberman being an “Independent” is as much of a misnomer as Lieberman as a “Democrat.” Lieberman and Zell Miller should run as Sleepy and Crazy on the Democrats as Ideological Drag Queens Party.

    The Venture Brothers have a more coherent strategy than both parties. Plus a world run by the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend would be far less creepy than Bush Lite and his Stepford Wife Librarian / Fetal Briefcase Laura.

    Yours in Christ,

  6. It’s funny though, how those “I’m Running Against Stupid” T-shirts didn’t actually *work*…….

    I, for one, am totally voting for Encyclopedia Brown this year. That sign, and your contest, are some of the most inspired things I’ve seen all year.

  7. Bernie Sanders = independent
    Joe Lieberman =/= independent

  8. “Bush is going to have a hard time backing away from his promise of “benchmarks.” ”

    Since the benchmarks are imposed on what everyone pretends to believe is a foreign and autonomous government, and since said government has bitterly complained (and since recanted the complaints, under pressure) about having the benchmarks imposed, and since there are no penalties for not meeting these mysterious benchmarks, all Bush has to do is make his frowny concerned face, bite his lip (see last week’s press conference for visuals) and then express his disappointment in al-Maliki et al for not meeting the benchmarks. Hey, it’s not Bush’s fault if the democratically-elected-government-of-liberated-Iraq screws up, right?

  9. I too like the idea of polls with a category “They both suck”. And a huge fan of the “None of the above” in the ballot box. And if None of the above gets 20% or more of the vote, no winner is declared and both parties start over. And neither of the candidates they had already put up are allowed to try again, ever!

    Oh and someone tell Hillary Clinton that her tee shirt that says “I am running against stupid” should not have the finger pointing up.

  10. I say we turn elections over to the matheticians maybe, or the judges for the Miss America pageant.

    Here’s my hare-brained plan:
    Each candidate has a Yes column and a No column. For each race, a voter gets to distribute 5 points amoung all the candidates, and these points can go in any combination of the Yes or No columns. So you can give 2 points to Candidate A “Yes”, 1 point to Candidate B “Yes” (as a second choice), and 1 point each to Candidate C and D “No”. You can assign a first, second, and third choice (3, 2, 1 for Yes) or be a rabid fan and put 5 to Candidate A for “Yes”–or be appalled by a candidate and put all 5 to B for “No”.

    Total up the Yes, subtract the No, and whoever ends up with the most Yes votes left over wins. Turnout would probably go up, because voters who hates everyone on the ballot can gleefully vote No on everybody.

    This system doesn’t let candidates get away with riling up their base with raw meat and bloody shirts; their also have to avoid pissing off eveyone who isn’t a drooling fanboy. It would totally change how elections are done. I suspect that we would see a lot of Republican and Democrat candidates coming out with very low or even negative totals, and the obscure third party folk actually getting a shot at the office.

    It is, of course, completely and totally unworkable, though. Oh well.

  11. That is a very interesting and respectable idea Dorothy. Original.

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