November 10, 2006

Welcome, New Overlords?

Rush said: “I, for one, welcome our new Democrat Party Overlords.”

Ok, he didn’t say that. But he did say “liberated.” I imagine it’s like lancing a boil. Relief!

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the good feelings some Republicans feel as a result of the recent elections. Even Rush Limbaugh:

The way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I’m going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don’t think deserve having their water carried.

He stopped short of showering congress with candies and flowers. Don’t worry! Rush still hates liberals. But the above quote is telling. A lot of these right-wing radio show folks probably don’t really believe what they are saying. I can’t tell you who actually believes what. We have to assume they do believe what they say.

I’ve seen the sentiment around, but Rush probably put it best. Before the election he was carrying water for the administration, even though they didn’t deserve it. He was doing a disservice to his listeners and not telling you the truth because he was afraid the Republicans would get their due.

The good news for other Republicans who feel this way is that there is a bright side. Now there is relief. It’s psychically painful to “carry water” that you don’t believe should be carried. You have to say that the war in Iraq is going well. That’s why the reaction to the election on that side has been muted; the usual right-wing outrage has been tabled. Sure, there are a few grumblings of “they’re going to raise our taxes.” The old canards. But it’s hard to be outraged when you are relieved.

There is other good news for the Republicans. Left-wing outrage has had its pressure valve released. People feel optimistic if they think they live within a system that works. Not everybody is overjoyed, but that is the nature of things. People with fringe beliefs on both sides are the big losers here. Fringe conservatives (mopey Fox News) are unhappy that the pendulum is swinging back. Fringe liberals will be unhappy that some of the outrage is dissipating. But this is the way the system works.

This election may be good news for Republicans who want to keep the presidency in 2008. After two additional years of pretending that things are going well in Iraq under total Republican rule, I think 2008 would have been insane. But the sooner we get some honest reassessments on what our goals are and how to achieve them, the better it is for the whole country. I hope it doesn’t mean the Democrats will fail to regain the presidency in 2008, but after eight years of Bush I’m sure a moderate Republican is going to make a tough opponent for the Democrats.

Good news for the Democrats: Iraq war supporters are already asking questions about what congress can do and when they’ll do it. They’re already saying that if the Democrats don’t do something that works, they’ll share the blame for this mess.

Did you read between the lines of that? A few weeks ago things were going well in Iraq and the press was at fault for not printing the good news. Today, Democrats have to worry about not failing, lest they end up sharing the blame for the mess. The existing mess. The first step to recovery is admitting there’s a problem. See, that’s what I mean when I say now we have a chance of having an honest discussion in Iraq. Even Rumsfeld has said: “‘It’s clear that in Phase 2 of this, it has not been going well enough or fast enough.” Now it can be told.

If Republicans now feel they have company to share the blame, well I guess that’s what it’s going to take to put the conservo-hawk adventure behind us and fix the horrible problems that face us. They want to put their mistakes behind them. I can understand that. But you put only really your mistakes behind you after you’ve fixed them. And where Republicans want to work to fix those mistakes, they ought to be welcomed and not berated. I imagine that honest bipartisanship is going to be tough after the mindset of the last 6 years. It was “Contract With America” co-drafter and Abramoff buddy Grover Norquist who expressed the axiom of house conservatives: “Bipartisanship is another name for date rape.” (Norquist later attributed the quote to Dick Armey, so it seems to have been a shared sentiment among some conservatives)

Have they changed their mind, now that they have little choice? We’ll see. If we go back to hearing canards and denial, I don’t know how much cooperation there will be. But I share the feeling of relief and liberation, even if it may be for different reasons.

Posted by James at November 10, 2006 12:04 PM
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For a second I caught myself wanting to make sure Republicans wouldn't be left off the hook so easily more than I wanted the problems to be fixed in the first place. So thanks for the reality check.

Posted by: Mike at November 10, 2006 2:35 PM

Er... "let off the hook". I wish weblog software would let comment authors make minor edits to their comments. :-)

Posted by: Mike at November 10, 2006 2:42 PM

Grover Norquist... what an effing HUTAC that guy is. Definitely ripe for lipping my donkey.

So Rush feels liberated huh? That's quite a switch from being lib-berated. ;-)

Posted by: Chuck S. at November 10, 2006 3:14 PM


Posted by: James at November 10, 2006 3:21 PM

I don't give a rat's ass whatRush "I-like-pills-but-am-quick-to-demonize-others" LimBAH thinks or feels.

If only he would fizz up and dissolve.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 10, 2006 3:46 PM

I think in someways a Democratic controlled congress is a huge break for the Republican party.

The President has an agenda that he is not going to and never was going to get passed by the end of his term. He, and others in the Republican Party, can now blame the Democrats for anything that fails to get enacted,(Harry Truman did this to wonderful effect with the 80th Congress in his reelection bid in 1948.)and moderate Republicans will thrive in an atmosphere that actually welcomes their ability to work with people on both sides of aisle.

Democrats on the other hand will face the challenge of trying to live up to their campaign rhetoric but will find it hard to hold a hard party line and will need to work with and compromise with the President and Republicans if they want to achieve their agenda. Democrats who were elected with the promise of change will need to deliver in 2008

Posted by: Lefty at November 10, 2006 6:09 PM

Yes, they will likely need to be able to point to something in 2008.

On the other hand, some people voted for Democrats with the word "gridlock" on their lips, and may not have higher expectations than that.

Already, the Democrats can take credit for Rumsfeld leaving. That's something the president told us, just a couple of weeks ago, would never happen. Obviously, that can't be the only good to come out of the election, but it certainly adds to the perception that things would have been different if the Democrats had had the power to provide some check on the president's power.

I'm interested to see how that will play out: blaming the Democrats for not getting the agenda finished. An attempt at looking conciliatory now certainly leads into a stronger "they're blocking us at every turn!" later. But that will only work if they have popular agenda items to cover, and I'm not sure we're going to see a lot of those. An amendment to ban gay marriage? That isn't going to make much of a campaign slogan in 2 years; that trick's played out on the local level. But I'm sure htey have other items planned.

The Democrats have the reverse working for them, to force the president to use his veto pen on popular issues.

Both sides will play the gridlock game at some point.

Posted by: James at November 10, 2006 6:29 PM

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