Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quo Vadis

The election is over, the people have spoken- so where do we go from here?

Democrats: Time to ashcan the following words and phrases: racist, fascist, Hitler, nazi, war criminal, selected not elected, cronyism, moron. Two reasons: A. It will be a new slate you’ll be running against in two years, and Bush won’t be there to kick around; you need to learn how to run a positive campaign. B. You have a diamond opportunity to prove to the American people that you can govern, and so consolidate your victory and gain the White House in two years, but you don’t have a filibuster proof majority; don’t push the Republicans into a corner where they’ll feel that they’ve nothing left to loose. By the way, add “culture of corruption” to the list of banned words; the Republicans managed to eliminate most of their problems in the act of losing, but you reelected someone who keeps $100,000 bribes in the freezer.

Republicans: You lost. Don’t blame the media- they were just as biased when you were winning. Don’t blame Bush alone- he’s the same Bush that was there when you were gaining seats rather than losing them. It’s disingenuous to spend money like a drunken sailor, than try to blame Bush for it because he didn’t veto it. It’s disingenuous to blame Bush alone for the way the war has been handled, when you’ve punted your oversight duties. Face the truth- you had lousy candidates, you didn’t govern well, and you didn’t campaign well. Ashcan the following words and phrases: Ten Commandments, gay marriage, flag burning, Christian Nation, prayer in school, abortion on demand. Tell the Religious Right the same thing the Democrats always tell African Americans: we sympathize with you, but we can’t afford your issues right now- it’s not like you’ll get anywhere voting for the other party.

Democrats: you have earned the right to change the agenda, and the country expects you to act quickly. But don’t make enemies in the process; although the cumulative victory was huge, each seat was narrowly run, and will be precariously held.

Republicans: life exacts a price for incompetence, and you’re paying it now. Be generous in defeat- make the transition smooth, don’t whine about how committees are organized, don’t play parliamentary games to needlessly hinder the Democratic agenda.

Both parties, new members and old: understand that most of the votes cast this election were against either Bush or Pelosi, not for you; all of you are on probation. In 2008 the voters are going to want to hear arguments over who gets the credit for things done, not who gets the blame for things not done. If there was ever in your lives a time for compromise, this is it. Yes, force a change in the way things are done in Iraq, but remember that if Iraq is allowed to fall the victorious terrorists will flood into Afghanistan and Pakistan, creating bloodbaths that will make the killing fields of Cambodia pale in comparison. Yes, reform the Patriot Act, but realize that we cannot return to the days when agencies couldn’t talk to each other and no one could “connect the dots.” Yes, make comprehensive emigration reforms, but realize that we must also gain control of our borders in the process- not for fear of terrorists, but simply to screen for drug lords and to give inoculations; we are starting to see outbreaks of diseases we had thought eliminated in America, such as polio and whooping cough. It's a rare thing to have a major election without any real, specific campaign promises; you have a free hand to do almost anything- use this opportunity well.

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