Since I'm off to Memphis until Thursday, this might just be my last post (I know, "Awwwww!") for a while, so just for grins I figured I'd take a parting shot at predicting how the election (which the nation has the audacity to hold while I'm out of town) will turn out. I'm no prophet, but I think I can read writing on the wall.
I already voted, of course; the score was GOP 2, Libertarians 5, Reform 2, Democrats 0. The judges went a 0-12, continuing their amazing hitless streak since 1998.
So what will the great mass of expressed American opinion do? I've seen no reason to change the expectation I shared with my GOP-fanatic boss a month ago: November 7th is going to be a baby seal hunt (the car got real quiet for some reason right after those words). The Dems will take the house, probably by 15+ seats (a swing of 30 and maybe a lot more, but not the 54 the GOP won in '94). They're going to win races no one expected, deep red districts in deep red states. The Senate will be 49-49 Dem with Lieberman (CT) and Sanders (VT) both voting with the Dems to turn the gavel over to the erstwhile minority party with a vote to spare. They are going to crush the GOP nationwide, from governorships to dog catchers. There will be a weeping and a gnashing of teeth.
The good news is that the Libertarians will win a half-dozen state-level house seats and possibly (not probably) Tom De Lay's old seat in Texas. The other good news is that nothing significant is going to happen for the next 2 years - investigations will be held and pompous windbags will continue to pompously bag wind for the cameras. Justice Stevens will retire next year and be replaced by a moderate/conservative who will turn out to be a liberal (See: Kennedy, Souter, Stevens, O'Connor, Brennan, all GOP appointments). The Senate will sit on all the President's federal judicial appointments in expectation that President Rodham will select judges who can find penumbras while the senators find facts on the sunny beaches of Barbados. Bush will locate his missing veto pen and wield it against a legislature that passes all manner of irresponsible legislation because they can run on it in '08 without worrying about it becoming law. The dollar will tank, oil and gold will rise, housing is going to be a freaking mess. If you bought a big house on an ARM, you are hosed. Sorry, but you should have read the fine print.
The reasons for the blowout are twain: Iraq and spending. Iraq is a bloody mess, and that annoys moderates. Americans like wars, but they like to win them. Telling them "We've turned the corner" for three years is not enough; they want to see tanks rolling, cities falling, generals with pointers and whiteboards, and little multi-colored triangles with arrows representing American martial excellence. They have little patience for empire unless it can be won quickly and held painlessly.
But the big problem is that spending is out of control. There is twice as much government as in 1994 when the GOP took over the Congress. That annoys conservatives. No, let me take that back; it offends them, which brings a different reaction altogether.
I said the day that el Presidente appointed the hard-hearted harbinger of haggis to the Supreme Court that his presidency was over. Other than the confirmation of Alito, he has accomplished nothing signficant since that date. That's the date conservatives had been offended once too many times, the day they started to speak out against not just a program or two, but against Bush himself. They started asking, "We worked since Goldwater for Harriet-freaking-MIERS?" Yes, they supported, they loved Alito, but the trust was gone. Come next week conservatives will finally begin to seriously ask if their integrity was worth what they received in payment for it. My suspicion is that they will throw the silver down in the temple and get fields named for them.
The GOP won't win anything back in 2008 most likely (and will probably run a baby seal for President. Thump, thump, thump). Maybe they'll come around again in 2012, probably 2016. We're going to have a dozen years of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and their mini-mes, legislation about horsemeat, minimum wage hikes, punitive taxes, class warfare, envy writ large. Nothing Bush did will be repealed; his fingerprint on "Homeland Security" is secure (Democrats will even keep the nomenclature as it fits in with their neo-fascist philosophy just fine), and it will be the GOP that complains about wiretaps and abuse of power by the Democratic majority and White House. The troops will turn over Iraq to its inevitable civil war - assuming something far, far worse does not happen before GWB's term ends - and we'll spend a generation arguing over who lost it. But it's Bush's baby, and Bush is the GOP's baby.
And that, of course, is the GOP's problem. To be successful, the GOP needed to be a responsible alternative to the infantile Democrats. They decided instead to give the President success rather than making the him act like a Republican. It will be a long time before they are believed again. Fool me twice and all that.
Do I think the Democrats will be worse for the country? Of course, because they do everything the GOP did wrong twice as fast. I'm not saying this is what I want; I'm saying that's what I think will happen. There's a baby seal hunt coming up, and however much worse the hunters turn out to be, there's no arguing this time that the seals don't deserve it.
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