Thursday, November 09, 2006

What Happened and Why (And Don't Be Fooled)

The outcome of this election is as clear as it gets. Unfortunately, the Mainstream Corporate Media is out there spin, spin, spinning this election, spreading myths about what happened. The stickiest spin is that this election is somehow a victory for Conservatism and Conservative Democrats... the reasoning being that if Democrats want to stay in power, they have to be more like Republicans.

Sorry, no, not buying it.

In the interests of clarity, let's examine EXACTLY what this election meant versus what everyone is claiming:

(1) This is a devastating defeat for the Republican Party. Excuses are being made that this is "standard 6th-year losses for the President's party." If that's true, why did Democrats GAIN seats in the House in Clinton's 6th year in office? The truth here is that the President and his party are deeply unpopular and out of touch with America's desires. This win for the Democrats is a historically humiliating defeat for Bush and his supporters and they know it. We should be proud enough to acknowledge it and to force the Corporate Media to stop regurgitating Republican Talking Points.

(2) These election results are a resounding rejection of the core, defining premises of Bush's Republican Party. While the war was definitely on voters' minds, this election was NOT only about Iraq. The Democrats who won did so by opposing the main tenets of Bush's GOP: unchecked Presidential power, One-Party Rule, warmongering, war profiteering, bloated Federal deficits, tax cuts for the rich and the corruption which has fed the GOP elections machine for the last 12 years. Nine corrupt Republican incumbents were kicked out by the voters, and that's with the Corporate Media generally ignoring their crimes. When the Ethics Rules are tightened come January, and the investigations begin in earnest, another 9 will probably follow.

3) This election does NOT show support for "Conservatism" or for a new "Conservative Democratic Party."

When the Republicans took the House in 1994, their success resulted from picking off vulnerable Democrats in the South. By contrast, Democratic candidates won Tuesday in every part of the country and in the reddest of red states like Arkansas, Kansas and Indiana. The Republicans are rapidly collapsing into the Party of the Racist South... but even there, they lost incumbents and support. As we saw in Kansas where 9 major Republicans switched parties and ran as Moderate Democrats, the GOP has catered to the deranged Theologist Religious Right for so long that they've alienated middle of the road voters from their own party.

Most devastating for the Republicans, Democrats got 30% of the White Christian Evangelical vote. The message is sinking in for religious people: Republicans stand for power not for Jesus. There's no Christian message in fucking the poor and extending the life of Teri Schiavo, only hate-mana thrown to a small and deranged band of religious extremists. There's nothing Christ-like about scapegoating Gays while molesting Congressional pages. There's no message from God about shifting money from the poor to the rich through regressive tax cuts.

Furthermore, Democrats of all stripes and ideologies won... from the first honest-to-god Socialist to ever serve in the House to Jim Webb, former Secretary of the Navy for Ronald Reagan.

Yes, some conservative Democrats were elected. Some of them are pro-Life and some are opposed to gay marriage. Big Deal. Harry Reid is both of those things, but he's still a clear progressive whose stances on those issues kept Karl Rove from running distracting sideshows the real issues, like he has for the last 3 elections. The same goes for guys like Casey in Pennsylvania... I'd rather have a pro-life Democrat than a theocrat like Rick Santorum any day of the week.

Best of all, for the first time in 12 years, Democrats didn't win by pretending to be Republicans... they won because they emphatically and unapologetically vowed to oppose what the Republican Party has become and to put an end to its destructive one-party rule. No one voting thought they were getting Republican Lite. Democrats won by aggressively attacking everything Bush stands for, not by trying to be a slightly modified and duller version of it like they did in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

(4) The Blogs Won This Election. Many of the Democrats who won were candidates who were supported most enthusiastically by the most liberal blogs who raised money for only a handful of challengers, many of whom won against Republican incumbents in previously red districts: Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Chris Carney, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Nick Lampson, Tim McNerery, Patrick Murphy, Joe Sestak, Jon Tester, Tim Walz and Jim Webb, among others.

Many of those Democratic winners weren't initially supported by the Democratic Party, either... especially McNerey in his race against Dick "I Hate The Earth" Pombo, who got $300,000 or so from the DNC versus the $1.6 million that the GOP pumped into that race. The Blogs and Environmental Movement made the difference in overcoming a corrupt polluter who spent over $7 Million against an expert in Wind Power.

Not every Blog-support candidate won, but that doesn't mean that liberal blogs weren't effective. Bloggers tended to support underdog Democratic candidates who were challenging Republican incumbents... the seats which are the most difficult to win. Most blog-favored Democrats who lost were ones running in extremely red districts against GOP incumbents -- such as Angie Paccione (against the heinous Marilyn Musgrave) and Victoria Wulslin (against the equally disgusting Jean Schmidt) -- and they came very close to winning.

Given those facts, the idea that this election was some great repudiation of the Progressive Blogger Branch of the Democratic Party is wishful thinking by those who wish it were so. The Democrats who won have one thing in common: aggressive opposition to the monstrosities of the Republican Party.

(5) Karl Rove is not All-Powerful and The American People aren't retarded -- or -- You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

For the last six years, Bush and his cronies have run rampant across the political landscape destroying our freedom, limiting our Civil Rights, and fatally wounding the Constitution. They've gotten away with it because they out-strategized their Democratic opponents at every turn.

In 2000, voters bought into Rove's talking points of "Compassionate Conservatism," "Clinton Fatigue," and "No Child Left Behind." Rove pointed Bush squarely at the middle, while simultaneously telling Christian Evangelical Theocracy-lovers that once in office Bush would outlaw abortion, evolution, stem cells and make being gay an executable offense. The mainstream Corporate Media refused to see the truth before their eyes, didn't notice that Bush wasn't sending "dog-whistle" code signals to religious voters (such as constantly quoting from the Bible and obscure right-wing Hymns in his speeches) and pretended that Bush's lies about the failure of his policies in Texas were equivalent to Gore's overstatements about the Social Security Lockbox and him personally inventing the Internet (which he didn't even say).

At the same time, Gore's handlers were telling him to run a Republican-Lite campaign. To aid this, Gore brought on Joe Lieberman, who proceeded to make the election about who loved God more, him or Bush. God, god, god, blah blah social security lockbox, god, god, god, earth-toned suits, God, god. Blechhh. Progressive voters stayed home, Gore won the popular vote and then blinked in Florida when confronted by clear voting fraud. His scrambling attempts to only recount Dem-leaning counties made him appear partisan. When the Supreme Court handed down their illegal and unprecedented ruling, Gore blinked again: Democratic "Leadership" advised Gore to step away gracefully to maintain his future electability, despite later recounts which showed that Gore had clearly won the state of Florida.

Having thus won in 2000, Rove and Tom Delay set about establishing permanent One-Party Rule of America. There was no tax they wouldn't cut, no legislation they wouldn't pass, so long as they got a corporate campaign contribution in return.

In 2001, before 9/11, Bush's popularity was hovering around 39%, the lowest for any President that early in his career. The Republicans were headed towards massive midterm losses. After 9/11, the Republicans used the boogeyman of Osama Bin Laden to scare voters into voting against their own economic and political self-interest. As proof of their weakness, the Democrats were even unwilling to challenge the legitimacy of Rove's terror alert issued in the week before the election. Rove made the 2002 elections a referendum on whether Democrats had the stomach to confront Saddam Hussein. Weak-kneed Democratic "Leadership" like Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt were unable to adjust to this new scaremongering reality, unable to rationally prove that Saddam was a paper tiger, express a clear alternative vision for the nation, and voted FOR the President's desired war. Thus, by playing Republican-Lite once again, they were swept from office by the Rove Machine.

In 2004, Democratic "Leadership" decided that instead of a popular progressive Governor who was against the war, the party machinery should instead be rallied behind a career political insider Senator who had voted for the war, a lifetime politician with a career full of procedural votes which could easily be twisted to mean anything the Republicans wanted ("he voted NO on giving our troops body armor"), NO charisma, no ability to speak movingly or clearly to the common man, an excessive love for nuanced speech ("I voted for the bill, before I voted against it), an inability to define his own career successes and a complete inability to fight back when aggressively attacked, either with labels (flip-flopper) or even about his own history (Swift-boats Veterans for Truth).

Faced with The Decider or The Equivocator, America voted for Rove's candidate. It helped that he had anti-gay ballot measures on 24 state ballots to drive his religious hate-filled partisans to the voting booth.

This time around, though, new Democratic Leadership rejected the Republican-Lite theory. Howard Dean, Rahm Emmanuel, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid kept a generally straight line as they marched towards Rove with bayonets lowered: The President is out of touch, the Republicans are corrupt, and the war is probably already lost. Faced with a unified opponent unwilling to play Republican-Lite, Rove's vaunted machine failed; today, he is a rejected loser. Karl Rove's ability to hypnotize zombified Americans with distractions like the New Jersey court ruling on gay civil unions, or John Kerry idiotic comments, or moronic buzzphrases has worn thin. No longer will catchy slogans about how Democrats "support terrorists" and their "San Francisco values" work to divide people like before... so long as Democrats don't allow themselves to stand still and allow the Republicans to define them.

Rovism is dead. Americans see Bush's Republican movement for what it is and have begun the process of smashing it.

(6) The Democratic victory is only one small step towards the restoration of our country, the Constitution and the Rule of Law. This President feels that Congress is irrelevant and has shown a propensity for ignoring any law that it passes and for ignoring any and all rebukes shown him by the Supreme Court. Reversing the damage done by six years of One-Party Rule will take time and concerted effort: there is still accountability to be imposed, subpoenas to be issued, crimes to be uncovered, radicalism to be reversed, and tons of damage to be undone... and none of that will be easy. Democrats still face a dysfunctional and corrupt national media, apathy on the part of some Americans, the potent use of propaganda by the Bush administration, voter suppression tactics, gerrymandering and fundraising corruption.

Lastly, let's not ignore the threats that still face us. Just because Karl Rove didn't wheel Osama bin Laden out in the week before this midterm election doesn't mean he's not saving him for 2008. Let's wait and see some serious examinations of the voting machine results in close elections before we admit that Diebold's machines are fine when they clearly are NOT fine. Let's also not forget the mindnumbing panic and fear that 9/11 produced which allowed this cabal of Authoritarian psychotics to gain absolute control of our country for four years. If another attack should happen, we need to be ready to point out that retreat into Despotism is NOT the answer.

Get to work, Democrats. Otherwise you're just part of the problem.