A respite, not a revolution
November 8, 2006
Last night was delightful, and it promises to get even more delightful today as Montana and Virginia tip into the blue file. I’m astonished that the Democrats are going to be in charge of both houses. I know I was less than enthusiastic about the party’s prospects heading in to the election, but I’ve never been happier to be proved wrong.
At the state level, the defeat of two promising Democratic challengers was an object lesson in the power of incumbency in a gerrymandered district. It was a shame to see Carol Gay pummeled by Chris Smith, but the plain fact is that Smith’s matchless constituent service and ability to steer clear of the sleaze pit his GOP colleagues love to wallow in makes him all but invincible, despite his continued medieval views on abortion. Linda Stender out on a much stronger campaign and made a better showing, but in the end the gerrymandering worked. I’d hate to think Ferguson’s Romper-Room-from-hell campaign jingle (“Stender is a spender!” “Stender is a spender!”) played any role at all, because of what that would imply about the collective sanity of the district.
I hate it that Holy Joe Lieberman will get to gas on in the Senate for another six years, but I love the thought that the forces of civilization scored a hat-trick against the troglodyte right by defeating religious whacko Rock Santorum, racist bully George Allen and the draconian South Dakota anti-abortion measure. Maybe the Republicans will take this as a signal to start building a bridge back to the 21st century.
But this election marks a respite, not a revolution. The mass-market media are still firmly outfitted with conservative-designed goggles, making any election campaign an uphill battle for any Democrat. There are entirely too many Democrats who buy into the accommodationist line of the Lieberman wing of the party. The organized looting will continue and maybe even intensify now that GOP cronies realize the end is in sight. There are a lot of battles ahead that will require principled opposition and strong organization, which is another way of saying the Democrats will have plenty of chances to resume their fumbling ways. But right now, I’m just happy so much turned out so well.