The Best Punishment of All (11/03/04)

December 29, 2006

I’m feeling much better now, thanks for asking. Several hours of watching cable news shows left me unmoored and adrift. I went to sleep depressed, woke up saddened, felt myself galvanized by the potential for investigation of voter fraud and intimidation, only to see it all go up in a puff of smoke when Kerry threw in the towel.

I still wish Kerry had decided to stick it out and let the lawyers do their thing in Ohio. In his concession speech, Kerry made noises about how the election should be decided by the voters, not by a court decision. Exactly right, except that when your opponents are the Republicans, court decisions are necessary to make sure the voters get heard in the first place.

The Democratic Party has too many gentleman losers. It’s one of the subtle cues that tell the rest of the world the Democrats have internalized the GOP message that liberals aren’t Real Americans. The wingers will fight to their last drop of heart’s blood to enshrine anti-gay discrimination in state constitutions and cosset billionaires with tax cuts. The Democrats will fight for social justice and sensible government, but only up to a point. After that they start to worry about looking undignified or unsuitable for appearances on “Meet the Press.” When John Kerry talks about the need to unify Americans, he surely knows that the Bush claque and the Republican ayatollahs have made it their mission to rend American society into however many pieces are needed to secure political advantage. The pundits are calling him a class act now. But just wait for a few months, when Kerry is back in the Senate and ready to criticize some new outrage promulgated by the wingers. Those pundit brownie points will evaporate in an instant: Tim Russert will call him divisive, Rush Limbaugh will trot out all his old Frenchman jokes and Charles Krauthammer will tell his FauxNews cronies that Kerry has clearly gone insane, just like that poor bitter Al Gore.

Read the blogs linked to the left. There’s a lot of fruitful dicussion and reflection going on about where to take this slow-building progressive renaissance. A little under half the electorate agrees with us. America has not morphed into a land of snake handlers and Bible thumpers. Meanwhile, I sustain myself with the grim amusement that comes from realizing that sometimes the best way to punish a man is to give him what he wants the most. Bush is going into his second term with no more room for making excuses. Iraq gets worse every day, the economy continuesd to sputter and the war on terror still doesn’t seem to have caused any discomfort to Osama bin Laden. There’s nothing as smug and hateful as a winger who thinks he’s on top, and if this missive from Diamond Bill Bennett is any indication, the culture wars are about to be ramnped up pretty seriously. I suspect there will be a lot of pigeons coming home to roost in the next four years, and it’s only right that Bush be in office to reap the whirlwind he sowed with his own hands.

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