Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Moping & Hoping

Moping is how I spent last night. In front of the computer screen, gaping at the returns. I knew they would be bad for the Republicans, but I didn't realize just how bad.

Some people are praising the Democrats today for their "restraint". That's incorrect. The Democrats simply weren't prepared for the size of their victory. They were prepared to crow about their gains and to vow to keep attacking the Republican control of Congress for the remainder of Bush's term. Now they're the ones running the show.

Paradoxically, that gives me hope. Democrats have to choose between sabotaging everything or working with the President. If they choose sabotage, they may well spoil their chances for winning the presidency in 2008. If they choose cooperation, then as the party beloved by the mainstream media, the President's policies - whatever they will be - will have greater public support than before.

Nevertheless, there is still the danger that the Class of '06 will be a reprise of the Class of '74, which was noted for cutting off all funding for military operations in Indochina, thus dooming South Vietnam when North Vietnam mounted a full-scale ground invasion. The media blamed the defeat on President Nixon, who was also on the track to impeachment before he resigned. The mistrust of Republicans and government in general was then leveraged into winning Jimmy Carter the Presidency in 1976.

The era of Jimmy Carter's presidency is widely referred to as "the age of malaise", yet Democrats consider it the high point of post-Kennedy liberalism. A large slice of the Democratic Party believes Iraq is unwinnable and wishes to pull out of the country as soon as possible. Even before the election, there was talk that if the Democrats would win, impeachment proceedings would be next.

Will the Democrats repeat the same course of action? I think not. George W. Bush is not the sullen, unpersonable, and physically unattractive person Richard Nixon was. George W. Bush has no real "Watergate" hiding in the wings -- all allegations against him so far are make-believe. The War on Terror threatens the U.S. directly, not just an country obscure to most Americans. Finally, the country doesn't really want another Watergate agony, and I think the moderate side of the Democratic Party is wise enough to realize that.

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