Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Josh Marshall takes the long view

And he makes a lot of sense:

Take time to feel the desolation and disappointment. But I remain confident that time is not on the side of the kind of values and politics that President Bush represents. It took conservatives two decades to build up the institutional muscle they have today. Though I was always nervous about the result, I thought we could win this election. But it was always naive to believe that that sort of institutional heft could be put together in 24 or 36 months.

I know what Josh means about desolation and disappointment -- the sense of loss I feel today can only be compared to a death in the family. I volunteered for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and I dipped into my savings to contribute the individual maximum. When a "shy person" like me makes phone calls to complete strangers, something is indeed happening: a commitment that took me WAY out of my comfort zone. And the overwhelmingly positive response convinced me that we would win.

This is how hard we worked: Kerry carried Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He -- and we -- made history. That's a freaking miracle -- but today, it's cold comfort.

The really heartbreaking part, for me, is that we couldn't deliver the election for the best-qualified candidate of my lifetime. I believe with all my heart that John Kerry would be a great president. And he is uniquely qualified to meet the challenges facing us today. This was no failure on his part: it's (a) the result of rigged voting machines or (b) a colossal failure of judgment on the part of the electorate, take your pick. Either way, the result is the same.

I wish I could share Josh's optimism. As it is, I will look to my leader -- John Kerry -- for direction going forward.

Dumb as posts vs. the reality-based community

Digby makes several good points:

John Kerry is the most qualified man to be president in my lifetime. And he might have won except for one thing. He couldn't fill the role that certain voters require in a president in this era --- he just wasn't enough of an archetypal TV hero. That's no knock on him, it's a knock on America. I know it's not politic to say it, but a majority of this country are obviously dumb as posts. Still, it's the only country we've got and we are going to have to come to terms with this.

Whatever the reasons, I'm devastated about this outcome, of course. But there is a silver lining. We here in the reality based community know full well that Bush and his minions have been dancing as fast as they can to get through this election. They have been desperate to avoid setting off an array of landmines with hair triggers. I am going to enjoy watching him try to deal with them as they begin to blow up in his face one by one. In many ways it is poetic justice that he is going to have to attempt to clean up the huge fetid, stinking mess he's foisted on this country.

Too bad about the human carnage though.

And I take heart in remembering Richard Nixon. Junior is his true heir and I suspect he will have the same fate. This much corruption cannot be contained. Keep your eyes on purged members of the CIA and the State Department. He may have won, but I have a feeling that Commander Codpiece may come to regret it.

There is much to recommend being the angry opposition. Watching our hated enemy squirm is one of them.


Mike: George Babbitt is running the country.
Me: With Elmer Gantry in his hip pocket.

Pierce: You wanted him, you got him. Now you can live with the consequences.

Charlie Pierce speaks for me:

As Mo Udall once put it, the people have spoken, goddamn them.....

The country voted for these guys with its eyes open.  Let us hear no complaining about "bait and switch," and a "uniter, not a divider," and on and on and on.  It even returned a national legislature consonant with the incumbent's agenda. There will be permanent tax cuts that will institutionalize a national debt that will force some sort of evisceration of Social Security and Medicare. There will be continued military adventurism in the Middle East. There will be Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Chief Justice Antonin Scalia. There will be more lying and more vengeance.

So let there be no whining when your husband's National Guard obligation leaves him under fire for six extra months, or when Granny and Gramps are eating cat food, or when it become increasingly impossible to meet the economic needs of the middle-class family.

No complaining. None of it.

You wanted this guy. Now you have him, unleashed.

Don't blame Kerry. You can't reason with idiots -- and there are a lot of idiots out there

Eric Alterman:

Let’s face it.  It’s not Kerry’s fault.  It’s not Nader’s fault (this time).  It’s not the media’s fault (though they do bear a heavy responsibility for much of what ails our political system). It’s not “our” fault either. The problem is just this:  Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the “reality-based community” say or believe about anything.

They don’t care that Iraq is turning into murderous quicksand and a killing field for our children.  They don’t care that the Bush presidency has made us less safe by creating more terrorists, inspiring more anti-American hatred and refusing to engage in the hard work that would be necessary to make a meaningful dent in our myriad vulnerabilities at home.  They don’t care that he has mortgaged our children’s future to give trillions to the wealthiest among us.  They don’t care that the economy continues to hemorrhage well-paying jobs and replace them with Wal-Mart; that the number without health insurance is over forty million and rising.  They don’t care that Medicare premiums are rising to fund the coffers of pharmaceutical companies.  They don’t care that the air they breathe and the water they drink is being slowly poisoned and though they call themselves conservatives, they even don’t care that the size of the government and its share of our national income has increased by roughly a quarter in just four years.  This is not a world of rational debate and issue preference.

It’s one of “them” and “us.”  He’s one of “them” and not one of “us” and that’s all they care about.  True it’s an illusion.  After all, Bush is a millionaire’s son who went to Yale and Harvard and sat out Vietnam, not even bothering to show up for his cushy National Guard duty, and succeeded only in trading on his father’s name and connections in adult life.  But somehow, they feel he understands them. 
He speaks their language.  Our guys don’t.  And unless they learn it, we will continue to condemn this country and those parts of the world it affects to a regime of malign neglect at best—malignant and malicious assault at worse. 

Given the media’s talent for pandering to their lowest common denominator, the things that have driven us crazy about their past pathetic performance are bound to get a lot worse.  Most of us—readers and writers of this web log and peoplelikeus-- derive an awful lot of benefit from being Americans.  We owe it to our better selves, and though it sounds horribly clichéd, to our children-- not to walk away from this battle.  I will admit, however, it’s pretty damn hard to see through this fog just where to turn before we march.