International Writers Magazine: US Politics
SWEEP, GOP WEEPS
Angry Voters Shift Balance Of Power & Scold Confounded President
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
- William Shakespeare
scorn of the final tally is fierce. When motivated, the electorate
can be predatory, and election results, a thing of brutal beauty.
On November 7, 2006, do not let it be said that the rail was not
long and the ride not swift. Republican ass was systematically
booted, a tenderized morsel masticated and spit out by the American
voter like so much chum.
The finality of
it, a cold dish of dizzying trauma, signals it is not merely over, but
really over, so completely and utterly over that it is hard to fathom
without grave contemplation -- a flogging worthy of historical record.
Defeat pure, concussive and lasting; a degrading experience in every
What transpired in this Midterm Election, a national referendum
on folly, malfeasance and war, will be dissected for years this way:
For the first time in six election cycles one party thoroughly obliterated
the other for reasons of legislative ineffectualness and the repeated
and pathetic failures of the executive order. Many careers went belly
up. Reputations were desecrated. No witnesses dared deny the hurt.
There are only two examples in the last half century to
equal the beating the Republicans took last Tuesday, the Midterm elections
of 1946 and 1994, both GOP landslide victories against first-term Democratic
presidents, one who did not want to be president in the first place,
and told everyone so, Harry Truman, and the other, a loose cannon, Bill
Clinton, who only became president because of a bleating little troll
called Ross Perot.
Let's face it folks, there is Midterm backlash in the
normally dysfunctional second term of a president, a well-known American
tradition, and then there is the absolute and crushing devastation George
W. Bush endured those last excruciatingly painful hours of Election
Do you have any idea how striking and total the Democratic
storm to the House of Representatives and, even more stunningly, the
Senate is to political junkies like yours truly? Do you realize how
difficult it is for the Democrats to now be sitting on a 30-plus- seat
blow out after a decade of wild redistricting and gerrymandering? Jesus,
man, if not for that, the Democrats may have captured 50 seats.
After the dismantling of what was left of the Democratic
Party following its doomed 2004 presidential bid, could anyone with
half a brain have predicted this kind of vicious throttling? Maybe a
slight shift of power in the House, but this?
And the Senate? Not a single soul on either side of the
political fence could have seen this coming. Even now it is unconscionable
to swallow an entrenched redneck like George Allen Jr., once the darling
of the Grand Old Party, and glassy-eyed dreamer for the White House
in 2008, losing to a nobody anti-war geek like Jim Webb in Virginia!
Nor is it the least bit conceivable that an ultra-conservative state
like Montana, and even much of Pennsylvania, and the normally Republican-stronghold
of Ohio, would allow their GOP candidates to be summarily dismissed
at such a dizzying rate.
Around 10:30 on Election Night, the groaning visage of
a beaten and ravaged Ken Mehlman, Chairman of Republican National Committee,
became the symbol of the evening's humiliation. He could barely cobble
together a sensible reaction to the whole thing. His party coming apart
at the seams, he appeared on television like a man standing helplessly
by as a gang of street thugs raped his pet and keyed his Beemer. And
no one with an ounce of sympathy could blame him. Long-time, high-functioning
representatives like Anne Northup and purported senatorial lifers like
Rick Santorum were being snowed under, rejected, as if they had been
caught in some horrible set-up, jacked by Ashton Kutcher for cheap laughs.
Later, Tom Delay, poster-child for corruption personified,
made shameful public attempts to undercut what was fast becoming a thrashing
so embarrassing he'd be lucky to have his parking validated on K Street
after midnight. His failure was absolute, but not as infinite as former
Golden Boy, Karl Rove, who was found early Wednesday morning skulking
around Georgetown simpering like a wounded dog. His only friends were
winners, and when their gravy train derailed, they left him to toll
the final bell like Hugo's Hunchback.
The most stunning fallout of this dramatic shift of power
was the immediate erosion of the formerly unyielding firewall of a president
who conducted a bizarre post-game press conference as if emerging from
a car wreck. Disoriented and puzzled, the artist formerly known as Captain
Shoo-In sold three years of steadfast support for "staying the
course" or the other nonsense his vice president spewed recently
about "full speed ahead" on the Iraq policy by sacking Donald
Rumsfeld and agreeing to hear a "fresh perspective" on the
Through the looking glass and over the rainbow, the Cowboy
Prince appointed dissenting voice, and former George Bush Sr. advisor,
Robert Gates to Secretary of Defense. Then, in a moment usually reserved
for outlandish soap opera twists, announced he would conference with
the pragmatic realists over at the James Baker Institute for further
Sources close to the cold-cocked administration reported
finding the remains of Dick Cheney clutching his chest in an insignificant,
almost emasculated lump on the Oval Office floor.
The very sight of Democrats bigwigs like future House
Speaker, and Liberal viper, Nancy Pelosi dancing like conquering Vikings
on televisions across the nation had quite obviously disoriented the
Bush Team. No one within ten blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue was even
willing to admit there was an election until Howard Dean, vehement opposition
to the Iraq War for three years, started squawking about how the new
Congress needs to be careful not to pull out of the war too soon, nor
waste precious time holding those in charge accountable.
Hardcore professionals know the clarion call of the victor
when they here it. Suddenly Dean, the goofy outsider throwing stones
at the glass house, found himself inside; a strong waft of power filling
his flared nostrils, and gory visions of Patton on a binge prancing
around in his swimming head. He was heard to whisper, "God help
me, I love it so."
The people have spoken.
© James Campion November 12 2006
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