If for some reason you feast on the laments of a disappointed liberal/progressive/guy-with-too-much-time-on-his-hands on the reelection of George Walker Bush, then dinner is prepared!
Let me first say that I'm very happy that this election brought many new voters (and many lapsed voters) into the process. You pay taxes; you get summoned to jury duty; you register for selective service; you certainly should vote. Voting isn't just about winning an election, it's about doing your civic duty. People have died bringing democracy to their countries, so a little appreciation is due, I think. Another positive aspect of this election was the very clear 3.6 million vote margin Bush won in the popular vote, the only poll that really matters to me. It's true that the popular vote doesn't elect the president, but it sure helps establish legitimacy. Even if Kerry managed to win Ohio, I would not have been confortable with his victory. It's too much like winning a game of 8 ball by your opponent's scratching the cue ball.
The Republicans won a very, very big victory in this election. They control both Houses of Congress (again) and Bush will likely have to appoint a few Supreme Court justices during his second term. And, although some might say that the 52% victory is small, I do not. The G.O.P. victories in Congress and in gubernatorial races are a damning repudiation of any agenda painted with the sticky tar of "liberal." This referendum on Bush's record is a doughty vindication of the Neo-Conservative agenda. Expect more wars, more debt, more federal bureacracy, more privatization of federal programs, anemic job growth and reduced taxes. Such is the 2000-2004 record of the Bush administration. Why tamper with success? Moreover, this is what most voting Americans have asked for.
I am not a partisan Democrat. I don't want the Dems to be in the position that the Republicans are now in. A healthy democracy requires the comprimize/cooperation of liberal and conversative elements. That is not what's going to happen in the Federal government during the next four years.
It's no use crowing about the future consequences of the neo-con agenda. That has been done in many other places more adroitly that I can here in this humble blog. However, it is the fear of the long-term ecomonic and political damage that pursuing an arrogant foreign policy and a ruthless domestic policy will incur that makes me shudder. I suppose it's possible that America can unilaterially pacify all of its enemies, real or imagined. Maybe a war born on a lie will turn out just fine. It's possible that the looming health care crisis will be averted by lowering taxes and privatizing Medicare. It's conceivable that the middle class will not be dragged under the weight of rising costs of living into the ranks of the working poor. It may well be that overturning Rowe v. Wade, banning Gay marriages, putting God back in the classroom and sticking the Ten Commandments in every court house will create a more virtuous, caring society.
What is clear is that the next successful Democrat candidate will not come from the North East or the Lakes states. It will have to be a Southerner or someone from Mountains region. I can't help feeling that in some spectral way, the Civil War is still being fought.
And now, cue the Pomp and Circumstance...