It doesn’t take a pundit long to misinterpret election results. As soon as it became evident the Democrats had smashed the Republicans, the chatterers announced that the clear meaning of the elections was that Democrats should continue Republican policies. Except maybe on Iraq, where even conservatives admit that Bush’s War has been a disaster for all parties except terrorists, who are stronger than ever.
To hear the commentators tell it, Democrats must not try to save Social Security. They must not raise the minimum wage. They must not bring down the price of prescription drugs by allowing the government to negotiate prices with the big drug companies. They must not block the appointment of right-wing nutcases to federal judgeships. They must not impede global warming. Most of all, they must not criticize George W. Bush, let alone censure or impeach. Don’t go dragging up the unpleasantness of the period when Republicans sought to put a rope around Bill Clinton’s neck, they say; Bush is not Clinton, for heaven’s sake. (He’s certainly not. Clinton remained popular with voters throughout his presidency, and would have been elected to a third term if he could have run. The people understood better than the media that blue dresses can be cleaned, but dead soldiers stay dead.)
George Bush is the most partisan, most unyielding, most narrow-minded president of modern times. But who is it the pundits say must give in, must sacrifice principle for harmony, must not listen to “extremists” but instead heed “moderates”? “(“Extremists” in this case means “regular Democrats.” “Moderates” means Joe Lieberman.) Why, it is Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the House. One columnist, worried sick, wrote, “Pelosi represents one of the most liberal districts in the nation, San Francisco.” (“Liberal” in this case means “traitorous.”) … “[S]he has been unstinting in her attacks on the White House and unrelenting in her refusal to compromise. Can she now bring the warring factions together?” As for George Bush, there’s no doubt of his eagerness to co-operate, only whether he can free enough terrorists to satisfy the Democrats and the ACLU. “[C]an a president who as the governor of Texas took pride in working closely with the opposition party, recover that ability?” Hardly. No matter what he did in Texas, President Bush has prided himself on his refusal to work with the opposition. America will be made better in spite of him, not because.
Governor’s new plates
Arkansans may not be able to define “tacky,” but they know tacky when they see it.