While the following could be shaped into a well-written piece, it is more of a rambling monologue with the sole purpose of venting in hopes of easing the anxious feeling I have while imagining four more years of GWB:
The day has come – political armageddon.
I’m left with an aching stomach as it is announced that John Kerry will call George Bush to concede his bid for the presidency. Four more years presumably like the previous four years? Where will it leave us? How did it happen? Where did the Kerry camp go wrong? Where did Bush go right?
Did Kerry ever really have a shot? I don’t think so. Kerry was presidential in appearance and demonstrated that he actually absorbed some of his Yale education – most notably during the 3 debates – but that didn’t matter. I suspect many of Kerry’s supporters – including myself – only convinced themselves that they liked Kerry, while in actuality they merely dispised Bush.
Looking back, though, who of the dozen or so Democratic nominees could have taken it to Bush? I contend none of them.
Dean was thought to have a shot, but he would have taken a stronger liberal stance on many issues and would have come down harder on the critics’ side of the Iraq war. Though the democratic/liberal base would have been stronger, he would have alienated more of middle-America.
Edwards? He was all face, and that didn’t carry him very far. I thought he was a great choice for VP, but the truth is he’s been playing the political game for too short a time. He sounds and looks cute, but I think people have a hard time believing that he knows what he’s talking about. As the campaign was coming to a close, I found myself more annoyed by Edwards than I was confident in his ability to turn states blue. As it happens, he’s out a VP job, he couldn’t bring his home state over to Kerry, and he lost his Democratic Senate seat – that’s a solid strike out.
Lieberman? He was considered more hawkish (re: Iraq) and more moderate than some of the others, but I think one is fooling themselves if they think Lieberman would ever have a shot in hell in becoming the president. He’s such a sap – a shakey, feeble, old man who exudes nothing remotely resembling presidential leadership.
These criticisms, however, bear a striking resemblance to Bush’s own political shortcomings. Working backwards…he’s a man of weak stature and an unconvincing natural leader; he shows no signs of being able to even pretend like he understands the issues; he’s short on political experience (at least he was in 2000), and as Dean (and Kucinich, Sharpton, etc.) were too far left for middle-America, he’s further to the right than many Republicans. In the face of these and many, many other observations of why Bush doesn’t make a strong political candidate, he wins. Well, he won this year anyway.
The truth is that Rove and company are far too crafty. They manipulated the country and played mainstream Americans like an instrument – pushing and pulling how they deemed necessary. They dragged out our lurching VP to inject fear periodically and they have twisted Bush’s weaknesses into his strengths. A great question might be: Will anyone other than Karl Rove run a Republican election again?
Further, America is, quite simply, still very conservative. Either that, or they’re stupid. I think arguments can be made for both suppositions. Regarding the former, it is clear that people like religion and find solace, apparently, in a president who calls upon god for guidance in his decision making. People are still afraid of homosexuality. They think progressive science is a step toward self-destruction. Regarding the latter, they think the president tells us the truth. They think his motives are in the name of the good of the many. They still think, the latest polls show, I believe, that Iraq had something to do with 9/11. They view the videotape of a healthy OBL as a reminder of 9/11 rather than a reminder that GWB has failed to properly approach the perpetrators of 9/11.
So where will we be in 4 years? I imagine we’ll be in a position much like we are today, if not a bit worse off.
Politically, the country will be even more divided. Bush is sure to further alienate his detractors, but who knows if they’ll have the energy to rebel as they have the past couple of years. Who will run for president in '08? Talk is that Hilary will get the nod from the Dems, but I’m unsure how that will pan out. The country will either be ready for the shift back to the left after 8 brutal years of right wing nonsense, or they still won’t be ready to allow a woman to possess such power. If Edwards runs, I’m sure it will result in a landslide for the GOP. From the right, Jeb won’t give it a go until 2012 or later (how old is he?), but perhaps McCain will step back in. If not, Guiliani might still be the ‘prom king’ he currently is. I hope that freak Frist doesn’t get the nod.
Domestically, the economy will go through its seemingly natural cycle of ups and downs and will probably end on a good note in the eyes of the media in '08. Jobs will continue to be outsourced and tax breaks to corporations will be sustained in the name of optimal capitalism. The proverbial gap between the wealthy and the poor will widen, evaporating the middle class. Oh, and the deficit? Deeper and deeper we go.
Socially, stem cell research will continue to creep along while other nations do what they can to explore its fascinating possibilities. Gays will continue to fight for their right to live like any other group. Abortions will still be seen as an act of murder.
In the Middle East, the US will still be trying to get Iraq on its feet and will still be battling insurgents. Iran will be a growing threat and will not be addressed because we won’t have the military resources to appropriately do so. Arab resentment of the US will continue to grow. al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations will proliferate and, while I will not be surprised if there is another attack on US soil, I think there will certainly be attacks on Americans abroad.
Just a few days ago the chances seemed good. It seemed like we had a shot. The polls had Bush up by a point or two, but come election day, he propelled above the 50% mark. Fishy? Perhaps, but who knows?
Let’s look at the bright side – Bush is surely to continue humiliating himself and I’m sure to laugh more with Bush in the WH than with Kerry there. As they say, laughing is the best medicine, but if Kerry was there, maybe I wouldn’t need medicine in the first place.
Thanks for the battles folks. Some of you are clearly fine people and I’ve enjoyed our discourse no matter how nasty it became at times. I’m afraid to say that I’m rather glad my interaction with some others doesn’t exist beyond our virtual discussion room…and I’m sure this feeling is mutual.
Congrats to the many T-men who so desired Bush to win. The feeling of comfort you must be experiencing is probably close to the sense of despair I am feeling. I have had a knot in my stomach since last night, as I feel in my gut that things are going to get ugly in the next four years. I certainly hope not. I really hope things don’t get worse and the direction of America changes.
I won’t be posting under the moniker JeffR has assigned to me. Not because I’m cheating the bet, but because I won’t be posting on the political board for now. The reason is that there’s nothing to fight for, nothing to hope for. No matter what Bush does, I’ve got to deal with him for 4 more years.
With crossed fingers, farewell.