Freedom’s just another word for “let me tell you what to do”

· 2004 Election

As I was laying in bed last night counting Republicans, I started thinking about the whole “moral values” thing. What I realized–and maybe this should be filed under “bleeding obvious”–is that the two main issues, gays and abortion, are both classic cases of “I should be free to follow my values, and you also should be free to follow my values.” In other words, “I don’t believe in homosexuality or abortion. So you homosexuals, quit gaying it up, and you women, no abortions for you.”
You might be tempted to call this un-American. Then again, you could equally well argue that in America freedom has always been a code word for “I get all the freedom I want, you get all the freedom I feel like giving you.” (See also: indentured servitude, slavery, women’s rights, civil rights, etc. etc.)
The United States of Canada are looking better and better.

No one ever said saving the world would be easy

· 2004 Election

Every generation has its challenge. We’ve had it fairly easy till now. Sure, it was rough when “Happy Days” got cancelled. But, you know, we perservered.
This is our moment. This is our generation’s challenge. How we respond will define us and determine history.
I don’t want to be the good Germans, the ones who saw it coming but failed to stop it. It’s time for us to step forward and become the greatest generation — the ones who show up in our country’s time of need, and bring America back to its senses.
Some questions for all of us this morning:

  • What more can we as individuals do next time that we didn’t do this time?
  • What can we all do starting tomorrow — not just giving money, but what concrete actions can we take – that will help win back congress in 2 years?
  • And what can we do between now and then to limit the damage this Republican government inflicts?

We’re grown ups now, right?
It’s our turn.

Johnny, we hardly knew ye

· 2004 Election

Nice speech by Mr. Kerry – positive, thoughtful, inspirational even. At one point he appeared to shed a tear. Funny how candidates always seem to be at their best when the campaign is over – especially, for some reason, in concession speeches. I remember watching Gore when he (finally) conceded and thinking, “Wow, he’s an actual human being! This guy would have gotten a lot more votes than the guy who’s been campaigning all year.”
Could it be the secret is to campaign as if you’ve already lost?

America, You Ignorant Slut

· 2004 Election

That phrase has been running through my head all morning. It makes me laugh, and I need to laugh, because this election has been a stark reminder of just how backward we are as a country. Not stupid, but gullible, easily manipulated, ruled by fear, and still in possession of a whole laundry list of 19th and 20th-century prejudices. Also, there was a nice item on CNN Headline this morning about how fast the Arctic ice is melting, a little hint of the repercussions to come if we don’t get our heads out of the middle ages and start dealing with the real issues of the modern world.
Now, off to watch the concession speech.

Bush’s war

· 2004 Election

I gather that the next 11 to 90 days may end up as a three-ring circus after Democrats wake up and start sifting through any possible signs of discrepancies in Tuesday’s apparent Republican blowout (popular vote advances, gains in both houses of Congress, and so on).
I suppose there is some possible future in which Kerry claims Ohio and then tries to govern for four years with a tide of Republican fury (hypocritical or not) about the electoral college and lawyers and such.
But it is sadly looking likely that the country has ratified Bush’s tactics of governing from the base of his own party and putting the nation on a permanent war footing. The “incumbent rule” may have succumbed to the “khaki election” rubric that says we generally don’t change presidents in time of war.
To the rest of the world, we’ll no longer be able to use the excuse that “we didn’t really elect him.” We will have to live with the consequences of Bush’s foreign policy and the blowback from overweening confidence as the dominant power in a unipolar world, unless the EU gets its act together and decides to confront us more assertively, which would probably cause grief and woe in equal measure to any benefit derived from a counterbalancing player on the world stage.
Something tells me Canada is cringing right now too.
On the other hand, I sense that the Bush administration has been frantically sweeping issues under the rug, postponing an avalanche of reckonings till after election day. There is the CIA’s 9/11 report, the Plame affair, the disturbing trends in Iraq, problems with Halliburton, and any number of other scandals small and large that might now have four years to play out in full. Should Bush take a second term, will his administration be plagued with investigations and full-scale opposition? Perhaps not, as his party has strengthened its hold on the branch that most directly checks the executive (and is now likely to set the course for the Supreme Court and the lower courts as well for a generation to come).
Had Bush been defeated handily, the Republicans would have been in for a bloodletting. With his victory looking more likely, it remains to be seen whether the party will do any internal soul-searching about the direction it’s heading in. Winning, even winning ugly, tends to reinforce whatever techniques led to the victory. On the Democratic side, it’s hard to see what another round of self-recrimination will accomplish but it’s harder still to explain how an unprecedented mobilization of the liberal half of the country could fall so short of success or to derive a lesson from this that will yield some kind of growth for the party by 2006 or 2008.
One thing’s for sure, though. If Bush is reinaugurated in January, he will gain sole credit for the Iraq war and its aftermath. Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn rule that Kerry had so much trouble getting right (“you break it, you bought it”) comes fully into play, and the Bush team will spend the next four years living with the ramifications of a first term that seemed geared more toward eking out a reelection victory through targeted political tactics than prosecuting a coherent agenda at home and abroad.