Wandering The Desert For 40 Years
There has been a fair amount of discussion lately on this blog and others about how for Democrats 2004 is so much like 1964 was for the Republicans. About how such a crushing defeat will bring about an electoral revival in about - oh - forty years or so. This idea completely ignores certain signs that this ain't necessarily so.
If you look at the numbers here [Yes - isn't it fascinating that an Australian site cares about American electoral history!], one can see that in 1964, Lyndon Johnson DID crush Senator Goldwater. The numbers for 2004 don't even come close to this. A 23% margin of victory is a crushing defeat - a 3% margin of victory is not.
Another sign that things are not like 1964 is this: the victorious party was not riven with fissures threatening to release the great pressures within.
For example, John Dean sees a threat of civil war:
It does not seem to trouble either Rove or Bush that they are moving us toward a Twenty-first Century civil war -- and that, once again, Southern conservatism is at its core. Only a miracle, it strikes me, can prevent this election from descending into post-election chaos. But given the alternatives, a miracle is what I am hoping for.
Large numbers of conservatives cast their lot with John F. Kerry - former Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, John Dean (tacitly through his topics against Bu$h), Chicago Tribune conservative columnist Stephen Chapman, the American Conservative Magazine, former Kentucky Senator Marlow W. Cook, former Oregon Republican Gov. Tom McCall's widow, former Minnesota Governors Jesse Ventura and Elmer L. Andersen all endorsed Kerry. There is even a new organization Republicans For Kerry - not that it can do much good now!
My point is this: So many conservative Republicans publically supporting John F. Kerry in what proved to be a losing cause is not the same as the overwhelming support Lyndon Johnson got. This support from conservatives who fear the effects of an extended Bu$h pResidency is what really made 2004 a close election. This is not the mandate the Bu$hCo rants about almost by the minute.
Far from it.
So many conservative supporting Kerry would have supported a more rational and 'traditional' Republican without much thought at all. The more 'traditional' Republican candidate would have had a margin of victory - all other current 2004 electoral issues being equal - more like Johnson's if this really were a mandate from the voters.
The fact that George W. Bu$h did not get this mandate is significant. John Dean puts it this way in his latest article:
In his victory speech, after thanking supporters, Bush said, "I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust." Yet the next day, in his first post-election press conference, he described working with his opponents as their agreeing with his goals and aims.
With four years of evidence, Kerry supporters - realists that they are, who have learned to watch what Bush and Cheney do, rather than what they say - will hardly be persuaded that this administration seeks a new era of bipartisanship. That is particularly true given that the President suggested at his recent press conference that the divisiveness will end when everyone agrees with his positions. Little wonder there is widespread depression.
The sensible take on the next four years will not be found in the President's faux offers of thorny olive branches with very short stems. Bush and Cheney are not going to trim their sails, and with the ship of state listing dangerously starboard, no one should expect smooth sailing for the next four years. Humility does not come easily to these men of hubris.
Rancor should be expected. Indeed, it may be necessary to keep them from sinking us all.
This coming from a man whose politics are traditionally conservative should tell us something - that all is not well and unified in the Republican Party. The key is in the many media reports concerning the Christian Right insisting that George W. Bu$h get on with installing their agenda as the law of this land. They would love Scalia to be Rehnquist's replacement - a likely occurance considering Billy's bad health of late. They want Roe v. Wade overturned, the Constitutional Amendment to ban anything Gay (watch them expand this from a mere marriage ban!), another to allow Ahnoldt to become president (he's in the process of taking California over a cliff - why should we allow him to do the same to the nation?), universal 'voluntary' service, more tax breaks, more state-supported religious activities - the list just goes on and on.
This list bothers the True Conservatives as much as it bothers us liberals, for it strays far from the field of traditional American values. There is also the reckoning of the financial costs of all of these issues which we share. Some of us know, for example, that 'finding' all of that gold in the New World led to the downfall of the most powerful 16th century European nation - Spain. Having so much wealth caused Spain to fritter away its traditional values and its work ethic (cheaper to have the native slaves in the New World do all the work!), which left the elites with a lot of time on their hands. This resulted in a 'religious' revival we now know as the Spanish Inquisition, which destroyed national unity and civil security for hundreds of years.
Similar things happened to Imperial Rome, to the Greek city-states, to many regimes around the world throughout history. Excessive wealth and power leads to decay and defeat. If the US doesn't change course soon, such will likely be our fate as well.
I keep bringing up the fact that China is very quietly displacing us as the dominant world power through actions designed to appeal to those Bu$h has been snubbing if not outright dissing. They have been very successful with these efforts based on my limited research. Their focus appears to be to supplant us completely - something that a more aware leader would do something about. Improving our relations with the other nations of the world - including China - would go a long way toward preventing the most negative possible outcome of these Chinese initiatives - that of the US standing alone against the world with a broken economy, an empty industrial infrastructure, and no arsenal.
Certainly these issues tend to appeal to the interests of conservatives more than they do to liberals, and those who aren't blinded by the faux magnificence of the 'good Christian' in the Oval Office see that his policies aren't going to keep America as the number one nation of the world like we've been by default since 1945. Bu$h has thrown that away, shredded it to tatters. We would now have to compete for that honor, and the longer it takes for the US to begin correcting Bu$hCo errors, the more likely this becomes a military contest.
This would not be a good thing, for the world knows many things about our military capabilities thanks to Bu$hCo ineptitude: We may have the most technological military in the world, but we can't even control Iraq. The world knows our army is tapped out without a draft, and even if we had the manpower, we don't have the industrial base to supply it. Even if we had the industrial base, we no longer have an educated and experienced work force to operate it. Even if we had the work force, we no longer have the economic means to supply it. And as the ace in the hole, even if we had the economic means, the world owns our debt - and by extension - this nation. If Bu$h - no - WHEN Bu$h gets too uppity, that's when this ace gets played.
That's when we are going to hear a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.
So to come back to my original point, it CAN'T take 40 years for the Democrats to emulate the rebuilding of the Democratic Party. There isn't time for that. Far too much needs to be dealt with much quicker than that.
But there is good news. For all intents and purposes, the Democratic Party has been rebuilding since Ronald Reagan swept aside the fragments that Jimmy Carter left behind. That's 24 years now. There have been some victory amid all the defeat, but with each election since then, more support has been garnered from those who see and fear conservative excesses. This latest election puts us in a good place, for there is now a lot of support for more restraint of Bu$h and his policies from those who should have been in support of Bu$h. In a sense, we have captured support from the winning side. Assuming we had a fair election, we just might have really won. This would have been as big a political revolution as Reagan's was.
This thus bodes well for the next election - assuming there ever is one.
But I fear that it may now be too late for that. Now that Bu$hCo has massaged a 'legitimate' electoral victory out of the American sheeple over the American people, they can now have their real (or staged) terror attack on America, which will justify martial law and the cessation of all electoral activity.
Bu$h can then be the dictator he's always wanted to be - and then America will truly be wandering in the desert, a tribe of fools led about by a Lost Boy with a Messianic complex.
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