I agree that the Democrats do not offer significant differences from the Republicans, but if you firmly believe in the "lesser of two evils" theory of voting, Election Day was a rousing success. I also agree that this time around the Democrats did not offer serious alternatives to the horrendous war in Iraq, but the most significant consequence of this election was that anti-war sentiment drove many people to oust the incumbents. Has this ever happened before? I don't think so. It did not happen in Vietnam, and in 1968 and 1972, years that most of us associated with hippies and anti-war rallies, voters chose the hawkish militarist, Richard Nixon, as President.
It's a big deal when a war actually causes the warmongers to lose power. War is an easy way to gain power in this country. George W. Bush did it in 2004. To lose power because of a war signals monumental incompetence. It's so easy to retain power these days. Incumbents get to draw the boundaries of their legislative districts, almost guaranteeing that most of their constituants belong to their party. These electoral fortresses are almost always impenetrable. Not this time. People are pissed off at the Iraq War and President Bush, who could have been thrown out of office if voters had a chance to do so yesterday.
I don't expect the Democrats to try to impeach President Bush. But simple obstructionism wouldn't be a bad idea. Whatever Bush is for, I'm against. I hope the new office-holders feel the same way. Voters told pollsters that corruption was one of the motivating issues this time around. The Republicans were in power too long and treated the Capitol building like their sandbox. I hope to God the Democrats revive the time-honored practice of Congress investigatng the Presidency and other offices and departments under his control. There is much work to do, including a serious examination into the mis-use of intelligence to push the Iraq War onto the American people. Get these people under oath!
Locally, two big wins for progressive challengers to some particularly odious Bush supporters. This year, my office donated some space to John Hall, a Democrat challenging Sue Kelly, a typical Republican Bush-backer. Hall made a name for himself in the 1970's as a rock star with the band Orleans, sabatoging popular culture with soft-rock drivel like "Still the One" and "Dance with Me." But he also appeared at the No-Nukes concerts back then and became a political activist. He prevailed in Republican territory.
Up north, in Albany, a particularly deplorable Republican, John Sweeney, lost to a political newcomer, Kirstin Gillibrand , who came out of nowhere to knock out one of the guys who tried to disrupt the 2000 Presidential recount in Florida.
In Pennsylvania, a particularly offensive Republican, Rick Santorum, was ousted. This gay-hating reactionary poisoned the national conversation with language that even Republicans should have been ashamed of. After the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex relationships are protected by the Constitution, Santorum said that he
had "a problem with homosexual acts"; that the right to privacy "doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution"; that, "whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, whether it's sodomy, all of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family"; and that sodomy laws properly exist to prevent acts that "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family". When the Associated Press reporter asked whether homosexuals should not then engage in homosexual acts, Santorum replied, "Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality".
That's right, he compared homosexuality with "man on dog." Santorum's legacy is that his name is now associated with a disgusting bodily emission. Getting a low-life out of Congress is my definition of success.
Click here to see how much progress has been made over the past few days. Read about how the Republicans have systematically taken the wrong side on nearly every issue. There was no silver lining in 2004 when Bush won re-election. There is a silver lining now. Can the Democrats do any worse?