What a campaign! Jesse Ventura took offense at someone else's manners? Mr. Etiquette, the Sensitive Male. Poor Charlton Heston, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, no shame to him, was trotted around the country and held up by both arms while he urged us to get more guns. Both candidates for governor in California were capable of causing tooth decay in anyone forced to listen to them. In Texas, our governor merely accused his opponent of being a drug dealer and murderer. Slime and negativity from coast to coast.
In Texas, we have elected wall-to-wall dipsticks who have to figure out how to close what could be a $40 billion budget gap. They've all sworn to eat worms and die before raising taxes, so this should be entertaining.
Face it, the Democrats deserved to lose. What is the point of carrying on about how terrible the economy is if you don't advance a single useful idea on how to fix it? It would have been so easy to finesse the "Democrats just want to raise taxes" issue. One only needed to say, "Every single nickel of the Bush tax cut will go for tax relief. Except instead of giving over 50 percent of the tax relief to the richest 1 percent of voters, we're going to give all of it to the bottom 99 percent in the form of payroll tax cuts. You cut payroll taxes, it puts money directly in the pockets of people who will go out and spend it, thus ginning up the economy, instead of into the pockets of multimillionaires who stash it all in offshore tax shelters."
And any party so brain dead it cannot turn corporate corruption into an issue deserves to be out of office. Ken Lay was GeeDubya's biggest contributor: What more do you want? Every single Democrat should have been running on a platform of public campaign financing.
Let the post mortems begin! It seems to me television coverage had a lot to do with the last-minute swing toward Republicans. That and money, as per usual. In the final three days of the race, the media's favorite political story was Bush Barnstorming, as though they were covering a Presidential campaign with only one candidate instead of a mid-term election.
There are three things one must not do in the face of electoral disaster. Whine. Despair. Or fall for that specious old radical crap: "Things have to get worse before they can get better." The only possible response to that one is, "Not with my child's life!"
Nor is it helpful to sit around hoping that given enough rope, the R's will hang themselves. They'll hang us along with them. The only thing to do is fight harder and smarter.
As the precious few liberals in the Texas legislature have proved time and again, it is quite possible for those in the minority to stop a whole lot of bad law and even to pass some good stuff. It requires agility and wasting no time feeling sorry for yourself. Start with something like the Republican effort to block closing the Bermuda loophole in the federal tax code: The R's have been pulling cute tricks like walking out of committee meetings to keep the bill from coming up. Use it.
Here's a novel proposal: Next time the DNC scouts around for candidates, why not look for people with ideas who can talk well? For inspiration, emulate the Mensch from Minnesota, who will be missed for a long, long time.
The plague of negative ads will disappear only when they no longer work. Time to think creatively: Public campaign financing, public campaign financing, public campaign financing. Bush is as serious about campaign finance reform as he is about corporate reform: Two days after he signed the McCain-Feingold bill, he bypassed Congress and made a recess appointment to the panel that is supposed to enforce the law. He appointed Michael Toner, the RNC's top lawyer and an outspoken critic of the bill. Just a subtle little signal there.
Sharpen wits, man battle stations.