So, the 2006 Election wraps up with Darcy Burner conceding the election after the towering stacks of mail-in votes failed to close the gap between her and Reichert. Mind you, I don't consider an election to be over until, um, my vote is counted but after a week, some sense of closure is needed. This is one more reason I am suspicious of any sort of voting short of showing up at the polling place and filling in the little dots with a #2 pencil (boy, I am turning into a old fogey).
That aside, it has been a pretty good year for the previously out-of-power party. When the Republicans crushed this big in 1994, there was a very strong "barbarians at the gates" sort of feel to the coverage - the brawling, sprawling, now-mighty GOP was going to deliver on the Contract with America and take it ... somewhere. So what are the general memes that have shown up in the past week?
You didn't win, we lost. Yes, the Democrats blew through the House and did much better in the Senate than expected and flipped more state houses blue and picked up a bunch of governorships, but that's not because they had better candidates or ideas or anything. It was just because people were ticked off about Foley. And Iraq. And corruption. And the economy. And the environment. And hypocracy. And Katrina. It could have happend to anyone. Don't be so smug.
Everyone hates incumbants this year. Which is why not a single Democrat lost his seat in the Senate, House, or Governor's race. The incumbant hate seemed to be confined to only one party (though the Dems would be well-served to stop Louisiana's William "Ice-Cold Cash" Jefferson from getting back in.
Winning Democrats are Conservatives. You know that opposing candidate that we spent millions of bucks telling you about? The one who we said was a liberal, a terrorist-hugging liberal, a baby-killing liberal, a tax-and-spend liberal? Well, now that he's won, we meant to say he was a conservative. It was a typo. But we won anyway.
Losing Republicans aren't Conservatives. A fave, led by Limbaugh himself. A sigh of relief that they're no longer under the obligation to support these false conservatives just because they're Republicans. Because, you know, conservatives win, and it these guys don't win, they're not really conservatives. Ergo cognito letsthrowthem underthebus. Mind you, no one wants to talk about the big GOP winner, that arch conservative Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.
Ohmigod! Now you're in for it! The voters will regret their actions because the Democratic congress will screw up! More than the current one! We've just driven the truck off the cliff, and handed them the wheel. But we only count who is officially driving when we hit the bottom of the canyon floor. The current kerfuffle about House Majority Leader is just the first taste - See! See! They're arguing already (um, guys - they're Democrats. You're thinking of the enforced hive mind of the GOP).
Ohmigod! Nothing will change! The voters will regret their actions because the Democratic congress will not do anything! We're not going to see anything change, and we're going to make stays that way! I understand they've pulled the president's veto stamp out of its secure location, and are currently searching for the instruction manual. As proof of nothing-ever-changes, they're pointing at the grey paladin, Murtha, since he was hipdeep in the ABSCAM scandal. Oddly enough, these same sources never seem to remember that young revolutionary John McCain was hipdeep in the S&L scandal. Funny about that.
The Terrorists Won! Yep, you we merely deluded by the ... um ... who are we fighting this week? No, really, Fox News sent one of their "memos" to be on the lookout for anything that can be interpretted as a terrorist group expressing relief that the USGovernment might become less Keystone-coppish. Because dealing with terrorists is wrong. Unless, of course, you're Fox News, which benefitted from some mysterious benefactor shelling out a cool 2 mill to terrorists to get their reporters back. I don't think they're going to be reporting on that one. Because, you know, without the reporters, how could we tell you how bad terrorism is?
And there you have it. One or more of these memes will survive until Thanksgiving and become the new Conventional Wisdom. None of it will have anything to do with strong grass-roots and net-roots activism, an aggressive strategy, candidates that we unafraid to take stands and voters who were unwilling to accept the same old excuses and flagwaving.
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