Monday, November 06, 2006

No one out there knows what the hell's going on

By Heraclitus

Yes, that's one of my favorite Woody Allen references in the title, although the original context is a discussion about love. And what could be more loveless, more unloving and unloved, than a mid-term election? The new Pew Poll seems to spell doom for the Democrats and is, understandably, provoking all kinds of discussion. Captain Ed sees it as presaging a straightforward Republican victory, but graciously refrains from gloating. At The New Republic, meanwhile, Noam Schreiber tries to explain the results away as a (temporary) fall-out from the Kerry gaffe. The bottom line is that everyone who wants the GOP out of power needs to go out and vote Democratic.

But the most interesting piece I've seen on recent polls is in The New York Post. I know, I know, first Bill Maher, now The New York Effing Post? What the hell is going on around here? Well, for one thing, the Post is actually predicting a GOP "massacre." The article, by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, begins with these two paragraphs:

The latest polls portend disaster for the Republican Party tomorrow. The House appears to be gone; the Senate is teetering on the brink.

John Zogby's polling is tracking 15 swing House districts, and he finds Democratic leads in 13. Since Dems need only 15 to take control - and will doubtless pick up several not on Zogby's list - it seems we're in for several years of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

So, someone's about to be annihilated tomorrow, but who is it? The Dems or the GOP? We report, you decide.

But the other good thing about the Post article is that it's really easy and enjoyable to make fun of it. It's rare that you see this much intellectual dishonesty and bad faith crammed into so few words.

Why the rout? President Bush let Iraq be the major issue of the election. He could have raised worries about North Korea and homeland security to the same level, but he insisted on focusing on Iraq, making changes in tactics and trying to sell them to a cynical America. Thus, he was left defending a failure rather than trumpeting his key successes.

Yes, North Korea has surely been a "key success" for the White House. Bush and the GOP should have run on how one of the three "Axis of Evil" states acquired nuclear weapons on their watch. That howler is followed by this one:

Plus, the war in Iraq has divided the Republicans - the isolationist Pat Buchanans are abandoning an internationalist president.

Hmmm...have the "isolationists" abandoned Bush, or did Bush, who repeatedly ridiculed Gore and his "nation-building" ambitions in 2000, abandon his base? Is the real division between internationalists like Bush (one could, of course, mock the notion of Bush as an "internationalist" endlessly, but we need to move this along) and "isolationists" like Buchanan (who of course has such tremendous pull in today's GOP), or between realists and neocons? Or is it just a divide between those who prize competence in government and those who prize ideological fervor and loyalty above all else?

The authors do go on to blame the GOP for not really accomplishing much of anything despite controlling the legislative and executive. They then let drop the following pearl of wisdom:

In the end, though, it was corruption that did the GOP in. In the '90s, Republican legislators were lean, ascetic and ideological - Reagan Republicans. Now they've grown self-indulgent and pecuniary.

"Lean and ascetic?" Who, Newt Gringrich, easily the most vilely hypocritical greaseball wind-bag in the history of the modern legislature?

The proof that the Republicans have become corrupt? Dennis Hastert's son is a lobbyist for Google. I kid you not. Then we get the following delicious treat:

Voters may expect this kind of corruption from Democrats (Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has four lobbyist sons) but not from Republicans.

Yes, surely voters don't expect to see corruption in the Republican Party. I mean there were only, what, a few dozen indictments and a very few dozen convictions in the Reagan White House, right?

But our fearless scribes are not done yet. Here's the real problem with Democratic control of the House:

First the Republicans lost their virtue; now they'll lose their majority, at least in the House. What's ahead for the next two years? Not new legislation so much as investigations, subpoenas, hearings etc. Washington will be as effectively paralyzed as it was during President Clinton's impeachment trial. And, let us remember that it was in that incubator that Osama bin Laden was able to plan the 9/11 attacks.

We needed a president who could act firmly back then, and we'll need one in the next two years. But we're not going to have one. President Bush will be dodging document requests, defending his administration's integrity and battling each day's sensational headlines supposedly uncovering scandal after scandal.

So, it's true, folks, bin Laden wants the Democrats to win. That way the president will be paralyzed, and the evildoers will be able to plan another major attack. Because Lord knows there were no warnings coming out of the Clinton years about al-Qaeda--well, none that were "actionable."

But even better--the Democrats will paralyze the federal government to hurt Bush and the GOP politically, just like the Republicans did to Clinton and the Democrats back in the late '90s. Which means that al-Qaeda will be able to plan another attack, again just like in the late '90s. So, wait a minute--the Republicans paralyzed government back in the late '90s, which enabled bin Laden to plan and set the September 11th attacks in motion! EXTRA!! EXTRA!! NEW YORK POST SEZ: GOP TO BLAME FOR 9/11!! REPUBLICANS CAUSE WORST TERRORISTS ATTACKS IN US HISTORY!!!

The article ends by suggesting that the Democrats will spend the next two years campaigning for the presidency, and will most likely win. We'll see. Meanwhile, The New York Post should have a new slogan: Like shooting fish in a barrel.

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