Well then. It’s all over.
(Well, most of it, anyway – they’re still counting up the votes for the various propositions and whatnot out here, but the big race is done with.)
With everything that has transpired over the past few months – nay, the past two years, I think it’s time to take both parties to the woodshed for a moment and air a few things out.
First off, to the party that’s coming out of this election year as the big loser, the Republicans.
Guys, you want to know why, after such a significant victory in ’04, the last two elections have seen you get your clocks absolutely cleaned? Well, first off all, it’s because you haven’t exactly been acting like Republicans lately. You rail against moral turpitude, and then find well-known members of Congress and the Senate get caught up in various sex and corruption scandals, making the entire party look like holier-than-thou hypocrites in the process. You preach smaller government, and then sit idly by as the country spends itself into deeper and deeper deficits, barely putting up the most superficial of fights against it because you’re just as bought off by special interests as the other party. You talk tough about national security, then try to give away the country to Mexico in the false hope that it’ll somehow win you the Hispanic vote.
And don’t even get me started on the Iraq war, a war I continue to support but find it increasingly difficult to defend, thanks to your failed WMD intelligence and knack for stepping into piles of PR doo-doo on a regular basis.
If you guys want to have any hope of regaining any sort of momentum, much less power, over the next two years, you’ve got to reinvent yourselves much the same way you did in 1994 with your Contract For America – but this time, you’ve got to actually follow through with the various promises you make. America has just elected a charismatic, well-spoken, populistic, young President, one that a large segment of the country has been almost literally swooning over since the primaries. You have got to keep the heat on him, even if the Democrats end up with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. You have got to go back to your roots, and offer – however ill-fated it may be – true conservative, small-government solutions to the various issues that the country will face over the next two and four years. If you continue to go through the motions as you’ve been doing since ’05, being what amounts to the Democrat Lite party, you will continue to be humiliated in future elections, and you will have nobody to blame but yourselves.
And now, to the big winners of the night, the Democrats.
Congrats, guys. You’ve been given the keys to the country again. All those years of squawking about how evil, incompetent, and corrupt George W. Bush is finally paid dividends, as you’ve managed to get the country to elect a man who combines the gloss of Bill Clinton with the agenda of George McGovern – and if things go well, he’ll get a Congress who’ll cook up all the various socialist schemes you guys have wanted to implement since mean ol’ Dubya stole Florida from you guys back in 2000. And there won’t be enough of those fat cat Republicans to stop you.
That said, do not think for a second that this means you’ve earned permanent rule over the country indefinitely. If the ’04 election and its aftermath proves anything, it’s that the most obvious of political momentum can evaporate faster than you can say “Hurricane Katrina”. Your man has just run on a platform promising sunshine and unicorns and ice cream sundaes for everyone, and he’d damn well better deliver on all those promises. The people who elected you will not hesitate a moment to throw a large percentage of your asses out on the street in 2010 if they don’t think you’re doing enough to help them. And as insensitive as it may be to say it, if indeed we do suffer another terrorist attack during an Obama presidency, or Iran bombs Israel or some other major international crisis arises, he’d better damn well be prepared to fix it. That’s one of the major reasons I didn’t vote for Obama: I had no confidence in his ability to act authoritatively if such a crisis occurred. For everyone’s sake, I hope I’m not proven right.
And finally, to everyone out there who have been ranting and raving in the months preceding the election. Whether the guy you were rooting for won or lost, chill out. The country probably isn’t going to change that much in the next four years. Did it change a whole lot in the past eight? Not really. Did it change a whole lot in the eight years before that? Not really. We aren’t going to see this country turn into an Orwellian nanny state in four years, no matter how liberal the people running the government get. And we aren’t going to turn into some harmonic utopia either. The America of 2012 is not going to be a whole lot different from the America of 2008, except maybe for the possibility that we’ll finally get those personal jet-packs everyone’s been waiting to have since they saw their first episode of The Jetsons.
Political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “People get the government they deserve.” After months of idolizing Barack Obama, the country certainly deserves him. Now it’s just a matter of sitting back and seeing what happens now.