Put another way, by contemporary journalist Art Spander: “The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.” Bingo.
Millions of Floridians and other Americans dutifully traipsed into their polling places last week and from out of those tabulating machines spit a whole hell of a lot of stupidity. Applied to last week’s voters, Mr. Churchill’s comment is about four-and-a-half minutes too generous.
Yes, the Voters Have Spoken – and what they said, in a nutshell, was, “Heil, the Reich-wing!”
Do excuse me if I feel the urge – and I will – to purge and vent my anger at you dumbfucks intermittently throughout this week’s column.
And it’s not solely the dumbfucks who voted to yank America backward with whom I’m pissed off, but also with those of you who didn’t even bother to turn out to vote to keep America progressing forward. Especially you.
All of you who turned out by the droves two Novembers ago and voted for change, but didn’t report to your precincts this time around to reinforce that change. Yes, I’m addressing you dumbfucks.
All of you Obama supporters (well, supporters then, deserters now) who sat on your idle haunches: His reverberating 2008 campaign theme had to do with believing in something. Remember what it was? Put down your bongs, your Wii’s, your I-Pods and I-Pads, or whatever’s occupying your time right now and try to recall. (Hint: I mentioned it in the previous paragraph.)
But apparently, you modified that theme with a quirky 2010 update:
Change we can (kinda-sorta) believe in.
Certainly not fervently enough to warrant dragging your apathetic asses down to the same voting precincts you were so revved up to go and vote at two years ago, and voting this time for candidates that would preserve and propel the change you wanted then, huh?
(VENTING BREAK: You indolent morons!)
And the thought has recurred to me often in the last week: Boy, the right to vote sure is wasted on us Americans.
Just when one thought a rich-as-Croesus, Fifth Amendment-pleading, honesty-evading, Medicare-defrauding, editorial board-dodging, political neophyte from Illinois could become governor of Florida despite never winning even one major newspaper endorsement, 2.6 million of you evidently ranked character or the lack thereof as not particularly important in the consideration of who your next guv would be.
Thank you, my fellow Floridians, for bestowing upon my fellow journalists and me an early Christmas present. With Rick Scott in the statehouse for the next four years, there’s likely to be plenty for which to watch him closely. Verrrry closely.
Am I too harsh in my expectations? Nah. I figure the odds-makers in Las Vegas will soon be taking bets on just how soon it will take for our Rick to get into trouble for something, anything. Knowing him and his proclivity for trouble, ya just know it’s only a matter of time.
Neither was character an evident factor in your choosing Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate. Never mind his questionable use, or misuse, of a state GOP credit card, you voters decided. You liked him anyway.
(VENTING BREAK: You jack-assical idiots!)
Just when one thought health care reform was signed, sealed, and about to be delivered in 2014, now chest-thumping GOP leaders like Boehner and McConnell pledge to smother it in its crib. And, of course, the Party of No must quickly transform itself, with its sights on the next election, into the Party of No Second Term for that No-Good Socialist in the White House.
Just when one thought pockets of the country were beginning to turn the corner on bigotry against gays (see: Iowa’s legalization of gay marriage), Iowans voted out three state supreme court justices responsible for that 2009 decision and proved – nope – that Midwesterners aren’t quite as sophisticated nor tolerant as they hoodwinked us into believing.
The lyric from The Music Man goes, “You really ought to give Iowa a try. (Provided you are contrary.)” Iowans certainly proved their contrariness, as well their intolerance. We gave you a try, Iowa; you disappointed. Now go bury yourselves in your corn silos and let us be. Don’t come out until the 2012 caucuses.
No, make that 2052.
Just when one thought our president had the winning formula two years ago, one now realizes that his apparent lack of experience for the job – the one thing he successfully overcame reservations about then – is the one thing that seems to explain why he spun out of control and hit the wall this year, failing to convincingly communicate his achievements to the electorate and allowing his opponents to squelch out his message with the loud cacophony of their distortions and fear-mongering.
David Corn (The Nation) spun this succinct election post-mortem on last Friday’s Diane Rehm Show:
“For the last 18 months, Barack Obama has faced an opposition that has used fear and demagoguery, that called health care ‘death panels’ – that was an inaccurate and non-factual charge – and they repeated it again and again.
“Republican leaders said that the stimulus created NO new jobs, not like, ‘not enough’, but NONE, and again and again they said things that were not so. I think the White House completely dropped the ball in the debate for defining what was happening. They won these tremendous legislative victories: passing the stimulus bill…health care…Wall Street reform, student loans, child health care, and a whole lot of other things, and the Republican view was, ‘we’re going to just block, just say no, not participate, we’re going to get out in the public square and say things that aren’t true’.
“I think the president missed an opportunity… .”
The president misses a lot. And if he can’t correct his inability to craft and sell a message (see: Reagan), grow a pair and stare down the GOP opposition (see: Clinton), and exert presidential leadership boldly (see: both Reagan and Clinton), then perhaps he should stand down in 2012 and allow his party to nominate someone else in his stead. I can think of a certain Pantsuited One – can you? – if she’s willing, for the sake of her party and country, to un-retire that hammer with which she made 18 million cracks in a glass ceiling.
Lest everyone rush to declare that last week’s midterm results were a crushing repudiation to the president and his agenda, be reminded that his mandate – 69 million votes-strong – was for a four-year term. A midterm does not, nor should be construed to, cancel out the results of a presidential election only two years before. GOP votes in all the House races nationwide last week totalled only 41 million, compared to 35 million for Democrats. In 2008, the GOP managed 52 million votes to the Democrats’ 64 million.
In all, 41 million voters who cast ballots two years ago chose to sit this one out. A sizable chunk. The 2010 vote was not so much an embrace of the GOP as it was a testament to the collective failure of the Democratic base – young people, African-Americans, etc. – to overcome their apathy, get off their lazy asses, and turn out.
(VENTING BREAK: You ass-wipes!)
For you Republicans and Tea Partiers biting on the chomp to storm D.C. come January and begin, like a herd of buffalo in a china shop, smashing up the progress of the last two years, revoking our society’s advancements, and taking this nation back, back, back, you should heed the words of the man elected to the presidency 50 years ago this past week. John Kennedy spoke them to the Democratic convention that nominated him:
“If we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future. Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do.”
I don’t worship voters’ decisions as sacrosanct. Please. There have been all too many examples down through time of the electorate making goddamn stupid mistakes and course corrections, and society having to pay the price afterward. We’re all going to pay a dear price for the nation’s collective stupidity of last week. Progress will be set back for a time; stymied. But the pendulum will swing back – it always does – and we’ll be back on course once more.