Calhoun’s Cannons for Nov 7, 2012
Ah, blessed silence. No more political ads. No more robocalls. Silence.
No, wait. I spoke too soon. Can you hear it? That awful moaning, that eerie muffled shrieking, the boiling, rumbling, growling rage thundering almost, but not quite, out of hearing range. It’s the minions of Rush Limbaugh, old white guys, radical anti-science, anti-modernity, anti-government wing nuts who have hijacked the Republican party, plus the near entirety of the white South (and who said the Confederacy was defeated?). And I don’t think they’re very happy.
I can certainly understand that fury. When you live in a Fake Fox News/Rush Limbaugh/Frank Luntz/Donald Trump created bubble long enough, pretty soon you get to thinking that’s reality. Then something like this comes along and it’s all, Woa! You mean the rest of the country doesn’t think President Obama is the Anti-Christ Muslim Kenyan Socialist Hitler who’s going to turn all our children gay, kill all our grannies in his ObamaCare “death panels,” and then declare America to be a colony of surrender-monkey France?
Guess not. Quel shock. But Democrats shouldn’t be going all giddy and waving big foam #1 fingers in the air. Winning an election is one thing. Governing is quite another. And there remains one HUGE question to be answered.
In his concession speech, Governor Romney called on Americans to “pray” for the re-elected President. While prayers are always nice, what went missing from that speech was the exhortation to his fellow Republicans to stop their mindless stonewalling and get back to the work they were elected to do.
Which means that there remains One Key Question that this election has still left unanswered: Will the Republican leadership, Mitch McConnell and the various Young Turks, Paul Ryan, included, once again meet behind closed doors to swear to one another that their one overriding agenda for the next four years is to once again block anything the President and their Democratic colleagues propose?
In short, will the Republicans in Congress double-down as Rocks in the Road once again or decide to sniff the (real) air, read the (reality-based) tea leaves, and start to engage in the hard, messy work of actually governing?
Which involves compromise, pragmatic hold-your-nose deal-making and, above all, requires that politicians stop believing their own fake PR, made-up wishful thinking, and reality-free ideology. I mean, if hurricane Sandy had one lesson to deliver it was this: Magical thinking and reality-free ideology doesn’t stop storm surges and howling winds.
Here in California, there are some signs that reality is modestly returning while Grover Norquists’ blood-oath, evil-grip siren-song (We don’t need to raise taxes to pay for anything.) seems to be lessening. As of this writing, Governor Brown’s initiative to vote to actually tax ourselves in order to keep our schools from bleeding out looks like it may well pass. Amazing.
And prompts another question: Is it possible that Battered Wife Nation, Suicide Nation, a country that somehow allowed itself to be convinced that it didn’t deserve to live in a decent society, that it was o.k. to gut its middle-class and move its jobs offshore in order to move all that nice profit up to the 1% while leaving the 99% with crumbs, that its kids didn’t deserve a future, that its working poor and most vulnerable should be tossed to the wolves since they were nothing but freeloaders and bums, has suddenly decided that they deserve better after all?
If so, then late being better than never, maybe prayers are in order. Prayers of thanks