The voters’ revenge

By Craige McMillan

For the first time in many an electoral moon, we’ve had a real election horse race to follow on election evening. Voter News Service swallowed its own hype and disgorged its computer algorithms all over the networks’ smug projections. At heart, each of us hates being considered predictable, because it implies that we may be safely taken for granted. We especially dislike our propensity to predictability when it is taken for granted by those who promise to serve our interests and be our voice in that alien land known as Washington, D.C.

As I write this column late on Election Day evening, we do not yet know which party controls the U.S. Senate. But I am grateful beyond measure that – for all its flaws – our election process can be trusted to answer that question even after I finally turn off the television news and go to sleep. Still, the final race may yet hinge on an election runoff in Louisiana, where the candidates and parties can spend money to their hearts’ content, grandfathered out of any soft money restrictions. Surely this would be a sight to behold, and Christmas may well have come early for the television, radio and print media in that state.

Broadly speaking it does not look good for the Democrats. Loudly and often they told us that they would not only hold control of the Senate, but regain the House of Representatives as well. They even called out their big guns: the Clintons and Al “count-every-vote” Gore. Surveying their carnage, their big guns tonight look more like loose cannons.

I think there are two issues that cost the Democrats dearly. First, the public failed to blame the newly elected Republican president for the nation’s economic problems. The voting public correctly understood that the problems had emerged under a Democratic president who took ongoing and indecent liberties with the truth, and emboldened a corporate culture already inclined to do the same. “I did not have relations with that accounting ledger, and what is the meaning of earnings, anyway?” Voters saw a Democratic party that had backed a Democratic president in creating the social and economic culture leading to this financial house of cards.

Our 401Ks pale in comparison to the terrorist threat – which is the real key to the Democrats’ problem. And it’s a problem that is far from over. In fact, it’s only going to get worse. Many Democratic representatives and senators supported the president’s efforts as commander in chief in the war against terror, but voters sensed that their hearts just weren’t in it. The American public, better than its “leaders,” knows that we are in for a long fight on this one. We aren’t going to have world support or United Nations cover for what will have to be done. One does not choose for an army’s commanders those who are undecided about whether or not the battle should be fought in the first place. One chooses as leaders those who promise a quick end to the enemy’s murderous incursions onto home soil.

Democrats, however, do not yet understand this. They will probably tilt even more visibly to the left and widen their losses in the next election before they figure out that Americans dislike losing wars, or that we have no desire to live with crazed Islamic-style homicide bombers on every street corner, or sniper-jihadists living in cars and picking off loved ones while demanding payment from the public purse. The American public – especially the voting public – understands very well that many Democrats believe America is somehow responsible for its enemies’ murderous rage, and they don’t trust such people to govern during a time of war.

It was, I suspect for many, a reluctant but unavoidable vote. Self-preservation will do that to you. Today’s Democrats share nothing but a hollowed-out, shell-of-a-name with the party that led this nation – and the world – to victory over evil in World War II. Democrats should be ashamed of what they have become, and that they have deprived America of any other choice.