By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
Here are alternative news stories about the midterm election results. Since you might be reading this article on November 7, see which version you’d like to see come true and then gear your action accordingly. You may have time to make some last-minute phone calls, contact your friends and neighbors, ring some doorbells, drive some folks to the polls, help get the word out about Rove’s dirty “robocalling” campaign (calling Democratic voters again and again and again on automatic redial with messages supposedly from the Democratic Party, just to get them so annoyed and angry that they would react by not voting for Dem candidates), etc. etc. — B.W.
Story #1: Democrats Sweep Big
(Associated Press) November 8, 2006, Washington, D.C. — In a huge midterm-election victory, Democrats last night swept out Republican incumbents to take control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Given the pro-GOP gerrymandering of election districts, the Democratic victory would appear to be less a landslide than a huge tsunami.
“Clearly,” said pollster Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, “this election was a referendum on the Bush/Cheney Administration and whether they should be given another two years of uncontested rule. The voters have spoken loudly that they prefer a divided-government, a checks-and-balances system where the executive no longer has full control of all the levers of power. Putting Democrats in charge of the House and Senate accomplishes this aim.”
In addition, said Kohut, exit-polls and his organization’s own research indicates that “the single most important issue motivating the electorate to dump so many Republicans was the blind support GOP incumbents gave to Bush’s Iraq policy. The mood of the country is, and has been for some time now, that Bush made a bad mistake taking the country to war on false premises, that he has no real plan for extricating our troops, and that the Republicans did not exercise any real oversight of his actions. Voters are expressing hope that the Democrats might be better able to get our troops out of there and back home.”
Nancy Pelosi, who is primed to become the new Speaker of the House in January, said: “The American people have indicated, in no uncertain terms, that they want to change the way things are done in Washington, and we are ready to bring fresh policies and approaches to the legislative process. We will do this with regard to the war in Iraq, education reforms, affordable health-care, and budgetary restraint; we also vow to work to restore the Constitutional protections of our civil liberties that have been so mangled by the Bush Administration over the past six years.”
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined in: “The tactics of fear, slime and dirty tricks no longer work. The American people have wised up to these guys. Their arrogance and authoritarian tactics have been thoroughly rejected. We vow to take our country back to rational and civil behavior, even as we confront our opponents politically.”
Karl Rove, the architect of the GOP election strategy, vowed to fight on for “true conservative values” when the new Congress is sworn-in in late-January. Rove said the Republican Party will challenge the announced results of numerous tight races, so that many of the Democratic winners cannot be certified; the current membership of the House, dominated by the Republicans, therefore will still be in charge to seat the “true winners,” Rove said.
“Additionally,” said Rove, “I remind Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that the President still controls the agenda in this town, the use of our miltiary forces abroad, the right and duty to put people in jail who by their dissent clearly are helping the terrorists. We expect that the Democrat leaders will want to work with that reality rather than to continue their campaign of partisan vendettas and personal destruction.”
But veteran political analyst Norman Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute, had a different point of view. “Prior to November 7, Bush was showing signs of being a lame-duck president, weakened and often unable to control all his own troops, military or civilian. Now he is a lame-duck with barely one wing.
“His administration is indeed still to be reckoned with, but the momentum now shifts to Congress, and the Democrats will let him know that shortly. Bush can still use his veto pen, but the days of his forcing his bills through Congress are effectively over. He either learns to compromise and share power with Congress, or he will have no chance to secure a positive legacy for his administration. But you never know what Cheney and Rove will come up with; maybe they’ll continue defying Congress, and Bush will issue more ‘signing statements’ saying he won’t necessarily obey the laws they pass. In short, a constitutional crisis that could be, and should be, avoided.”
Ornstein said the GOP lost so badly because “so many traditional and moderate conservatives withdrew their approval from the radicals” that had taken over the Republican Party in the past six years. “The more traditional Republicans found the CheneyBush types simply too extreme, too prone to military adventurism abroad, too incompent in Iraq and post-Katrina, too ‘big-government’ in terms of spending and violating privacy. These old-fashioned Republicans wanted to send a message to their party leaders to try a different direction and get back to the old GOP values of small government, fiscal restraint, and caution in overseas military adventures.”
Story#2: Republicans Win a Sqeaker
(Associated Press) November 8, 2006, Washington, D.C. — The Republicans today eked out bare-majorities in both the House and the Senate to hang on to control of the Congress and give the Bush Administration a much-needed victory jolt for its final two years in office.
Democrats said that they would challenge about a dozen of those apparent victories in tight races, claiming electoral manipulation of vote totals and blatant voter suppression of minority voters in key election battles.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said: “In those races, the final election polls were in favor of the Democratic candidates by four points or more, and the exit polls revealed clear Democratic victories of about 4%. But at the last minute, during the vote tabulation process, it appears that numbers were manipulated in the vote-counting computers, and suddenly the Republican candidates emerged with a 2 or 3% majority. These 6- or 7-point switches, all in favor of Republicans, defies statistical and political logic. In all of those twelve races, conducted on touchscreen Diebold machines, there were no verified paper receipts that would make an honest re-count possible.”
“We will sue in court to overturn those clearly fraudulent results” said Pelosi, “plus the egregious voter-suppression efforts that kept tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of likely Democratic voters from casting their ballots. Many were purged from the rolls in advance, and many were negatively influenced from voting by the GOP’s last-minute ‘robocalling’ campaign.”
Vice President Cheney mocked Pelosi and other Democratic leaders as “sore losers.”
“We won by doing what we’ve always done,” said Cheney. “They just don’t like it. In spite of all this talk about a supposed ‘landslide’ mood across the country for the Democrat candidates, when it came down to actually casting votes, our base held fast and we emerged victorious. The Democrats get another bite of the apple in 2008, but for now they should stop their loud whining and just lie back and accept their fate.”
President Bush, addressing a GOP victory party at the White House, said: “Our new mandate will be used wisely, to achieve victory in Iraq, to bring Iran to its knees unless it stops enriching uranium, and to tighten our laws to make it easier to go after terrorists and those who support them, whether American citizens or not. We’re in charge here, and, while of course our citizens are free to express their minds, we will tolerate no unpatriotic dissent in this time of war.”
Bush used the speech also to announce that Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsberg have agreed to retire — “for their personal health,” said the President — and that he will appoint Law Professors John Yoo and Douglas Kmiec to fill those two High Court slots.
Yoo, now teaching at UC-Berkeley, was the key Justice Department lawyer who provided the rationale justifying torture of terrorist suspects and for Bush being able to violate laws when he’s acting as “commander in chief” during “wartime.” Kmiec is a law professor at Pepperdine University, who often offers legal opinions on network television in support of Bush policies.
“With Kmiec and Yoo in place,” said Bush, “Americans can rest assured that abortion will be outlawed, our ‘unitary executive’ position will be validated, and now we can get on with our agenda without constantly having to be looking over our shoulder. It’s full speed ahead.”
In a separate development, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that the Administration would be building a metal, electrified, 20-foot-high fence all along the Canadian border, “to make sure that those malcontents opposing our policies will not have free and open access to routes of escape to our northern neighbor. If they persist in their illegal dissent by questioning our anti-terrorism policies, they will find themselves in the re-education camps currently being readied by FEMA.” #
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has written many satires and fantasias about the nation’s politicians ( http://www.crisispapers.org/weinerpubs.htm ). He has taught at universities in Washington and California, worked as a writer/editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org). To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org .
First published by The Crisis Papers and Democratic Underground 11/7/06.