What’s That You’re Waving?

Newt Gingrich took to the airwaves today to announce what all of the beltway elite have been talking about with dreary repetitiveness for months….  2010 is going to be a “wave” election that sweeps Republicans back into power, whereupon the regrettable accident of Democratic government will be well and truly set aside for good. Michele Bachmann, Rudy Giuliani, Bill Kristol,  Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sharron Angle, J.D.Hayworth and Sean Hannity all agree.  Isn’t that reason enough to think the wave-o-meter might be a bit off?  After all, these worthies had basically achieved everything they ever wanted: militarization, rollbacks of civil liberties and due process, massive deregulation, the tax burden shifted downward…  You name it, they got it, and look how that turned out.  You’d think this bunch would be embarrassed to go on TV offering more of the same, much less run for office on a BUSH4EVAR platform , given the entirely predictable disasters the Worst President in American History created for us over eight years, but you’d be wrong.

Just as Reagan taught the Republicans that (their) deficits “don’t matter,” Bush taught us, repeatedly, that failure also doesn’t matter.  Granted, you might need to start a well-timed war, capitalize on a terrorist attack you failed to prevent, get a leg up from the Supreme Court, work the US Attorneys into doing some voter supression and whatnot, but getting 50% + 1, as Tom Delay liked to call it, simply does not constitute a wave.  (Why Republican would even use the word “wave” is yet another mystery:  all the waves I see these days have oil in them…)  It’s official: Republicans have finally untethered performance from electoral success, but have American voters, really?

No one ever went down to defeat betting against the amnesia of the media, but a large number of Americans do remember what happened last week, last month, or even ten years ago, and to them Michele Bachmann’s vengeful rantings about taking down a Democratic President by taking back the House sound both deranged and drearily familiar.  The Temper Tantrum Party of the Gingrich years is clawing to get back to do the same old thing, and “Independents” are supposed to find such a prospect appealing and vote for them in record numbers.  There are reasons to doubt this.

Remember, Bush’s squeaker elections were not only shakily achieved, they were also deliberately deceptive: he didn’t come out and say he was going to bankrupt the country, start and lose a war or two, get rid of Social Security, and all that.  He was a “Compassionate Conservative” who would follow a “humble” foreign policy, and “give back the surplus” to taxpaying Americans.  In short, he had the good sense to lie.  Not so the Teabag-Americans of 2010.  Even as Michele Bachmann promises her investigations, Sen John Kyl announces that thirty billion for the unemployed would have to be scrapped to pay for $700 billion for the rich, and George Steinbrenner dies and leaves his multibillion dollar estate untaxed.  In other words, several more lies of the Bush Administration are exploding before our eyes, mainly the budget trickery that led to the sudden “expiration” of his ruinous tax cuts on the wealthy, and Republicans think they can make lemonade out of these lemons.  Good luck with that.

At least Sharron Angle has gotten with the program, and now denies that she ever said people needed to be “weaned” off Social Security, which of course is a lie, but at least a smart one.  Rand Paul just stopped talking altogether, and here in Oregon, free-throw champ Chris Dudley even ducked out of the traditional meeting with state newspaper publishers for a well-timed “family vacation” that happened to include a speech at the Republican Governor’s Association, in which he aspires to be a member.  Sarah Palin, whose half term compares favorably with Dudley’s none has gone ahead and, you know, while Marco Rubio has started a war with Rachel Maddow.  Is any of this wave-riding behavior?  Deliberate vagueness about governing priorities as an announced and obviously observed campaign strategy, of course, is the same tacit admission of unpopularity Republicans adopted long ago, since kleptocratic oligarchy has never polled too well, but this time it seems that the cat has even gotten Frank Luntz’s tongue.  When they aren’t lying, Republicans are simply clamming up, hoping to just ride the “wave” of their own fantasies back to the glory days of George W. Bush and Tom DeLay.  ”Cowabunga,” says the media.  I’m not so sure.


    • avelna says:

      “the UN inspectors were still doing their job, as were those of the International Atomic Energy Agency”
      I’m continually amazed that this little teensy bit of information is so rarely mentioned when discussing the Iraqi war. Perhaps I’ve got blinders but it seems to me that this merits more attention when we’re speaking of the illegality of the war.

  1. cocktailhag says:

    Oops. They did it again.

  2. The Heel says:

    as always your sharp mind, well informed opinion and mastering of the English language is impressive.
    When I read Friedman’s column this morning, I shook my head in sadness and had to conclude that Dems don’t deserve to govern. They really are unfit for the job. Give them the majority in both houses and the white house and they still can’t achieve anything of substance. So today I learned “we” quit on an energy/carbon tax bill. Wow. I guess the Pussy-Dems will never learn the lesson.
    What a great opportunity to paint the Reps as unpatriotic and supporters of terrorist states! Press hard for an overly strong flavored energy bill (America’s energy independence …bla..bla…), so strong that you know this won’t ever go through and when you are “defeated” in the houses, paint the others as unpatriotic and THEN compromise. Don’t just capitulate from the get go!

    So where does that leave us? One thought is that another 8 years of Rep Destruction of America will bring the suffering up to a level were real change must occur. I am just not sure it works that way.

    Another “hope” may lay in strong independent candidates. Can Bill Gates or somebody unbribable (one should think) like him, please come forward?

    • cocktailhag says:

      I didn’t read the NYT today, except for Frank Rich and Adam Liptak, which must be why I’m not too queasy despite a rather bad hangover. I’ve been meaning to write about the “success” of the global warming denialist movement, but the topic is too depressing for humor. Likewise Liptak’s bland recitation of the undeniable fact that we now have a Supreme Court so far right it no longer matters who we vote for.

      • The Heel says:

        If you are in the mood for sad satire, read Douthat in the NYT this morning.
        Here my favorite excerpts:

        (when talking about the arguments of the climate change deniers)

        “Their perspective is grounded, in part, on the assumption that a warmer world will also be a richer world — and that economic development is likely to do more for the wretched of the earth than a growth-slowing regulatory regime”

        (and ending with the brilliant conclusion)

        “Not every danger has a regulatory solution, and sometimes it makes sense to wait, get richer, and then try to muddle through”

        I am telling you. Those righties are on to something. Let’s all die rich, if muddling through proves to muddy….

    • cocktailhag says:

      As we’ve noticed, those boring old wars aren’t as fun and newsy as they used to be, so what we need is a freshy. That’s sort of logic is what I call Bipartisan and Serious, dang it.

  3. No one ever went down to defeat betting against the amnesia of the media, but a large number of Americans do remember what happened last week, last month, or even ten years ago,

    Your optimism is refreshing; don’t ever change.

    I agree with your point about what the election of Bush in 00 actually meant about the electorate. Bush sold himself as a liberal who would cut taxes and hunt down abortion-seeking women. If anything, the reconstruction of conservatism as inherently peaceful and tolerant was a nod to the success of Democratic strategies over the past decade.

    • cocktailhag says:

      That, and it was also an answer to relentless Republican negativity and whining that so sickened America during the Clinton years. Call me crazy, but they sound too much like sore losers to end up winners. Democrats will lose seats, alright, but their majorities? Republicans have about $5 to spend, and more crazy candidates than ever. Republicans will do Democrats a favor by sending Blanche Lincoln into retirement, and keeping Harry Reid in office is pretty much a toss, but will nonetheless strike the right psychological blow.
      We’ll see. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have a memory, and Republican overconfidence right now reminds me more of 1998 than 1994.

  4. michlib says:

    There is no more visible signal of this than the stealth campaigns Repukes have to run these days – a la Scott Brown. Vague commercials with canned appeals to ” family values “, character, and the norm seems to be deep aversion to identifying oneself as Republican , as that brand a handicap – so there is tacit recognition by the party that subterfuge trumps honesty.
    I love Chris Dudley’s commercials – generalities, life stories – and not one nanosecond of “Republican”, either spoken or in print.