After the rest is done and gone, we remain;
There is no final reliance but upon us;
Democracy rests finally upon us (I, my brethren, begin it,)
And our visions sweep through eternity -- Whitman
American voters finally had a chance Tuesday to confront the counterfeit loser who was allowed to remain in office after they voted in 2004. In this election voters had the opportunity to confront the legislators and representatives they sent to Washington to hold him accountable for his promises and his actions. Bush was given a chance to explain to the American people, once again, why, after five years, billions of dollars wasted, and thousands of American soldiers' lives lost, Osama bin-Laden and the rest of the individuals our government holds responsible for the 9-11 attacks have not yet been caught. All Bush could manage was a shrill attack against those who dared to criticize his diversion of the bulk of our nation's active defenses from the hunt' in Afghanistan to Iraq.
Americans have been held prisoner to the force-fed snippets from his 'fear and smear' campaign. They were the defensive, vicious rantings of a seemingly adolescent liar who had trashed his room and abused the toys he had demanded and was given by Congress. From Washington to Capitol Hill, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Bush has left a trail of destruction and waste; from his cynical evisceration of American's civil rights and liberties; to the wink-and-nod, U.S. subsidized proxy slaughter of Lebanese innocents by Israel; to his mindless flailing of our nation's soldiers against the Iraqis he claims to be liberating.
Bush has been on a spoiled rampage against Democrats and others who have tried to step in the way of his deliberate hijacking of our nation's democracy. He's lashed out at Americans who disagree with his blundering militarism in Iraq and elsewhere as "defeatists" who just want 'terrorists' to win whatever he imagines they want. Bush repeatedly stamped his foot at his permissive republican majority in Congress, and they dutifully provided more and more money and humanity for him to play army in Iraq, using our soldiers as fodder to burn in the new trenches surrounding his make-believe government in Baghdad. His republican guard encircled the White House with their paternal protectiveness and scolded away any and all who came forward to hold the Bush regime accountable by threatening to slough off their own bloody failures in an epic pout.
If Congress didn't give Bush his way and pass the Patriot Act he had initially blocked, he'd pretend his hands were tied, thus blaming his failure to act on those Senators and Representatives who were reluctant to do away with our citizens' civil rights and liberties to support his inept, warrantless fishing expeditions into Americans' e-mail and telephone conversations. If his paternal republican majority didn't let him have his way and exonerate him for approving the torture of prisoners held in secret CIA prisons and in Gitmo, Bush threatened to just stop interrogating them altogether. If his paternal Congress didn't let him have his way and vote for a modified version of the kangaroo tribunal that the Supremes had refused to allow, Bush would sit on the prisoners and blame opponents for the years which had passed without any successful prosecution of anyone determined responsible for orchestrating the September 11 attacks.
The American people fired a large number of Bush's republican surrogates Tuesday and replaced them with new guardians of our democracy. With their votes, Americans elected a new Democratic majority in both houses of Congress because they were fed up with being ignored by the adolescent liar, and they wanted the members to do their job and directly confront the Executive branch's abuses of authority. Although I think opposition to the Iraq occupation was just cover for many republicans to abandon Bush who had become even more loony than usual throughout this campaign, all of the name-calling, and all of the nonsense about Democrats supporting terrorists was more than voters could shoulder, and drove them to undo at the ballot box what many had done there in 2004.
It was, sadly, the deaths of our soldiers in Iraq and Bush's indifference to the killings, which caused many to look past his enabling republicans and seek out folks who promised to stop him and hold his administration to account for their bloody failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The depth and breadth of the Democratic wins is a measure of how much Americans blame Bush and the republicans for the over 2800 deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. That fact doesn't obscure from the other reasons voters made the choice for Democrats (like, abortion, stem cells, Social Security), but, it is the dominate theme of the frustration and anger which compelled them to the polls in record numbers for a mid-term election. Fact is that, ZERO of our Democrats lost their seat Tuesday. It was a remarkable feat which hadn't been repeated in the Congress since the late 30's.
Raving republican demagogues were ousted from their positions of contrived power, such as, Santorum and Allen in the Senate, and Jim Leach -- Nancy Johnson, and J.D. Hayworth in the House. Voters intend for those legislators they just sent to Congress to act against Bush's abuses where the republican surrogates refused; and to act in an intensity which matches their own frustration and anger. If they wanted lip service and hand-holding they would have kept to the status quo.
Nothing has gotten through to Bush. He's still completely unaffected by the deaths, by the chaos, by the anger from Americans toward his administration. He's not rolling over, he's playing dead. He's nothing but a menace; a proven delinquent. His new guardians need to, first, separate him from his criminal buddies by making it clear they will get whatever ass-kicking Bush is due. Ditching Rumsfeld was a good start, but nothing appears to have changed at the White House toward Iraq. We can't just let Bush 'punish' himself by dropping Rumsfeld. He needs to be directly confronted with the voters' demands to end the Iraq occupation. Allowing him to set the terms of his neo-culpa is a recipe for putting our party on the defensive, instead of asserting ourselves as the peoples' choice and standing firmly in Bush's way.
Appointing Robert 'Iran-Contra' Gates to replace Rumsfeld is nothing more than a game of musical deck chairs. Gates is neck deep in unanswered questions about his role in Ronald Reagan's trade of arms for hostages held by Iran. Gates was forced to withdraw his nomination for Director of the CIA in 1987, because of questions about his role. Gates, like Rumsfeld, has a roomful of unanswered questions surrounding his support of the Saddam Hussein regime in their military aggression against Iran. Gates has been identified with a U.S. covert operation in the 1980s which provided crucial satellite information to Saddam in his Iraq/Iran.
More importantly, as Gates has said in the past, he has no intention pulling our soldiers out of Iraq. "For better or for worse, we have cast our lot and we need to stay there as long as necessary to get the job done," Gates said May 9, 2005, during a lecture series hosted by Leon Panetta. Yet, "getting the job done" is not the reason voters sent Democrats to Congress to sit in place of republicans in the majority. In every poll taken during the campaign, a majority of voters indicated that they didn't believe Bush's repeated claims in the campaign that Iraq was somehow connected to his manufactured 'war on terror'; just because, "bin-Laden told him so." They didn't believe Bush's claims that our country is safer since the removal of Saddam. They don't believe in fighting them over there.
Bush finally stepped out after the election to explain himself and his party to the press and to the public. He stepped into the roomful of reporters - perfectly willing to ramble and preach, less willing to bear up to a true accounting of his own behavior - and all Bush could manage in the way of explaining himself was a hollow dissembling about why he lost his parental majority; and his seemingly improbable vow in the face of his republican's utter defeat on the question, to stay the course to some 'victory' in Iraq. Bush has no intention at all in cleaning up the mess and chaos he's causing with his continued occupation of Iraq, and he has no intention at all to listen to the 'will' of Congress anymore when their settled legislation comes to his desk for him to sign.
There should be NO negotiations with Bush on HIS own terms. We have the mandate of the American voter behind us. We need to use the election energy NOW, before Bush has a chance to redefine the terms of the opposition and weasel out of responding to the will of the people. His new guardians have to understand that Bush needs constant supervision and should already be confined to his room for past abuses of power and authority. But, Bush needs to clean up his messes. He won't do anything if we walk away and leave him to it.
If he can't, or won't clean up after himself, our new Congress should clean house for him. He should be careful that he doesn't get swept away by our our party's new brooms. Everyone knows that new brooms sweep clean.