Nov 10, 2006

A Justified Case of Schadenfreude--And it's Guilty-Free!

What to do next?

Schadenfreude means pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune, and I have to admit this week (after the election on Tuesday) I'm full of such guilty-free pleasure. Well, now we know that there's been a backlash against Bush's policies and the Republican majorities that enabled the "decider." Obviously everybody tries to assign specific meaning to the outcome of this election, and there are a few interesting trends, but this election is far from being a historic national re-alignment--that is, not yet; it will depend on what happens next. It seems to be, though, a re-affirmation that the Northeast and the west coast are indeed very blue. The old South is the remaining bastion of conservatism and we see that the winner can achieve governing national majorities without having a majority of the South's delegation. This, perhaps, will free the Dems to push a more progressive agenda without having to pay homage to a conservative ideology and the politics of the South. The progressive states can lead the way and show the rest of the nation that there's much to be gained by being a cosmopolitan and tolerant society.

President Bush is the biggest loser today, and I'm glad to see that his frat-boy mentality, his stubbornness to recognize reality, and his presiding over a disastrous incompetence were defeated at the polls. His name was not on the ballot, but his policies were. I'm not convinced that the Democratic alternative would have fared as well if the Republicans had been more competent. For example, had the Iraq war--a
wrong war of choice, and a bad foreign policy choice--been conducted with a degree of competence, I dare to guess that Americans would be supporting it today. This is a great opportunity for the Democrats and the progressives to steer the country forward, but only if they exhibit good government skills and make the sweep in 2008. As Paul Krugman said, we could see the end of "the movement of conservatism--the potent alliance of wealthy individuals, corporate interests and the religious right."

The new Democratic leadership will have to run Congress in a more democratic way--giving more rights that the Republicans never considered giving the minority, because the GOP never accepted the legitimacy of the opposition.
After Bush "won" in 2000, he talked about a mandate; same with the GOP that swept Congress in 1994. In 2004, Bush won by 2% and claimed imperial powers; Congress went along with it. The Dems won by larger margins this year, but they should not repeat the arrogance of the Republicans and of the lunatic fringe that had captured power. Solidifying the Democratic gains in 2008 [a very good prospect] will help our country and the GOP in the long run for this will force the Republicans to re-examine the efficacy of their divisive politics and may lead to a resurgence of the moderate Republicans--the most endangered political species in the last 12 years.

President Bush has lots of power--as any president does--but the most important power a chief executive has is the power to convince! The sitting president seems more and more as a sitting duck that even Dick Cheney can hit. This president has not done good for us, for the world. He wasted the opportunity of the century to make the US a true leading force for positive change in the world--a change that enhances the quality of life when it matters--by improving the human condition and reducing violence.

We liberals & progressives see the world as a marketplace of ideas, of individual freedoms, that representative government has a role to play in protecting the commonwealth, and that the culture of life means policies that giving people opportunities to realize their own potential.
President Bush wasted the world's good will toward us after 9-11 and in turn he managed to divide our friends and unite our enemies. Inadvertently, his failures gave the Dems the chance to govern.

This century is still young but we Americans have to show more maturity in selecting our own leaders
and hold them accountable. In a country were there's too much political indifference, those of us who accept the responsibility of political activism and civic engagement have an important role to play: keep our representative government accountable, improve & contribute to the political dialogue, and be the change we want to see!


Samantha said...

I know I'm guilty myself of Schadenfreude! But, it feels good. I say, resist temptation unless you can't resist!

We didn't have a significant victory since 1996--when Clinton was re-elected with a Republican Congress. It's been a while, right?

But, you're right, we need to make sure Bush & Co doesn't happen again. What a disaster. History will put him down as the worst president ever.

Anderson said...

It's up to the Dems to show they are different that the GOPers and they deserve to be in charge.

I know BUsh holds veto power, but he's a lame duck. I doubt he can accept reality, but the Dems have to push decent and needed legislation. If he vetos it, then the Dems will have a stronger case to elect a Dem prez in 2008.

neri said...

still, only a small segment bothered to vote and turn the country around... it's pathetic!

Kelly said...

Most talking heads spoke of conservative Dems winning and therefore the Dems should not move to the left.... What a bunch of baloney...

Most of the Dem winners are pro-choice, for increasing the min. wage, fairer tax policy, withdrawing from Iraq, tolerance, stem cell research, and, and, and....

I'm not going to oversimplify but conservatism as it was practiced in the last 12 years is not successful, nor good for our country! Like Andros says, hopefully, the GOP will marginalize the lunatic fringe... and present a reasonable party that accepts the known knowns! Like, science, tolerance, and progress.

The future politics should be about who's the best person to do the job, not based on stupid bumper-sticker campaigns.

trudy said...

I also don't know if this is a political re-alignment, but watching Lieberman on MTP today, I want to disagree with him. What a f&kin pumpkin head. What part of the repudiation of current policy doesn't he get?

Not one sitting Dem lost!!!!! Just a few months ago, we weren't sure that the Dems would pick the needed 15 seats in the House to take control... never mind the Senate that was out of reach.

Today, some 30 seats flipped in the House and 6 in the Senate!!!!!

We need more Lamonts and true Dems! No more Repubs-lite!

Anne said...

If the Repugs keep this up, they'll sink lower. Let the bloodletting begin...

[click on the link... it's about whether the GOV should negotiate lower prices for drugs]

Vera said...

I think John Aravosis makes a similar point in his post about Americans being clueless...

I agree with both of you guys, it's pathetic to have this kind of apathy, cluelessness, and stupidity in 21st century American politics.

yes, we progressives can't give up... and, now it's a very critical time to set our country towards the future

Vera (again) said...

sorry, I forgot to include Americablog link on being ..clueless

Robin said...

Watch the Dems fall into a trap soon... Baker is looking for Dems to sign his assessment and plan on Iraq. I hope the Dems don't fall for this and sign this document.

John in DC makes a great point on his blog about this trap. Baker seems to tell the White House only as much as the WH is willing to accept! Not an honest evaluation, but another botched report, like the ones the WH wanted to see before the war!

The Dems should come up with their own assessment and plan, and let the other follow if they like.

We cannot own ANY part of this Iraq disaster.

Uvald said...

Yes, and if Baker was honest and sincere and really wanting the best solution asap, he should have presented his evaluation paper BEFORE the election!

The rest is a pile of crap in my view.

The Dems should say that this administration has been incompetent from day 1, and there's no confidence it can implement any plan on its own.

Listen to this... Baker can't be totally honest with the White House because BushCo won't accept it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Puleeeeez, enough BS already.