Published on Saturday, November 11, 2006 by the Waco Tribune-Herald (Texas)
Believe it; Brutal Referenda on War, Corruption, 'Moral Agenda'
by John Young
WACO, Texas — It turns out that for gauging the will of the people, the lady in the ditch had a better view than the man at the ranch.
A lot of savvy analysts and political gurus were interviewed on Election Night. The analyst who got no face time but deserved the most was Cindy Sheehan.
See how decisively voters echo a wind-tossed pariah mourning in a blistering sun.
Meanwhile, one day post-election, the man who turned the Department of Defense into the Department of World Restructuring and Nation-Building is looking for a new job. I hear the contracting business is good in Iraq.
Of course, all Donald Rumsfeld did was drive the limo to where we are today. Someone else gave directions.
So now we try and figure out how to alter the course. We frame an exit strategy that doesn't sound like one. You can say that about a lot of course corrections required in Washington now:
'Draining the Swamp'
Nancy Pelosi's phrase couldn't be more apt. Take Iraq out of the picture entirely, and the GOP still would have lost the House.
The magic number for Democrats was 15 seats. Last week, The Washington Post had a devastating piece showing 15 GOP seats in jeopardy because of scandal and corruption. That included Tom DeLay's.
You could have a three-day seminar on all the ways the now-indicted ex-majority leader brought down his own fiefdom, from A (for Abramoff) to Z (zero-sum games of redistricting Texas).
The greatest irony: The man now with DeLay's seat, once-ousted Democrat Nick Lampson, won it in part at the pleasure of DeLay's pen. When lines were redrawn in 2003, DeLay drew part of Lampson's old district in with his. Who'd have known 'ol Tom had drawn a district for a Democrat?
Reportedly at about 11:45 p.m., it was Karl Rove who broke the news to the president that the House was lost. What? Doesn't the man get Fox News? Rove really should have sent a courier. Last week, a lot of people were putting stock in Rove's boast that the projections were wrong: The GOP would hold onto both houses. Now maybe everyone can start ignoring Karl Rove. And I mean now. And I mean everyone.
Now we must wonder if Republican leaders in Congress thought they might have spent their time better than blocking off a day to debate an anti-flag-burning amendment to the U.S. Constitution or fashioning a court-stripping bill to protect the phrasing of the Pledge of Allegiance. What they encountered in sum Tuesday was an electorate that is not enthralled by these reindeer games.
We also were reminded in South Dakota that a lot of Republicans may oppose abortion but want government to tread lightly. A state ban that anti-choice forces hoped would draw the U.S. Supreme Court into the fray was defeated by voters in one of the nation's reddest red states.
Go ahead and intone about "partial-birth abortion." If you do, we know what your intentions for government are. They start even before the egg and sperm fuse, at the sex act you still wish government could control.
For policymakers who think we can win hearts and minds by rolling tanks, or who believe elections are divine mandates to intrude into personal lives, strategic redeployment calls.
John Young is opinion editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Copyright 2006 Waco Tribune-Herald