What a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday I began my day confident that John Kerry would win a decisive victory. This week I am told by the grand poo-bahs that Bush voters go to church more often than Kerry voters.
We are told that "moral issues" decided this race and that mantra is repeated ad nauseum on talk shows. Nonsense. One exit poll and we are to believe that global warming, pollution of our lakes and streams, 100,000 deaths in Iraq, 1,120 dead soldiers, 45 million uninsured Americans are less important than gay marriage, stem cell research and the number of days we attend church?
Sorry, I don't believe it for a minute. This spin would be laughable but for the fact that the corporate media has swallowed this Rovism hook, line and sinker.
There is, of course, a real question that the media should be addressing: Did Sen. John Kerry win Ohio, Florida and New Mexico or was it mere coincidence that all exit polls showed President Bush losing those states? I honestly don't know the answer, but we should find out if cheating occurred. And we should plan for the future.
No private firm such as the clearly partisan Ohio company Diebold should be involved in our election process and there should be a paper record of all votes. Bush might have stolen the election but even if it could be proven, Bush would again be elected by five justices of the Supreme Court. So let's do a thorough investigation of the election process so we know what to do in four years.
If the FBI got called in when some Republican tires were slashed in Milwaukee, might they take a look at claims the Florida voting machines were hacked? We need national standards for voting. Period. Are we one country or thousands of voting fiefdoms ruled by partisan hacks like the Ohio secretary of state?
Did Bush get a mandate? Doesn't matter. Bush didn't have a mandate four years ago and he invaded Iraq, rejected Kyoto, reduced taxes on the rich, and created the largest deficit in history. Mandate? Conservative leader Richard Viguerie thinks so.
Viguerie, one of the prime movers on the Republican right, says it is time for the conservative revolution and his folks are in charge. A better question is whether Sens. Russ Feingold, Herb Kohl, John Kerry and the other Democrats are willing to go to the mat to stop right-wing ideologues from being confirmed. Will they filibuster an invasion of Iran? Will they frame the issues or pose for pictures with the president and the bishops? The Senate Democrats will determine if there is a two-party system or a ruling majority and a "me-too" party.
If the first four years are any indication, the following changes are predictable with the Viguerie mandate:
Public Radio and PBS: Option one: Bush will cut their funding substantially to drive them even further into the arms of Wal-Mart and ADM. Option two: He will eliminate NPR and PBS. Option three: He will adopt a less visible attack by further stacking the governing boards with nuts who think Tucker Carlson is a journalist and Frontline is a communist plot. Bush and Vice President Cheney won't pause for a moment. They will silence this potential critic through fear or elimination.
Social Security: If you missed the Suskind article on Bush, go to www.FightingBob.com and check the documents button for this must-read. One of Bush's pre-election promises on Social Security is to privatize this safety net. And at his post-election news conference, W said he was ready to take on "entitlements." When they took on "entitlements" before, it was the poor on welfare but now it will be your middle-class parents on Social Security and Medicare. Entitlements? No, part of our social compact, but look out.
Vouchers: As they roll back Brown vs. Board of Education and return to Plessy's holding that separate can be equal, Bush and Cheney will push hard for voucher schools. It is called privatization of public education. They will continue the no-child-left-behind testing to prove the need for "better" private schools.
Now if all that does not scare you, just accept the idea that the Bush court will criminalize abortion, limit the right to counsel, approve our disgraceful conduct at Guantanamo, eliminate the role of states in siting power lines, erase the separation of church and state, and repeal the Clean Air and Water acts.
The bogeyman has arrived. No more warnings. The good news? Thousands of young people got involved in politics for the first time. Fifty-five million people overcame the media propaganda and voted for Kerry. Here in Dane County only the towns of Bristol and Vienna voted for Bush. Hell, even Maple Bluff went for Kerry, 535 to 485.
Toughest question heard everywhere: "Are you ready to give up?" Answer: "Hell no. The stakes are too high. Stop moaning and start organizing."
Madison attorney Ed Garvey, the 1998 Democratic nominee for governor, writes a regular column for The Capital Times.
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