November 22, 2006

Stress Management For The Holidays

Last year, on the day before Thanksgiving, I posted some advice for those folks who have to face a holiday feast among the politically diverse. What follows is a reprint of that post (with a post-election update):

The Elephant In The Room
November 23, 2005

Or "Being Surrounded By Donkeys On Thanksgiving".

Many of us who are Conservatives and/or Republicans and live in "Blue States" will be going to visit relatives tomorrow. And many of us will come into contact with relatives who are Liberals and/or Democrats openly hostile to President Bush, the war or the GOP in general. more...

Posted by: Gary at 09:45 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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November 10, 2006

Role Reversal

Now is the time for Shadenfreude for the Democrats.

They fought hard, they won. They've earned it. In fact, it really doesn't bother me at all. Because I fully expect it to last for a while. The only segment of gloating that will annoy me is Hollywood, because they will do everything they can to take credit for Tuesday. It's what they do. Because in the little bubbles that they live in, it's all about them.

But after the champagne bottles are empty and the confetti is swept up, Democrats need to face some reality. Charles Krauthammer explains:

This is not realignment. As has been the case for decades, American politics continues to be fought between the 40-yard lines. The Europeans fight goal line to goal line, from socialist left to the ultranationalist right. On the American political spectrum, these extremes are negligible. American elections are fought on much narrower ideological grounds. In this election, the Democrats carried the ball from their own 45-yard line to the Republican 45-yard line.

The fact that the Democrats crossed midfield does not make this election a great anti-conservative swing. Republican losses included a massacre of moderate Republicans in the Northeast and Midwest. And Democratic gains included the addition of many conservative Democrats, brilliantly recruited by Rep. Rahm Emanuel with classic Clintonian triangulation. Hence Heath Shuler of North Carolina, anti-abortion, pro-gun, anti-tax — and now a Democratic congressman.

The result is that both parties have moved to the right. The Republicans have shed the last vestiges of their centrist past, the Rockefeller Republican. And the Democrats have widened their tent to bring in a new crop of blue-dog conservatives.

That's right. They've been given an opportunity to do something that the GOP had been able to do for a while, but ultimately failed to maintain: form a coalition.

This isn't a point of view held only by Conservatives. MSNBC concurs:

The exit polling data indicates that much of their election edge came from independents and swing voters who could very well swing back again if they’re disappointed by Democratic policies.
The way they do this is to comprehend what it means to be a big tent: agreeing that differing opinions are welcome and respected. Even Eleanor Clift sees the weakness of this majority:
This is not a majority made from cookie-cutter liberals. These are men and women winning in districts that were drawn for Republicans. Some are pro-life, some pro-gun, some sound so Republican they might be in the other party if it weren’t for President Bush and the Iraq war. It will take all of Pelosi’s skills as a manager and disciplinarian to forge a coalition out of these philosophical disparities.
But the Angry Left is basking in the glow of victory and they're feeling their oats. You would think that winning would have a cathartic effect on their pent up rage, but there are many examples of how this anger seems to have come out in full force. Jonah Goldberg at NRO got some lovely emails this morning:
A few examples of the more tasteful and mature ones (seriously):

Bush should be dragged out of the White House by the ear and horsewhipped on the South Lawn. We could see if he’s take a little Texas justice. Of course, the voters did that, figuratively, on Tuesday.

And:

This might work, if Georgie wasn't a big pussy. Just like you, Limbaugh and Hannity. All giant pussies who would run away from a real fight in a second but love to spew the tough talk. Grow up all ready and be a real man. You and Georgie need to quit talking tough and playing dress-up.

Or:

Alright Rambo. That was some funny stuff. You're a real man. If you need someone to show you how to shoot that gun....What a maroon.....

Or:

You have hit on something very important, crucial in fact to the current political climate, but well beyond the understanding of the MSM: President Bush is the definition of an "uninitiated male."

What you say is absolutely correct: He needed to kill that bear and throw the pelt not at Helen Thomas but at the feet of his own father. He needed to do it at age 12 or 13.

If you want to see this in action go to any schoolyard and find the bully. He will be the one who mistakes the infliction of pain with the possession of power.

Instead (like millions of other guys) President Bush attempted to initiate himself into manhood by coasting through college drunk and f*****g off. His one shot to have manhood initiated upon him was undone when he went AWOL. With no real sense of masculinity other than one created by pop culture and exploited by his advisors, President Bush became a fake cowboy, even taking the charade all the way to Texas. (The fake cowboy thing is a favorite of uninitiated men; George Allen has the same problem, and for the same reasons: bigshot daddy who didnt help junior kill the bear and insist he eat the heart).

Surounded by people who reinforced this hollow simulation of manhood for their own purposes, President Bush has been permitted to act out of an equally hollow sense of himself. Hence the eternal smirk, the condescension, the dramatic pronouncements that ring so empty ("the evil-doers," "I'm the decider," etc.) True men — not macho cliches — who by force of will or by sheer accident have managed to kill some kind of bear or another, rarely if ever have to speak in such bombastic terms. Young men who are never initiated into Manhood always struggle with an unbalanced relationship to society and to themselves. Too often the result is hobbled careers, toxic relationships, and unfulfilled expectations. And if an uninitiated man is really unlucky, he gets US stuck in Iraq.

Have a nice day.

Nice, huh? Quotes like these are not indicative of the kind of maturity that this country needs.

Democrats have said that problems need to be fixed. Fair enough. But their first order of business is fix their problem - a schism between two factions. One of these factions thinks the quotes listed above are standard for political discourse and the other recognizes how this bile turns off the segment of the electorate who holds the cards - the independents. I suppose you could describe this current conflict as...oh, I don't know...perhaps quagmire is a pretty appropriate term.

I've watched this internal battle with disappointment for some time. And frankly, I find it hard to believe that the former will not dominate the latter. My expectation was that the Democrats of today would ultimately implode and from its ashes a new party would rise - one that would put the national interest over partisan politics. While the Democrats were not in control, this struggle could take place without endangering the safety of our citizens. Now that they are in control, I'm in the strange position of hoping - for the country's sake - that this implosion doesn't happen.

Believe me if Democrats could show some moderation and exercise some real leadership I'd be the first one to give them the credit and congratulate them.

It's easy to be on the outside, lobbing criticism. It's easy to find fault. It's easy to Monday-morning quarterback.

What's difficult is governing. What's difficult is supporting and defending policies that may not be popular.

Now Democrats have the difficult tasks.

And Republicans have the easy ones, as do I.

It's a role reversal.

This blog has never had any mission statement (go ahead and search the archives). But one of my goals has been to emphasize that while Republicans aren't perfect, the Democrats are not the solution. The electorate, however, was willing to give the Democrats their shot. As a patriotic American, I'd love for them to prove me wrong.

I'm not holding my breath.

Now that the landscape has changed, I assume my new role with relish.

UPDATE:
It would seem that the bloodletting has already begun.

Posted by: Gary at 02:15 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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