I really wish Howard Dean's campaign hadn't imploded.
But wishes don't mean much now. Kerry's campaign can wish all they want, for example, but the math isn't there in Ohio to put him over the top.
Kerry will need to concede sometime today, and he needs to do it graciously.
So let me be gracious too.
George Bush won, and he is and will remain President of the United States. I'm an American citizen, and George Bush is my President. His win was, especially given the division in the country, relatively strong. He will have won both the popular and the electoral vote by wide enough margins that there is no basis, as there was in Florida voting in 2000, for challenging the legitimacy of his win.
George Bush is my President. I hope that under his leadership the country improves, that unemployed find real work at good wages, that the uninsured find affordable insurance, that the supreme court finds its vacancies filled with moderate judges, that our armed forces or our allies find Osama Bin Laden, that democracy finds firm roots in Afghanistan and Iraq, that Israel and Palestine find a way to live together, that everything both sides agree need to happen finds a way to happen under Bush's watch, that tax cuts and profligate spending some how find a way to magically combine in some kind of economic alchemy to deficit lead into surplus gold. I wish him every success on reaching those goals.
Yes, I know. Wishes don't mean much. Even sincere wishes. But I hope for the sake of the country that Bush succeeds in making the country better.
As much as I wish that, here's what I fear will happen going forward:
- Bush will move further to the right, with nothing left to lose, dividing the country either further along ideological lines.
- The deficit will continue to sky rocket and the war on terror will continue to expand, thus shrinking the governments options.
- That Bush will become more arrogant, and move to policies that begin to unravel the social safety net -- environmental regulations will continue to fall; social security will be pushed toward privatization; tax policies will increasing benefit the rich, shrinking the middle class. In other words, all the trends now in place will continue more earnestly for at least the next two years, before Bush slips into lame duckness.
- That a U.S. House with more republicans in it, will be seen as a sign that the votes are there to move the country's fiscal and social policies further to the right, to the hard right, not the moderate right.
- That the tone in Washington will become more shrill as the republican power base becomes more arrogant. Any disagreements will be described as divisive, even reasonable objections.
- That Bush will pull out of Iraq before the job is done, but using his rose colored classes, will declare victory. That after the first Iraqi election, whenever that is held, he will begin to cut troops, leaving Iraq afester and the Middle East more unstable than he found it.
- That Bush will continue to lead by a combination of the propagandistic leveraging of fear (on the war front) and fact-bending (remember the false estimates given to Congress on what the cost of his drug benefits program would be?).
- That 6 and 7 will work as strategies because the media is increasingly either divided along identifiable partisan lines (Fox News vs. NPR) or cowed. We no longer have a national objective voice to look at facts in a timely manner. The best the mainstream media could do on the Iraq war issue was apologize after the fact for their failure to be healthy skeptics.
So here I am. Left hoping that my fears are wrong and that my wishes might come true. It's a grim place to be because the history of the past four years of Bush policy does more to validate my fears than give hope to my wishes.