When the United Nations was founded, Henry Cabot Lodge said something like "the election results will not take the US to heaven, but it will certainly reduce the chances of going to hell." Aside from the Jeebus related references, to me that about sums up my reactions to what happened in the last 48 hours or so.
I've got to admit that I was surprised to see that the elections turned out the way they did. Despite a massive repug war chest, their bully pulpits, seemingly endless tales of obviously crooked voting machine irregularities and voter intimidation, most ballots were cast and counted toward a repudiation of overtly thuggish republicans. It certainly appears that the people in this country overwhelmingly despise the current abuses and were able to make that known in the face of big money and dirty tricks. It seems that the thugs were only able to stem a whopping landslide with their crap; only a third of the senate was contested. One wonders what would have happened if all the seats were fought over.
On the face of it, as the dust settles the results look like some speedbumps and detours for the fascist agenda. The Pathetic Chimp got slapped around in front of the cameras today when he whimpered on about the elections. They're forced to rearrange the deck chairs by shuffling the personnel around. More local control by democrats will frustrate repug consolidation of power as they'll merrily re - jerrymander voting district boundaries. Some might say that congress won't be just a rubber stamp for any more authoritarian insanity.
Yet try as I do to feel otherwise, my cynicism keeps overriding even fun images like seeing Santorum drop kicked out of his Pennsylvania seat. It's hard to shake the perception that yesterday was only a facelift, a symbolic one finger salute against the empire that won't have much meaning in the overall scheme of things. Knowing their penchant for leaving nothing to chance it's entirely possible that the election results were scripted to come out the way they did. It's possible that the fascists thought it was time to put a velvet glove over their iron fist for a while. As Sockpuppet even alluded to as he stammered through his press conference earlier today - "But it's hard to win an election when you're trying to win a write-off campaign"
So what would our overlords gain from taking one step back after two steps forward? Knowing full well how much discontent there is in the country, after three stolen elections it might have been appropriate to throw some crumbs to the so called opposition party. It may have seemed time to finally legitimize the easily hacked touch screen machines. As a matter of fact the MSM is starting to do just that. 80% of the country used them so they have to be touted as a success for when they're used to seal our fate in the 2008 presidential election. It could be that the new democrat controlled congress will now be blamed for the hideous cesspool we're in because of bushista policies.
Scripted or not, it looks like the democrats will wind up not losing one seat in the senate, house or governors' mansions, something that's never happened before in modern american politics according to Billmon. But the cynical part of me doesn't expect jack shit to be done to fix the long list of despicable horrors perpetrated over the last six years. The democratic party failed every gut check and even cheerled while Bush and his cabal perpetrated the mind numbing crimes that will take generations to undo - the worst being Iraq, where if you remember the senate was controlled by a dem majority when it approved Codpiece's adventure. As for possible impeachment of the scumbags, Ms. Pelosi told us in advance of the election to forget about it. Chris Floyd tells us what we can expect from a democrat controlled congress:
"(...) The Democratic leadership is a deeply embedded part of the Establishment; multimillionaires like our soon-to-be Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (who is probably richer than Bush) aren't going to seriously challenge the near-total domination of American politics and society by Big Business and wealthy elites. They may re-arrange the display a little, but they are not going to upset the golden applecart. So while we may see a slight goosing of the minimum wage, we will almost certainly not see a major rollback of the relentless rightwing assault on the rights, protections and well-being of working people and the poor. We can hope for some modifications of the bizarre and punitive prescription drug "reforms" imposed by the Bush Party; but we won't see anything resembling a national health insurance system, despite the majority of Americans in favor of one. We won't see a reinstatement of the safety net that was gutted, pre-Bush, by Democrat Bill Clinton. We won't see major reductions – or indeed, any reductions – in military spending from a party that has faithfully approved every cent of every "special spending bill" that Bush has submitted to finance his off-the-books wars. We won't see a lessening of international tensions from a crew that has spent most of the past year bashing the Bush Administration for not being bellicose enough in threatening Iran, and for not larding Israel with even more deadly weaponry to carry out its aggression in Lebanon and its increasingly frenzied decimation in Gaza. We will not see an immediate withdrawal from Iraq; at best, we will see a few tentative timetables based on unreal and unrealizable "benchmarks" produced by some grandly gassy "bipartisan agreement" based on the face-saving formulas of the "Baker Commission.
There is going to be no impeachment of Bush, even if the Democrats get hold of the Senate. There is going to be no criminal prosecution for the principal architects of the war crime in Iraq (and probably none of small fry either). There will be little or no rollback of the draconian strictures of the Patriot Act, which was overwhelmingly approved by the Democrats, or the many other measures – "national security letters," warrantless surveillance, etc. – introduced hugger-mugger by the "Unitary Executive." Indeed, we will be very lucky if the new Democratic leadership even revisits the Military Commissions Act."
In sum, not much.
So, all the money and machinations of Rove and company could barely buy off a landslide but with such widespread outrage couldn't avoid defeat. There could be litigation and recounts but it doesn't seem like it. But if all the newly formed democratic congress will do is continue business as usual and not slam the brakes on this highway to hell, Rove had nothing to worry about.
update - Looks like I'm not the only one with suspicions.