Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You think I'm nuts, Gregory?

Like a fox, Mr. President.

The sun shone brightly this morning on Missouri, both literally and figuratively. The first warmth in more than a week. Democrats ruling the House. And the Senate. When have you seen a recount change anything?

Hope lives. I smiled. I drank my coffee. I kissed my husband. I smoked a cigarette, that, after last night is still only taxed here at 17 percent. It wasn’t about sin tax, after all; it was about Missouri's state pols squandering targeted tax dollars.

Ahh, the world is good.

Then I woke up. It takes me awhile to really wake up. This is still the same government. We just switched a very few characters around. The same tactics still rule. Campaign rhetoric is hard truth, perhaps manipulated truth, but not aberration. Just like alcohol doesn’t make anyone say or do anything they don’t think or feel when sober, just express it harder and louder. Mel Gibson, stand up.

I took a good, pragmatic look at GW’s press conference.

Rumsfeld fired.

This is a blog, not a White House press conference. The truth, Mr. President, is in the impression you leave, not just the words.

Gonna work together to solve common problems, like in Texas. Sure, that worked well. I’ll post that in a few days. Or you can just read Molly Ivin’s Bushwhacked.

Despite, or precipitating, his jab at Karl Rove, who is winning in his reading contest with GW because, “I obviously was working harder at the campaign than he was,” GW spun a good story.

Go back a few posts here. Consider the Reps, as a party, worked harder at losing.

Consider how the election may have gone if GW had ousted Rumsfeld after the Sunday meeting with Robert Gates. On that alone, the Dems still most likely would have taken the House. But the Senate, well, most likely another story.

And what was that with the neocons, who engineered this whole mess, turning like rabid dogs on GW a couple days before the election? If you thought them sincere when they said they bought an alleged promise from Vanity Fair not to leak the article contents before the election, then I have some ocean front property in St. Louis for you, cheap.

The pundits opine Bush seemed subdued, almost chastened. Okay, so he went farther in that press conference without the goofy grin than I’d seen him go. But what was with the self-satisfied grin and wink to someone (Perhaps David Gregory? A staffer?) at stage right just after the speech and GW’s passable answer to the first press question. No matter what that meant, it’s a secretive communication, a private joke. A grin and a wink are not the actions of someone subdued and chastened.

By the time Dems take their lead (or leads), less than two years will remain until the presidential election. Plenty of time to screw things up further, a nanosecond to make things right in this mess. The Dems will start out in armpit deep floodwater.

It’s fine to be hopeful, joyous. Hell, go get drunk. No matter how you voted, we sent a message that we’re not catatonic sheep anymore. And it was the best chance we had to stop the blood leaking.

However, we need look below surface level for the next two years. With a very wary eye. The Reps may not be the best at looking at the big picture when they govern, but they’re very good at it when it’s their own interests at stake. And their face, GW, outdid himself as an aw-shucks, self-deprecating cowboy this morning. What's more endearing than admitting getting "a thumpin'. " He even makes me like him, and I’m the cranky old cynic, yellow dog Democrat without a real job anymore.

I’m betting, just as the neocons started planning this war the minute Bush Senior’s war was over, they have had a plan for holding on to the next presidency long before these midterms. I have a feeling it included blaming the next two years on parties not themselves.

Right now, I'm going to revel awhile in the fact that I'm not living in a red state anymore. Can you say McCaskill? Stem-cell referendum? Minimum wage hike?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I want my exit polls…

The media needs to grow some. Do they realize it’s the Bush Republican pillagers who demonized exit polls? The only near misses have been over GW’s skin of the teeth runs. You know, the ones he saw as mandates?

Remember the last time before that that journalists jumped the gun. Can you say Thomas E. Dewey and Harry S Truman?

At the very least, exit polls have a much better track record than our intelligence community. And incorrect exit polls right themselves by morning. Not years and entire wars later.

It is the economy, at least here

First polls show the issue in Missouri is the economy.

Well, duh.

Last week GW, in Montana, said he was glad to be somewhere where the cowboy hats outnumbered the ties. Then, took off for St. Louis, a once muscular industrial city turned infirm village at best.

What would he say here? First thing that popped into my mind was, “glad to be somewhere where the blue collars outnumber the white collars.” Wait, all those jobs went south…

Monday, November 06, 2006

One day to go…and no voters came...

I really didn’t plan on following the What if they gave an election and no party came with this post. Then, at 3 a.m., after wrestling all day with putting auctions on eBay, I was sitting in bed, eating on a pint of Cherry Garcia, watching CNN and saw her.

There a blond suburban Virginia woman attempted to cut her lawn while a George Allen supporter bobbled around trying to get a pledge, in blood no doubt, for a vote..

“There’s one way you could convince me [to vote for Allen],” she said. “Start my mower.” He did; pulled the vexing little rope and shazam, mower putting noise.

Clearly the woman had intended a light jab, but it, as they say about some smiles, never reached her eyes. She was weary.

The polls show the gap between Dems and Reps narrowing.

I feel like that woman looked. Or I perceived she looked. It was 3 a.m.

That same weariness has dominated the last few days. I’m tired. We’re all tired. The Reps (except for GW and Cheney, et al) are going left. Dems are going right. And they’re all a world away from us. Yeppo, there is more clearly than ever an us-and-them.

For nearly 30 years, my husband anchored our family with a white collar, large corporation salary that tipped us into upper middle class territory. His running joke, albeit tongue in cheek, went along the lines of hoping my salary covered my American Express bill.

Gradually, insidiously, that state of life has eroded into where did all the money go?

I’ve stopped thinking an election will change that. For the first time, I may not stay up until the wee hours watching tote boards tomorrow. And know I’m one step beyond the average voter when it comes to election watching. I spent a lot of years in courthouses and campaign headquarters, watching tallies come in, jazzed, then later, bone tired and sometimes alcohol soothed, leaned over front page paste-ups on an extended deadline for the morning paper. Most times, I even stuck around in the pressroom watching that miraculous sight of news spinning off rolls and landing in a heap of warm newspapers. Yeah, I worked in one of those great anachronisms for a while. For me, that was almost as good as sex. As were the memories.

But even for me, that election night energy has waned. For a good number of us, I can understand where the goal changed from looking for a better life to just keeping this one from getting worse.

I’m in Jim Talent country. Now in a dead heat with Claire McCaskill for US Senator from Missouri. I fielded my 13th come-to-Jesus (both literally and figuratively) call at 9 p.m. last night. All recordings, no live people. Oh, that’s a voter connector for sure.

I’ve watched Talent and his no gay marriage, no abortion message ad infinitum. No matter what your leanings or religion, those messages won't wind many people up when their own committed relationships and those of their friends, gay or straight, stress under increasing financial woes. As for abortion, even for zealots, that has to come second to the basic needs of their already living children, like education, health care, jobs.

Don’t give me the economy is good. The pols need to step outside the beltway and their multimillion-dollar war chests. There are not many people out here who aren’t seeing differently, drowning in debt, arguing with contrary health insurance providers, just plain working poor or lacking jobs altogether. Or at least don’t have someone within two degrees of separation who is.

All the while, that big, showy balloon with the two billion a week war tally on the side hovers. The comparisons scream. Here in St. Louis, with a World Series win in a brand new stadium, pols tout the projected tax revenues for the soon to be built Ball Park Village. Over a 40-year span, BPV proponents project $291 million in tax revenues to the city, $142 million for our city’s near third world school district. We can’t help but look at the balloon and think of the schools one week of war revenue could build. Yeah, yeah, no one would ever spend on schools what we spend on war. Given.

For my money, McCaskill’s counter just doesn’t give me what I need. Or maybe there just isn’t a counter for that.

With all the attack campaignings -- Super Bowl parties with Playmates (ever heard of internet porn, candidates?), secret actual sexist agendas supported by an author/candidate's fictional characters (novels without evil for good to overcome, or fall prey to, really sell well, right?), well, you know the rest of the steps in that dance.

The races read more like science fiction than a plan for a better future on this planet. That does not entice people to wrestle with voter lines, ID checks and touch screens.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope there is a lot more, well, hope, out there than I’m seeing.

Getting me there would be simple. Just one candidate looking at me, even through a television screen or over a phone, saying I know it’s tough. I want to help. I can start my own lawnmower, thank you.

God, I miss Dick Gephardt.

Doogie and Still Looking for the ERA

Doogie Howser, Neil Patrick Harris, is gay. From the crawl on CNN. Big whoop. I’m still convinced that a lot of the movement is just a way for white Anglo Saxon males to gain minority status.

Before you comment, two things.

One, I have never factored anyone’s sex life – except my husband’s – in friendships. I take love where I find it, as should everyone else. The best friend I ever had, Atlanta Municipal (Traffic Court) and TICA international cat show judge Larry Paul, broke my heart when he died way too young a few years ago.

Two, as a female, I belong to the minority group with the majority number that has been fighting and yearning for equal status since the Romans kicked the Druids' asses a very long time ago.

When it comes to the power elite, still overwhelmingly male, my experience has been men choose gay men for power a lot easier than any type woman.

So, get over yourselves. Fight for your legal rights. I'll help. But don’t forget mine in the process. I 'm still smarting over the ERA.

Okay, comment away. I’m not countering any of them.

BTW, this in no way changes the fact that The Christmas Wish is still one of my all-time favorite movies this time of the year. But they may want to remake it with an eye to changing that Naomi Watts romantic lead.