When the myth goes *pfft*.

Posted by admin
Oct 02 2006

Early in 2001, as the Bush administration and a Republican ascendancy in Congress grabbed hold of the reigns of power, they were working hard to turn their proposals into policies. Right from the start, however, they ran into problems. Bush was promoted as the president with a mandate, but he received a popular vote of just less than half of the electorate and was bogged down by a sense that he had been “installed” as president by a divided Supreme Court. In the Congress, one lone Republican left the party in the Senate, throwing off one-party dominance of both houses of Congress and the White House for two more years.

The 2004 elections changed that. Bush won his majority, just barely, and his party gained full control of Congress. They went about as if they won the lottery, spending political capital with little regard of the cost. Only they hadn’t earned as much as they had thought and found themselves with little left for the day-to-day costs of doing business on Capitol Hill.

Over those years, Republicans from the president to the back bencher in the House used the attacks on September 11th and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as political backdrops to illustrate their steadfastness and toughness. They went about claiming they were making the world a better place by bashing people over their heads. Some of them might have been the terrorists they were aiming to eliminate, but many more were innocents caught up in the fog of war and either disappeared in death or emerged physically and mentally wounded. Republicans and their supporters took any critique thrown their way of methods used or actions taken on their watch as evidence of anti-Americanism at best or treason at worst.

There is so much more to recount, and what has been so far in this post doesn’t even begin to do justice to the injustices wrought by the Bush administration and the Republican Congress. Let’s cut to the chase: The Republicans are reaping what they have sown over the years and I believe they are facing a comeuppance that may be as surprising as it is unprecedented.

Look at the signs. Take popular culture, where Joan Jett, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, The Dixie Chicks, and many other musicians and bands have made numerous songs openly criticizing the president. Or look at poll numbers, where Bush is personally wallowing way below the 50% mark, more likely to drink his beer alone than with a typical voter. Congress’ pollings return even worse results and seem to coincide with their very boisterous grandstanding on issues designed to appeal to their shrinking base. Most importantly, check out the important things, from such general things as the state of our world to our personal lives when we look into our pocketbooks or check out a book from the library. It seems the Republicans have left an ugly, indelible mark on our lives and our world.

If this year can be noted for anything, it should be the year that the Republican’s myth about themselves finally imploded. They have lost their claim to being the party of small government, of individual liberties, of families, of security, and of common sense. If anything, they have done the exact opposite in all cases. Along with the generic screw-ups, though, have come the scandals: war profiteering, sex, bribery and corruption scandals are popping up in the headlines and the party and its supporters are working overtime to contain them or spin away the ones that have gotten loose.

All this begs the question as to how their myth of themselves burst as it met reality? The answer to that should be left to every Republican politician running for re-election this November. It had better be a good one, though, because the voters don’t appear to be up for the normal election-year gamesmanship.

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