|n September last year President Bush was placed in an un-enviable position when a handful of terrorists created havoc in the free world. They had brought America to its knees with a surprise attack on the nerve center of the financial world, killing more than 3000 thousand civilians. The quick response by America under the President's leadership brought back much of the confidence its citizens had in the power of democracy and freedom. The tongue-tied, verbally challenged President Bush was magnificent in his handling of this extremely difficult situation.
His position may be characterized as unenviable but jealousy is another matter. Ex-president Bill Clinton lamented that he never had a similar opportunity when he could act like the father of the nation and soothsayer! When President Bush addressed the Joint Sessions of Congress soon after the disaster, the image of Hilary Clinton, the new Senator from New York, with grimacing facial expressions and half-hearted applauses, told a tale that cannot be described in words. The Democrats started fidgeting and wringing their hands seeing their yearlong effort at painting President Bush as inept as well as illegitimate, coming unraveled. Their heart rate seemed to match the President's approval rating. The brisk manner in which things were handled and the quick defeat of the Taliban did not help matters for the Democrats in Congress. President continued to be popular despite all attempts at changing the subject to a discussion of the sputtering economy that was on the brink of recession, instead of the war on terror.
That brings us to the election of November 2002. The Democratic Party spent all their political capital in the mid-term election that traditionally goes against the party that is in power in the White House. They bent the rules of election in New Jersey and replaced a failing candidate (Sen. Torricelli) with an old dinosaur, Sen. Lautenburg. This was accomplished with the help of the highest court in the state, despite the fact that the deadline for changing names in the ballot had passed. Then they goaded another old goat from retirement, and Vice President Walter Mondale, appeared on the ballot a week before the election after the sudden death of Sen. Paul Wellstone in Minnesota. Senator Dashcle moaned and groaned about the economy, environment, health care and education but to no avail. The core Democratic issues did not get traction this time and people were more worried about their safety than the typical mantra that the Democrats lash out only during each election cycle, and then conveniently forget about them after the elections.
How big was this win for Republicans in a historic perspective? For the first time in one hundred years, since Teddy Roosevelt was president, a party in power in the White House added seats in the Congress in both the houses. Bush is the fourth president in history to pull this off. For the first time since President Eisenhover fifty years ago, the GOP is in control of both the house and the senate.
The Democrats have had this luxury many times in the past. They had controlled both Senate and House, almost all the time, when a Democrat was in the White House. Only Bill Clinton lost the mid-term election in a big way in 1994, when for the first time in over forty years the House came under Republican control. George Bush had this luxury for a few months after he took his oath but then the senator from Vermont, Jim Jeffords jumped ranks and gave the control to Tom Daschle and his party. Now they have lost the senate again in a humiliating defeat. The party that promised to build a bridge into the 21st century ran out of ideas and material.
When the election results started coming out in favor of the Republicans, the Democrats just about had conniptions. Then they started finding excuses as to why they lost in such a big way. They blamed the special interest and lobbyists. They blamed the big industries and big money. They blamed the negative campaign by the Republicans. They blamed the apathy of the voters, the polling techniques and the weather. They blamed everyone except themselves for not giving any viable alternative ideas and proposals to the Republican agenda.
The agenda of the Democrats was clearer in this election than any other. The voters are tired of hearing the same message and no action. The economy is in bad shape and so they criticize Bush's team of economic advisors. They complain about the war on terrorism going badly and too slowly. They complain about the rising cost of health care. But they do not have solutions that might fix the problem. The voters saw through this as clear as through glass. In the past they had been able to muddy the waters and had been successful in making the glass opaque. But this time they failed.
They spent too much time and capital trying to preserve their own power and they put this ahead of the interest of the country. Their desperate measures to keep control of the senate were too transparent (the illegal change of candidate in New Jersey and bringing in Mondale in Minnesota). Nowhere was their greed for power more apparent than in Minnesota. They made a mockery of a memorial service for the deceased Senator Wellstone. A solemn occasion was turned into a feet-thumping, raunchy political rally, unashamedly attended by the Clintons, Dashcle and Mondale. Republicans like Trent Lott, who came to pay his respects, were booed on the stage!
Many Democrats still feel that Bush stole the election in 2000. They feel that the Florida Supreme court was right when it tried to assist Gore to count the under-votes only in heavily democratic counties, changing the laws of election many times after the deadlines passed. Hilary Clinton recently had said that George Bush was the 'selected' president of the United States. The Democratic Party, hoping to prove that the election of 2000 was wrongly counted, spent a lot of money in Florida. But the results this time around showed unequivocally, in a flawless election process that the Republicans won 'legitimately'. Wherever Bill Clinton and AL Gore went to campaign for candidates, all the candidates lost. Is it not time that the ex- president and the ex- vice president left the political stage and faded away?
This is a sweet political vindication for Bush. Now he has two years to implement his policies that seem to be acceptable to the voters. If the Republican Party tries to shove unpalatable programs down the throats of American public, they surely will pay a heavy toll in the election of 2004. The Democrats have had this opportunity, controlling all the three branches of government, many times in the past. Now it is the chance of a lifetime for the Republicans. Let them have a go at it. Many of the country's wheels need to be fixed, especially the tax and the tort systems. With the Democratic Party under the control of the Trial Lawyers, who benefit enormously from the current system of unlimited compensation for 'pain and suffering', reform of the system was impossible. Now there is a chance for relief for the people. The current tax code and the rules are in a volume that is thicker than the Holy Bible! Does anyone know what the rules are?
Now there are opportunities for decent reform made possible by an inept, tongue-tied, moronic buffoon of a President! Who needs Slick Willie to lead us?