COLUMN: The continuing saga of House Speaker Pelosi

By Eric Naing

Politically, I came of age during the waning years of the Clinton Administration and had gotten used to Democrats being perpetual losers. Tuesday changed all that.

In one 24-hour period the Democrats took control of Congress, Washington was purged of its most heinous residents, the Republican Party was humiliated and the Bush Administration was rendered impotent and brought to its knees, all while the right-wing media watched with their gaping jaws wide open.

More than just an opportunity for a liberal such as myself to gloat, this election represents defining moment in American history. Just take a look at all the vile people that no longer have a place in our government: homophobic, bestiality-obsessed Rick Santorum; real-life Cruella de Vil counterpart Katherine Harris; immigrant-bashing, conservative tool J.D. Hayworth; racist George Allen; crazy, old Conrad Burns; minority vote suppressing Ken Blackwell and many others.

Karl Rove and the myth of his so-called genius have been debunked. The much hyped 72-hour program failed to get enough Republicans to the polls. GOP-led vote suppression (robo-calls, providing misleading polling places etc.) failed to stop people from voting Democratic. Rove’s “play to the base” strategy and his attempts to polarize and divide the electorate failed and the GOP’s monopoly of evangelical votes (a third of which voted Democratic) ended.

Astonishingly, the election also spells the end of the Bush Administration as we know it. The usually defiant cadre of Bush, Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld has been shattered. In a press conference on Wednesday, an obviously humbled President Bush expressed his anger at Rove and firing Rumsfeld against the wishes of Cheney. The voters have rejected neoconservatism and the now-lame duck president knows it. Maybe a repentant President Bush, recently freed from Cheney’s puppet strings, might take a cue from Gov. Schwarzenegger and run to the left (though I highly doubt it).

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    In the face of absolute defeat, conservatives are resorting to the only thing they have left: spin. In an attempt to take credit away from the Democrats, Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman claims that his party’s loss was historically inevitable saying “it’s the 6th year of the President’s term, where typically you lose more than 30 seats.” Not surprisingly, he neglected to mention Ronald Reagan who only lost 5 seats in the House or Clinton who actually gained 5 seats.

    Others are saying the election was a moral victory for conservatives and a defeat for liberals. Republican pundits such as Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh point to successful ballot initiatives as proof of the continued “reddening” of America.

    This too is false. While it is true that gay marriage amendments passed in seven states, the vote margins were much closer this time. Also, the marriage ban in Arizona went down, as did South Dakota’s abortion ban. Plus, Missouri voted to allow stem cell research.

    Of course, this is certainly not the end of the Republican Party. I can imagine Ken Mehlman shepherding his battered Republicans away in retreat while shaking his fist angrily in the air and yelling out “You haven’t heard the last of us, Democrats!” The Democrats may control the House of Representatives and the Senate, but President Bush is still “the decider.” Tough decisions on the war, immigration, health care and the economy will have to be made. And as you read this, a vast right-wing conspiracy which thrives in opposition is gearing up to make Democrats wish they never took power.

    This week’s bits of political theater are certainly one for the history books.

    Once the haze of celebration clears, Democrats will have to face the harsh reality of responsibility. Despite what I might hope, the first days of the Democratically controlled Congress probably will not be an orgy of impeachment, mandatory gay marriage and immigrant amnesty. Though no matter what happens in the future, I will always carry with me the happy memory of Rick Santorum’s children sobbing as their father conceded his election.