Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Steps blinking into the light.

Wow. The Democrats control the House of Representatives. Everything will be different now. No, but seriously, it is a good thing that the Republicans appear to have been trounced more than I would have expected. You've got your first Muslim in the House of Congress, and he argues for the troops to be withdrawn from Iraq immediately. No doubt he is also a twittish neoliberal, otherwise I doubt the Democrats would have selected him, but still. Bernie Sanders has been sent to the Senate - he's not perfect, in fact, he's nothing like the "socialist" he says he is, but I think to have the very word being proudly uttered by a winning candidate in US elections is some kind of advance. Some nasty right-wing pieces of shit got kicked out, such as Rick Santorum. Katherine Harris didn't get a look-in. The Senate, they say, is "up for grabs". If Palast was right about the missing votes scams, I would expect that means the remaining seats will fall to the Republicans at the last minute. Apparently, there's only 2,000 votes in the Virginia race, and it's leaning towards the Democrats.

On the other hand, the Guuuuhlie man has won again, partly by ditching most of his policies, and Lieberman has comfortable 49-40 lead over Ned Lamont. Lamont went very quickly downhill in the polls after getting the nomination from the Democrats, in part because the DLC more or less shat on him from a very great height, which shows what the US political establishment thinks democracy is about. But also because only about 35% of Connecticut voters are registered Democrats, with about 45% being independents. And because Lamont was successfully depicted as an out-of-touch rookie and an 'extreme liberal', whatever that is. Another aspect of it is that everyone knows Lamont is a yuppy neoliberal who moved extremely fast to reassure Wall Street, while Lieberman managed to present himself as concerned about health care and saving the schools and being nice to the elderly. In sickeningly saccharine adverts, he beamed at the camera and said words like "oooh sure, we've differed over Iraq, but look at these here children playing, isn't that special? Rookie liberals like Ned Lamont would let child rapists out of prison."

The main impact of these elections, I suspect, will be to give a shot in the arm to the left, who needed to see the Republicans get beaten. And everyone knows why they were beaten: the war and the economy. You can't separate those issues, and people know it. They know that the same administration that is plundering the US treasury is also plundering Iraq, to put it as simply as that. So, whatever one thinks of the Democrats, and however little one expects from the American political system as a whole, this is an advance for the left, and an opportunity too. And it is also bad news for this man.