Well my soul checked out missing as I sat listening
To the hours and minutes tickin' away
Yeah, just sittin' around waitin' for my life to begin
While it was all just slippin away.
I'm tired of waitin' for tomorrow to come
Or that train to come roarin' round the bend.
I got a new suit of clothes a pretty red rose
And a woman I can call my friend
These are better days baby
Yeah there's better days shining through
These are better days baby
Better days with a girl like you
--Bruce Springsteen, "Better Days"
You know there are better days ahead, fans and fellow citizens of Roxie's World, now that a fabulous grrrl like Nancy Pelosi is going to be sittin' pretty behind poor old George W. Bush for the last two years of his spectacularly failed presidency. We hope you're still savoring the many victories of this past Tuesday and that you noticed Roxie's World was spot on in its maiden efforts at political prognostication, to wit:
- Senator Man on Dog Rick Santorum went down hard, fast, and whining, as was noted here on Wednesday;
- Senator Macacawitz George Allen lost in a squeaker to Jim Webb to hand Dems control of the Senate;
- the land of Moose's birth, the Ohio River valley of southern Indiana and northern Kentucky, helped deliver the House to Dems, as three key districts in Indiana and one in Louisville flipped from Republicans to Democrats. As soon as NBC announced that Anne Northrup had lost her Louisville seat, Moose confidently declared that Democrats would take the House.
Now that we've proven our mettle as prognosticators, Roxie's World has a word or two to offer by way of political analysis. How do we explain the shift in the political ground that took place in the United States on Tuesday? Here, in no particular order, are our best guesses:
- Economic populism: The Democratic message that the Bush tax cuts have favored the wealthy and undermined the functioning of government seems finally to have gotten through to middle- and working-class voters. The Katrina debacle probably helped to make this point, but you have to give Dems credit for finally finding the nerve to say that tax cuts during times of war and other national emergencies are irresponsible. Stay tuned to see if they have the guts to roll back some of those tax cuts. (Here's a piece from The New York Times on economic populism and the new class of Democratic winners.)
- It's the war, stupid: Another message that has gotten through is that the war in Iraq does not and never did have anything to do with "the war on terror." People are furious because the war has been mismanaged and because there is now broad acceptance that it was started on the basis of a lie.
- Big tent beats base: Progressives have mixed feelings about all the "blue dog" Democrats who were recruited to run in conservative districts, but the strategy was clearly effective in appealing to moderate and independent voters. Moose is uneasy about this, too, and worries about Dems going all mushy in order to keep those voters, but she reminds herself that with Dems in control of both houses of Congress the leadership will be able to shape the legislative agenda so that it's less conservative from the get-go.
- Pretty beats ugly: We think that the real brilliance of the Democratic recruiting strategy was in finding candidates who were cuter, smarter, and nicer than the troglodytes they were running against. From Bush's smirk to Cheney's scowl to Hastert's bloated cheeks to the cruel twitching of Rush Limbaugh's upper body, the Republicans just aren't doing good body language these days. They look and sound mean, vindictive, petty, cruel, arrogant, and out of control, while Dems are these smiling happy people who want government to be competent, transparent, and responsive to the needs of its citizens. What's not to love?