I remember when leftist maroons tried to tell me that there was no appreciable difference between Bush and Gore (or Gush and Bore, as they said), back in the 2000 EV election. Even a glance over Bush's record in Texas proved this untrue. No matter. Michael Moore*, Ralph Nader, and scads of others did their level best to "punish" the Democratic Party by electing Bush. I thought at the time, This will be one of the worst disasters in American history. In fact, the only comfort I could find was: either our fears are exaggerated and all will be well, or we'll be spending the next four years saying "We told you so."
So then in August 2001, the new prexy takes a month-long vacation.** Paranoid that I am, I think, God almighty, doesn't he understand that presidents don't get month-long vacations? What if something really horrible is coming our way, and he's too busy on the golf course to see it coming? I could say more about that, including why it's important to have an actual professional instead of a purblind ideologue as your National Security Adviser (not to mention, Heaven help us, Secretary of State, and when you look at how much worse this term's appointments are than even last term's, well, that'll get you religion, okay)...but frankly, it's too painful.
So let's take October 2002, and many people old enough to remember Vietnam understand exactly where we're headed on the Senate vote to authorize Shrubby to pre-emptively attack Iraq. But the Senate Democrats are having none of it. "The President assures us privately he just wants the leverage. Nobody wants war in Iraq. And anyway, if we don't cut off debate right away and give him the authorization, we'll get clobbered next month in the 2002 Congressional elections" (which they did anyway, of course). And I thought: I have lived long enough to see the Vietnam disaster repeated, note for note, and there's not a Goddamned thing anybody can do about it. So, again: either the President's word can be trusted and we're worried for nothing...? Or, y'know: "We told you so."
Then it's February 2003, and (to my astonishment) literally millions of people worldwide come out in a last-ditch attempt to stop the Shrubbistas' war in Iraq. People my age were ridiculed for being lost in the past, unable to see the differences; we were assured that Iraq would be a cakewalk, not a quagmire, that it'd all be over within six weeks and then, Woo-Hoo!, it's on to Syria. This time the leftist maroons had it right, in fact righter than they dreamed: who imagined that Saddam had literally no WMD's at all? And here we are, two years later, and every single objection raised against the war has proved to be true. This is particularly tough for a guy my age: to see it all happen again, and have no comfort except "We told you so."***
So finally, 2004 election, and by then huge numbers of people see the danger posed by these lunatics, and try to beat 'em fair and square. Hardest part for me: seeing people of good will, both Republicans and "Libertarians"****, insisting that you couldn't judge by the past: these guys have learned their lesson, they'll be much more moderate in a second term. Unh-hunh. In particular, the constant theme that the Democrats' references to theocracy are scare tactics: the GOP, the administration, are just pandering to the base, they have no real interest in imposing their religion on the rest of the country.
So here is Bill Frist, the Republican Majority Leader of the United States Senate, last Sunday, appearing on an evangelical telethon to explain that he needs to change Senate rules of very long standing in order to get ahold of the U.S. courts on behalf of evangelical Christianity.
It must have felt this way in the Thirties in Germany, you know? "Herr Hitler does not have the interests of the German people at heart!" "Alarmist! Conspiracy monger!"
Well, fine: you guys won, fair and square or otherwise; it's your country now, and we're just along for the ride. The only comfort, now as then:
We told you so. We told you so. We told you so.
93 93/93 -- AJ
* At least Moore tried to make up for it later. Not so Nader, of course.
** Come to think, does anybody know whether this guy ever makes it into the office? It seems to me he's always either on the road, or (appropriately enough, I suppose) at his compound just outside Waco.
*** And by the way, we are still only one surprise conflict, if that, away from a draft. Pray for undeserved good luck.
**** The quotation marks are there because I do not know what sort of actual Libertarian can support a man who argues that he can jail, or even (after a brief tribunal before men bound to follow his orders) execute, anyone -- including any American -- he likes, without even judicial review. Forget Terry Schiavo and the "nanny state," what about Libertarian feelings towards, say, absolute monarchy?