A little gloating is in order â?¦



Two years ago, when Bush won re-election and the Dems got handed their heads in the House and Senate, this newspaper ran a little point/counterpoint thingy. The â??pointâ?� part written by Jeffrey C. Billman, a normally sensible young man who got all lachrymose about Kerryâ??s loss, saying it portended the end of the world, or something like it. Like the Nazis before them, Billman opined, the Republicans had built an empire that would last a thousand years. Right after George W. Bushâ??s emergency third term would come the ascension of Jerry Falwell to the Oval Office, and then the Constitution would be rewritten to include things like mandatory prayer in school and death for homosexuality.

OK, I exaggerate for effect. But that was the idea. Billman was pretty down. Hereâ??s a taste of what he wrote:

So, the way I see it, we're stuck with a Republican party that will further secure its stranglehold over the next four years. They'll continue to control the House and Senate, they'll reshape the courts, and unless some super-Democrat can swing Ohio and Florida back to blue, they'll continue to control the White House.

This was the most important election of our lifetime, and we lost. And barring some unforeseen event, we'll continue to lose for a long time. The pendulum of American thought is swinging, friends, and we're on the wrong side. Damn, I'm in a pessimistic mood.

Billman won a beer from the outcome of the 2004 election, but he lost the war. He, like the Republican Party, failed to see the real meaning of that ominous election, which is that the Republicans no longer had anyone to blame but themselves for whatever was to come.

I noted that things fall apart, that the center cannot hold. I wrote that the Republican Party would eat itself. Frankly, I amaze myself.

Hereâ??s a taste of what I wrote:

Let's be pessimistic and consider â?? just for the sake of argument â?? that Bush is not in Iraq for the reasons he says he is. And the casualties keep mounting. And the costs keep mounting. And more people keep asking "Why?" but there is no answer that really satisfies. And there's talk of a draft. And Saddam isn't around any longer as the villain. And Kerry isn't around any longer as Flip-Flop the clown. And the Democrats have folded their tents and gone home. And people, from both blue states and red, are less and less able to tune out the war, because it is intruding more and more into their lives. What happens then, when people remember that they voted for Bush in spite of the Iraq war, not because of it?

Now we know the answer to that question.

Hereâ??s how I ended the piece:

So buck up, son; you'll get your beer, and a front row seat to watch GeeDubya accomplish what all the lefties on earth couldn't: splintering the Republican Party and shedding the evangelical base like a snake sheds its skin, until by 2008 even the most committed "values" voter will be unable to cast another Republican vote without fear of burning in hell. And then there's the remote chance the Dems could get their act together and have something to say to all those red staters. Stranger things have happened.

The only thing I didnâ??t predict was how quickly the wheels would fall offdisgraced scoundrels in under two years flat. Rumsfeld is out. Hastert is bagged. Santorum is gone (thank you, Jesus) and Karl Rove has admitted to shooting meth and diddling under age boys with Mark FoleyTed Haggard â?¦ oops, wishful thinking there! These are interesting times we live in.

My prognostication for the next two years? I think the Dems will blow any and all hope and goodwill bestowed upon them by this election and be run out by 2008. Hope Iâ??m wrong. Care to bet a beer on it, Billman?.

the Republican Party; they went from owning the world to crestfallen, and


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