First, there's the obvious. Iraq. Katrina. Warrantless Wiretapping. The Patriot Act. "You go to war with the army you have." Public Enemy #1 still at large. Automatic "cost-of-living" salary increases in Congress. Stagnant minimum wages for the rest of us. Enron. The "Sixteen Words" and Valerie Plame. Trillions in debt.
But all that is boring. America will dispatch the Grand Ol' Party from their leadership posts in the House -- and possibly the Senate -- for reasons that are more related to aesthetics and therefore harder to pin down. You just get a sinking feeling of ickyness whenever you're forced to watch George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Denny Hastert or any of these creeps attempt flailingly to defend their indefensible actions and statements.
Here are five reasons among hundreds why the Republican Party has worn out its welcome in the heart of the American voter:
1) The only way they can win elections is by turning Americans into snivelling crybaby pussies
: And no one wants to be a crybaby pussy. Let's face it, if you have a deep-seated fear, some moderate misgivings, or even mild trepidation about running errands and going about your business because of terrorism, you need to get a grip. New Yorkers and Washingtonians have managed to deal with the real but minor likelihood that something bad might happen on their commute. The great majority of us are not cowed into hermitude. If you live in Cedar Rapids or Wichita or Idaho Falls you have every right to be concerned about national security but no excuse to be afraid.
The Republicans built their post-9/11 majority by completely infantilizing the electorate, convincing them there was a mortal threat around every corner, and that the Democrats, who questioned the wisdom of commencing a pre-emptive strike on Iraq or ceding the Congress' constitutional power to make war to the President, were mollycoddling the terrorists and playing fast and loose with American lives with their fancypants intellectualizing. People who understand the history of America, and what it means to be an American, know that our greatness has been the result of our commitment to justice, not fear.
2) They provide aid and comfort to pimps and predators
: At least until they're caught. Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) knew about his colleague Mark Foley's predilection for the teenaged boys working under him (heh) and encouraged him to run anyway, figuring presciently that the GOP would need all the safe incumbent-held seats they had. Which brings us to ...
3) The sex thing
: How come Republican officials can have gay friends but voters can't? Some of the most virulently anti-gay Republicans on the Hill, it turns out, have openly gay staffers who put together their churlish and bigoted press packages as red meat for their base. Maybe it's all a big joke to these log-cabinners, but their contributions to the ugly double-standard which is perenially being pushed as legislation damn them just as well as the conservative voters who actually support the stuff.
What's more, with each "pro-family" politician and activist exposed as a closet homosexual, meth-head or pedophile, as it were, the conclusion becomes undeniable that all the social conservatives are an insular cabal who all know full well
of the deviance of certain members in their rank, and tolerate it to the extent that it is politically expedient for the party. The tragic part of all this is the impression it leaves on our collective consciousness: That all who claim to be for family values -- whatever those are -- are using it as a front so that they may diddle boys or smoke crack away from prying eyes.
Republicans, just like everyone else
, love to get freaky
every now and again. Unfortunately, like many people, they also feel bad for having those sort of impulses, and project their freakiness onto the world at-large, then try to ban their own behavior as some weird gesture of atonement. That's why the right-wing attempt to change the subject from Foley to Barney Frank and Gerry Studds held no water: Frank and Studds weren't out there trying to protect people from gayness while having gay sex.
: There are dozens ("Cut and run," "Stay the course," etc.) but probably my least favorite is "Fight 'em there so we don't have to fight 'em here." There are two things wrong with that concept: the first part and the second part. If you feel more safe and secure in your home in America knowing that we're occupying a country that never posed a threat to us and is a haven for terrorism now that we're there ... well, by all means vote Republican. If you'd like to give it a second of thought, however, you'll realize that we were attacked
"here" by people who lived, worked and planned "here," and so therefore "here," where "they" might be hiding out and plotting another attack is probably the wiser place to fight them, as opposed to "there," where "they" aren't. Arguing with Bush logic, you're necessarily drawn into an Abbott and Costello sort of routine, and as public sentiment against the war mounts, people are getting sick of hearing their questions dismissed or redirected to another topic.
5) They're liars and hypocrites and don't even care that you know it
: White House Press Secretary Tony Snow put on his best outraged face in reaction to John Kerry's faux pas
about the troops and their intellect relative to overachieving college students. Then over the weekend, four military papers -- not Stars & Stripes, granted, but they still know their audience -- jointly printed an editorial calling for Rumsfeld's ouster. Rumsfeld, who looks increasingly overwhelmed and out of his element with each successive press appearance, has with shocking frequency demeaned and derided and passed his rightful buck onto the American fighting forces, from generals to the grunts on the ground. Snow, incidentally, called the editorial "shabby." There's nothing like consistency.
So this is it. Our best guess is that America is sick enough of being moralized to by the guys and gals who unrepentantly caucus with thieves (Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney), con artists (Tom DeLay), hate merchants (Marilyn Musgrave), unabashed dolts (our Dear Leader) and power-hungry madmen (Dick Cheney).
I'm calling a 30-seat pickup for the Democrats in the House and five seats in the Senate and hoping I'm misunderestimating my party. Happy voting, everyone!