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Memo to Democrats: Be careful of what you wish for

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October 12, 2006

By REG HENRY

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

What is that noise? No, not the pitiful wailing coming from all parts of Pittsburgh now that the Steelers have lost three games in a row. Could it be thunder or, worse yet, gastric distress in the dog? Could it be the great whooshing sound made by our young people rushing to New York City?

No, that’s not the noise. This is more insidious. It is the sound of expectations leaping into thin air. It is the whisper of hands being gleefully rubbed together and fingers counting chickens before they are hatched.

Surely you can hear it now, it is everywhere _ not just in Pittsburgh. It is the note of hubris, the background beat of wanton insolence or arrogance that has always invited the wrath of the gods.

It is Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi talking about what she will do when she takes over as House speaker after the Nov. 7 election, with Democrats ascendant and Republicans everywhere routed. It is the jabber of the political commentators and pundits. It is the drumbeat of the polls.

Not to be a party-pooper, but hold your donkeys. Call me old-fashioned but I’m for holding the election before cheering the results.

Hubris _ the ancients feared it (if you don’t believe me, ask Joe Paterno).

About those polls. The recent CBS News/New York Times poll had more bad news for the Republicans. Among the bleak findings, most people believe that GOP leaders put their own political interests ahead of safeguarding congressional pages in the Mark Foley scandal.

Polling is a science, of course, and I do not doubt that this poll reflected what the interviewers were told in their nationwide random phone sample of 983 adults. Whether it is accurate for the rest of the 300 million or so people in the United States is another matter.

Were you asked? Me, neither. If by chance I were phoned for my views, I fear I would pervert the polling science. I would realize at once that I had won the equivalent of the lottery, being one of 983 adults in the whole nation so honored, and of course I would have some fun with it, because I am incorrigible.

And why not? Any such poll is a scientific sample of folks boring and lonely enough to be home and willing to answer a string of questions from a stranger, surely a sign of oddity from the get-go.

Only this much can be fairly said: Polling is more scientific than consulting the entrails of goats, for which the goats are very thankful.

It is true, however, that the polls more or less track what any thinking person can glean from the headlines. This does seem a propitious time for the Democrats, despite being a party of jellyfish flopping about. They may have a shot at taking over the House and even the Senate.

Not only is there the Foley scandal but also the Iraq war, that great and costly diversion in the war on terror, the Fiasco of the new book.

There is the federal deficit, which is such an out-of-control monster that politicians rejoice at the news when it goes down from humongous to stupendous. There is the general incompetence (“Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job”), plus the shredding of the Constitution, the plague of lobbyists, etc.

Yes, any thinking person might conclude that it was time for a change, that what Lord Acton wrote has once again proved to be true: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Unfortunately, and this is my fear, thinking may have very little to do with the outcome of the coming election. My amiable conservative colleague Jack Kelly likes to call members of the left moonbats, a word that suggests a certain frivolous and lunatic flitting about. That is an accurate description for some.

But in opposition to the moonbats, we have the true believers on the right: the goonbats. This does not mean to suggest they are ruffians or thugs (in my experience, they are just cranky and ill-mannered); the word is meant to convey the sense of being awkward, grotesque or stupid. The goonbats are famously impervious to any evidence of folly or wrongdoing by their masters. They know President Bush and his party can do no wrong in the unthinking goonbat universe. There’s nothing anybody can do about it.

Much can happen between now and Nov. 7. But this is certain: The goonbats will issue from their caves in large numbers and tramp down to the polls with their wings stretched out in front of them. Just a warning from a pessimist: They feast on unhatched chickens.

(Contact Reg Henry at rhenry(at)post-gazette.com)

24 Responses to Memo to Democrats: Be careful of what you wish for

  1. Cris

    October 14, 2006 at 1:09 pm

  2. Glenn

    October 14, 2006 at 3:40 pm

  3. Dale

    October 16, 2006 at 6:51 pm

  4. John Hanks

    October 12, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    At least Pelosi has a plan.

  5. John Rackham

    October 12, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Hey, everyone wrote off the Steelers last year too and look what happened!!

  6. Glenn

    October 13, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    First thing they better do is impeach Bush and Cheney and convict them of war crimes and treason. Treason is when you do something to harm the country. Lying about a war and causing the deaths and suffering of thousands of Americans is Treason.
    Then the democrats better undo all these draconian laws and restore the constitution, tax the wealthy, get us off oil, rebuild our economic infrastructure, creating secure jobs, nation wide health care and affordable housing.
    Time for the people to lead.

  7. Kitty

    October 13, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    I agree, we better not count our chickens before they hatch. I work for a very large company with an active forum community. You would not believe how many people on our forums will vote for the status quo.

    Many lower rank military will also vote with the status quo because for the first time in years they are actually making a living wage at least as long as they are deployed.

    I hope I’m suprised in November, but right now, I’m pessimistic.

  8. Justin

    October 13, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    Pelosi couldn’t find her way out of a paper bag. She’s nothing more than a shrill hack.

    Glenn — look up the definition of treason under U.S. law. You pretty much have it 100% wrong.

  9. Dale

    October 14, 2006 at 2:31 am

    Glen, Where in the constitution does it say that the government is responsible for housing, healthcare and creating secure jobs? Maybe if people looked after themselves we would not have the left sucking so hard at the government’s tit.

  10. Glenn

    October 14, 2006 at 3:57 am

    One of the definitions of Treason one can find in a dictionary is betrayal of trust” and “Treachery,” of which Bush, Cheney, Rice and Powell are all guilty of.

    I took the definition of doing harm to the country from the writings on Treason by Thomas Jefferson.

  11. Glenn

    October 14, 2006 at 4:17 am

    Dale I never said the right to the “pursuit of Happiness” was written in the constitution. Our civil liberties are written in the constitution, in the Bill of Rights. And our representatives take an oath to protect that constitution.

    Better turn off Fox and join the real working people. The majority of Americans are out there working their bottoms off, most have both heads of the household working, and they are struggling because they are not getting their fair share of the profits.

    Corporations are countries unto themselves and owe allegiance to no country but themselves.

    It is in the country’s interests to see that the economic well being of all it’s citizens is secure, it’s common sense. And it is accountable to all the citizens, not just the wealthy few.

    We elect representees to represent our interests but they are owned and controlled by corporate money. The laws that govern our lives and how our money is spent is determined by these lawmakers. Time they represented the well being of the people over the profits of the few.

    Better to nurture at the breast of the government then “kiss the butt of the corporations.”

  12. jim

    October 14, 2006 at 8:10 am

    “They know President Bush and his party can do no wrong in the unthinking goonbat universe.” – Uh, wrong. We conservatives know they are human and fallible. We also know that the Dims are much, much worse.

    Treason – grabbing the definition for treason to indict the Executive Administration from a dictionary? And you think it’s the conservatives shredding the Constitution? Get a clue.

    “Corporations are countries unto themselves and owe allegiance to no country but themselves.” – Are you sure you live in America? Do you know this by experience or what you’ve been told? I work in the Quality Control department of a pharmacuetical corporation and have to be familiar and compliant with no less than 2 domestic regulatory bodies and 2 foreign ones. Once again, get a clue.

    p.s. taxing the wealthy does not rebuild the infrastucture. It actively discourages them from investing in the economy and actually creating jobs. Taxing the wealthy puts money in goverment coffers which creates beaurocracy instead of an actual economy. That is not sustainable.

  13. Cris

    October 14, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    If we get everybody off the anti depressants and pain killers they take they will wake up and realize how much our own government is screwing us.

  14. Glenn

    October 14, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    Yes, I get my definitions from a dictionary.
    Also, a number of years ago I was reading writings of Thomas Jefferson and in one of his letters he addressed the issue of Treason vs dissent and he used the definition of doing harm to the country as Treason.

    Treason is selling out the country and that’s exactly what the Bush bunch did. They lied and sent thousands to kill, be killed and maimed, on a lie. They are also war criminals and by just passing laws to make it OK will not absolve them.
    Everything Hitler did was “legal” under his warped sense of law also.

    Those regulatory agencies are stacked with corporate stooges that move from the corporations to government and back again.
    And millions can’t afford these drugs or health care anyway. They have to buy these drugs from other countries where other governments look out for their citizens and don’t allow price gouging exploitation by the few on matters of a citizens health.

    They now have set up a system to keep people in “Debt Slavery.”

    We tax the wealthy because that’s the way the system is supposed to work. You just don’t take from the system you put back in accordance to what you get out. We tax the wealthy to invest back into the system and promote the wealth fair of all. Just look around you, the wealthy are not investing in our country and it’s just as serious a threat as any terrorist.

    The problem is these corporate democrats are not much better then corporate republicans. We need real leaders who represent the people.

  15. Dale

    October 16, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    Glen,

    I am a single parent of two teenage girls, one of which is in her first year of college. I work hard for what I have and live below my means to assure I can take care of those I love. I do not expect the government to come help me out when I spend more then I have and I do not believe the government should help out the individual who has spent more than they have (in most cases).
    The government is there to help the people (community) by providing police, fire and roads, not to make certain the big bad corporations are playing fair in their distribution of profits. If I do not like the way my boss is treating me (pay, working conditions) I have the right to go somewhere else. If that means less pay but better working conditions that is my choice. What it comes down to is supply and demand, if what I do is easy and anybody can do it then I will not be paid well, if what I do is hard and few can do it than I will be paid well. It is not the government’s job to take care of me.
    As for corporations, corporations are here to provide a service and if they can not do so at a profit they will not survive. They have to balance their cost of products, payment to employees, payment to stockholders and payment of taxes with the income from selling their product. It is not easy and not many can do it well. There is a lot of risk in running a business and I for one do not have any desire to do so. I will sell my services to those corporations and take care of myself.

    As for Fox news, I do not watch it, I read a newspaper and think for myself. I suggest you try it also instead of listening to CNN, PBS or most of the liberal media out there.

  16. John Hanks

    October 12, 2006 at 6:17 pm

  17. John Rackham

    October 12, 2006 at 8:38 pm

  18. Glenn

    October 13, 2006 at 3:23 pm

  19. Kitty

    October 13, 2006 at 5:34 pm

  20. Justin

    October 13, 2006 at 8:26 pm

  21. Dale

    October 14, 2006 at 2:31 am

  22. Glenn

    October 14, 2006 at 3:57 am

  23. Glenn

    October 14, 2006 at 4:17 am

  24. jim

    October 14, 2006 at 8:10 am