We spent most of the past week talking about what happened in the Midterm Elections of 2006.
We know what happened: Democrats won, Republicans lost. Voter anger triumphed.
Now let’s take a look at what didn’t happen.
In the months leading up to the election, paranoia reigned supreme and conspiracy theories ran rampant through the Internet. A lot of predictions of doom and gloom dominated political debate.
Most of those predictions turned out to be pure fantasy.
So, in no particular order, let’s highlight the big predictions that didn’t come true:
VOTE THEFT BY DIEBOLD: One of the more popular conspiracy theories bandied about concerned a perceived plot by Republicans to rig the vote by hacking voting machines. Didn’t happen. Dire predictions of massive glitches by computerized voting never materialized. For the most part, this was one of our smoother elections.
KARL ROVE’S OCTOBER SURPRISE: This kept many Democrats cowering in fear and predicting the worst. Rove fueled the conspiracy theories by telling Republicans that he had some tricks up his sleeve for the closing weeks of the election. They must have stayed up the sleeve because all the October surprises played against the GOP: Mark Foley, a worsening situation in Iraq, etc. The man who drafted me into political work in 1981, Eddie Mahe, told me that "you’re only as good as your last election." Take that, Mr. Rove.
THE CAPTURE OF OSAMA BIN LADEN: Some claimed U.S. troops captured the al Qaeda leader months ago but that announcement of his capture would be dropped on the American public about a week out from Election Day. Another pipe dream. Osama, if he is still alive, remains the world’s most-wanted fugitive – a monument of the failed "war on terror."
BUSH WOULD SEIZE POWER: This spread through the Internet like wildfire. Bush would suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, and cancel the election. Although the military has a plan to institute martial law in times of national emergency, our enemies apparently didn’t think enough of Bush to create one.
In nearly every case, these conspiracy theories – and others, — were spawned on the Internet and spread through blogs and partisan "news" sites.
In an election where a lack of honesty by the Bush administration drove voter anger, we didn’t need more lies and deception to cloud the real issues of this campaign.
Voters tossed out the GOP leadership of Congress primarily because they were unhappy with an Iraq war that was "justified" through deception. Bush’s many attempts to falsely link his failed Iraq policy with his highly-politicized "war on terror" fell on deaf voter ears.
In the end, voters saw through the lies and myths created by the Bush White House and the GOP-led Congress.
In the coming months, as we continue to try and regain control of our country, let’s hope we can do so without having to hack our way through more myths, distortions and conspiracy theories from the fringes of either the right or the left.