Choose the Future: Which
Victory Story Will Run?
Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor
The Crisis Papers
November 7, 2006
Here are alternative news stories about the midterm election
results. Since you might be reading this article on November 7, see which
version you'd like to see come true and then gear your action accordingly.
You may have time to make some last-minute phone calls, contact your
friends and neighbors, ring some doorbells, drive some folks to the polls,
help get the word out about Rove's dirty "robocalling" campaign (calling
Democratic voters again and again and again on automatic redial with
messages supposedly from the Democratic Party, just to get them so annoyed
and angry that they would react by not voting for Dem candidates), etc.
etc. -- B.W.
Story #1: Democrats Sweep Big
(Associated Press) November 8, 2006, Washington, D.C. -- In a huge
midterm-election victory, Democrats last night swept out Republican
incumbents to take control of both the House of Representatives and the
Senate. Given the pro-GOP gerrymandering of election districts, the
Democratic victory would appear to be less a landslide than a huge
"Clearly," said pollster Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center for the
People and the Press, "this election was a referendum on the Bush/Cheney
Administration and whether they should be given another two years of
uncontested rule. The voters have spoken loudly that they prefer a
divided-government, a checks-and-balances system where the executive no
longer has full control of all the levers of power. Putting Democrats in
charge of the House and Senate accomplishes this aim."
In addition, said Kohut, exit-polls and his organization's own research
indicates that "the single most important issue motivating the electorate
to dump so many Republicans was the blind support GOP incumbents gave to
Bush's Iraq policy. The mood of the country is, and has been for some time
now, that Bush made a bad mistake taking the country to war on false
premises, that he has no real plan for extricating our troops, and that
the Republicans did not exercise any real oversight of his actions. Voters
are expressing hope that the Democrats might be better able to get our
troops out of there and back home."
Nancy Pelosi, who is primed to become the new Speaker of the House in
January, said: "The American people have indicated, in no uncertain terms,
that they want to change the way things are done in Washington, and we are
ready to bring fresh policies and approaches to the legislative process.
We will do this with regard to the war in Iraq, education reforms,
affordable health-care, and budgetary restraint; we also vow to work to
restore the Constitutional protections of our civil liberties that have
been so mangled by the Bush Administration over the past six years."
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined in: "The tactics of
fear, slime and dirty tricks no longer work. The American people have
wised up to these guys. Their arrogance and authoritarian tactics have
been thoroughly rejected. We vow to take our country back to rational and
civil behavior, even as we confront our opponents politically."
Karl Rove, the architect of the GOP election strategy, vowed to fight on
for "true conservative values" when the new Congress is sworn-in in
late-January. Rove said the Republican Party will challenge the announced
results of numerous tight races, so that many of the Democratic winners
cannot be certified; the current membership of the House, dominated by the
Republicans, therefore will still be in charge to seat the "true winners,"
"Additionally," said Rove, "I remind Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that the
President still controls the agenda in this town, the use of our military
forces abroad, the right and duty to put people in jail who by their
dissent clearly are helping the terrorists. We expect that the Democrat
leaders will want to work with that reality rather than to continue their
campaign of partisan vendettas and personal destruction."
But veteran political analyst Norman Ornstein, of the American Enterprise
Institute, had a different point of view. "Prior to November 7, Bush was
showing signs of being a lame-duck president, weakened and often unable to
control all his own troops, military or civilian. Now he is a lame-duck
with barely one wing.
"His administration is indeed still to be reckoned with, but the momentum
now shifts to Congress, and the Democrats will let him know that shortly.
Bush can still use his veto pen, but the days of his forcing his bills
through Congress are effectively over. He either learns to compromise and
share power with Congress, or he will have no chance to secure a positive
legacy for his administration. But you never know what Cheney and Rove
will come up with; maybe they'll continue defying Congress, and Bush will
issue more 'signing statements' saying he won't necessarily obey the laws
they pass. In short, a constitutional crisis that could be, and should be,
Ornstein said the GOP lost so badly because "so many traditional and
moderate conservatives withdrew their approval from the radicals" that had
taken over the Republican Party in the past six years. "The more
traditional Republicans found the CheneyBush types simply too extreme, too
prone to military adventurism abroad, too incompetent in Iraq and
post-Katrina, too 'big-government' in terms of spending and violating
privacy. These old-fashioned Republicans wanted to send a message to their
party leaders to try a different direction and get back to the old GOP
values of small government, fiscal restraint, and caution in overseas
Story#2: Republicans Win a Squeaker
(Associated Press) November 8, 2006, Washington, D.C. -- The Republicans
today eked out bare-majorities in both the House and the Senate to hang on
to control of the Congress and give the Bush Administration a much-needed
victory jolt for its final two years in office.
Democrats said that they would challenge about a dozen of those apparent
victories in tight races, claiming electoral manipulation of vote totals
and blatant voter suppression of minority voters in key election battles.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said: "In those races, the final
election polls were in favor of the Democratic candidates by four points
or more, and the exit polls revealed clear Democratic victories of about
4%. But at the last minute, during the vote tabulation process, it appears
that numbers were manipulated in the vote-counting computers, and suddenly
the Republican candidates emerged with a 2 or 3% majority. These 6- or
7-point switches, all in favor of Republicans, defies statistical and
political logic. In all of those twelve races, conducted on touchscreen
Diebold machines, there were no verified paper receipts that would make an
honest re-count possible."
"We will sue in court to overturn those clearly fraudulent results" said
Pelosi, "plus the egregious voter-suppression efforts that kept tens, if
not hundreds of thousands, of likely Democratic voters from casting their
ballots. Many were purged from the rolls in advance, and many were
negatively influenced from voting by the GOP's last-minute 'robocalling'
Vice President Cheney mocked Pelosi and other Democratic leaders as "sore
"We won by doing what we've always done," said Cheney. "They just don't
like it. In spite of all this talk about a supposed 'landslide' mood
across the country for the Democrat candidates, when it came down to
actually casting votes, our base held fast and we emerged victorious. The
Democrats get another bite of the apple in 2008, but for now they should
stop their loud whining and just lie back and accept their fate."
President Bush, addressing a GOP victory party at the White House, said:
"Our new mandate will be used wisely, to achieve victory in Iraq, to bring
Iran to its knees unless it stops enriching uranium, and to tighten our
laws to make it easier to go after terrorists and those who support them,
whether American citizens or not. We're in charge here, and, while of
course our citizens are free to express their minds, we will tolerate no
unpatriotic dissent in this time of war."
Bush used the speech also to announce that Supreme Court Justices John
Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsberg have agreed to retire -- "for their
personal health," said the President -- and that he will appoint Law
Professors John Yoo and Douglas Kmiec to fill those two High Court slots.
Yoo, now teaching at UC-Berkeley, was the key Justice Department lawyer
who provided the rationale justifying torture of terrorist suspects and
for Bush being able to violate laws when he's acting as "commander in
chief" during "wartime." Kmiec is a law professor at Pepperdine
University, who often offers legal opinions on network television in
support of Bush policies.
"With Kmiec and Yoo in place," said Bush, "Americans can rest assured that
abortion will be outlawed, our 'unitary executive' position will be
validated, and now we can get on with our agenda without constantly having
to be looking over our shoulder. It's full speed ahead."
In a separate development, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced
that the Administration would be building a metal, electrified,
20-foot-high fence all along the Canadian border, "to make sure that those
malcontents opposing our policies will not have free and open access to
routes of escape to our northern neighbor. If they persist in their
illegal dissent by questioning our anti-terrorism policies, they will find
themselves in the re-education camps currently being readied by FEMA."
Copyright 2006 by Bernard Weiner
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught
government & international relations at universities in California and
Washington, worked as a writer/editor at the San Francisco Chronicle for two
decades, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org).
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