For those of intelligence and grace, here's more on the above.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Drifting, drifting, you are drifting in a cloud of blue. Deep blue, sky blue, sea blue, all blue. Everywhere you look it is blue, and the blue is calming. You realize that you have been tense for far too long. Perhaps you will be tense again, but right now: You have found the harmony you have been seeking.
The vault of the sky, the shimmer of the sea. Blue.
How can you find this inner peace? Click on over to tinyurl.com/7fdhh, which is an item from Daily Kos, one of those blog things. Perhaps you are reading this on BART or in the lunchroom, and you can't click on over. Let me describe what you would see.
Visualize a map of the United States, with each state colored according to the approval ratings it gave the president in the latest SurveyUSA, a poll funded by a consortium of media organizations. Those states in which more people approve than disapprove are colored pink (for mildly approve) or orange (for moderately approve). There are no red states, because there are no states in which the president's approval rating tops 60 percent.
But there are deep blue states, oh yes, because there are many states where the president's approval rating is less than 35 percent. I am proud to say that I live in one of those states. Even more disapproving than California is New York. Well, sure, you say: Those are the effete, gay-loving, Christ-hating coastal states. What of the heartland? What of the states that George Bush won in 2004?
Oops, they don't like him either. Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky: all blue. Texas is blue. Iowa is really blue, almost as blue as Illinois. Florida: blue. Colorado: blue. Isn't this fun? If this is not fun for you, move on.
Georgia: blue. Nevada: blue. We un-Bush people -- Democrats, Libertarians, conservationists, progressives, ozone-huggers and torture-haters -- have felt just a little abandoned recently. Now, it would appear, the pendulum has swung. (Memo to politicians of all persuasions: The pendulum always swings. The people you meet on the way up are the same people you meet on the way down. That's why arrogance is a bad idea; that's why hubris has such a bad rep.)
Surely it's not a clean sweep. Well, no, three states are still firmly in the president's camp: Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. The Sagebrush Rebellion lives on.
This has been coming for a long time. Reality has not been on the president's side. It seems as if every time one of his aides says that something is true, oh dear, it turns out not to be true. Retrenchment is needed. Statements become inoperative, and are replaced by other statements that are also eventually inoperative. Many people believed in George Bush and were willing to cut him slack. But however much slack he was granted, he somehow needed more. As any 12-year-old boy will tell you, this tactic is eventually self-defeating.
Not that this means much of anything in electoral terms. Most seats in the House are safe because they're designed to be safe. Incumbents win. In my district, no one has a shot of beating Barbara Lee. Most districts are like that. Senators are not quite so automatic, but they have six-year terms, so change comes slowly. George Bush's poll numbers in November 2005 are not significant, except for the feeling of calm engendered by the blue sweep across the continent.
What is worrisome is that the president seems to be getting the wrong message from the declining poll numbers. The Founding Fathers thought that fear of losing elections would be a powerful goad to moderation. But the president can't run again, and he is not by nature reflective.
He believes what he believes, and the exigencies of the moment will not sway him. That would be an admirable trait, except that he is apparently now almost entirely surrounded by people who lie to him, so what he believes is not, alas, true. We have not turned the corner in Iraq; there is no corner to turn. Global warming is more than just a theory, however convenient it would be if that weren't true. Saying that no child will be left behind is not the same thing as leaving no child behind.
Thirteen million children in the United States are malnourished. They are by definition behind.
But, no, wait, I'm calm. I was preachy there for just a moment, but I'm calm now. I will put the big blue map on my computer screen. I will take it as tentative confirmation that the system works. We have been contemplating the question: Can you fool enough of the people enough of the time? The answer, tentatively and conditionally, is no. Hooray.
URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f ... FU32V1.DTL
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