Friday, November 10, 2006

The Aftermath

I must admit, I admire Stephen Colbert's Colbert Report. For those of you unfamiliar with it, this is a show which profiles the news and current events of the day, but in a satirical format. It's what Canada's own Rick Mercer Report tries to be, only it's actually funny. His critics think he's not funny because they're not smart enough to get his jokes. Colbert's humour is intelligent & sophisticated, so much so that he is called slapstick and juvenile, with one critic even saying he was "sub-Three Stooges."

Well, of course he's sub-Three Stooges - they were the very kingpins of comedy. Everybody else wants to be as popular and as culturally iconic as Larry, Moe, and Curly (yes, I know, and Shemp, and Curly Joe too).

Colbert's style is unique: he pretends to root for the Republicans, but it's an act. Still, sometimes, I like to watch his show and sit back, close my eyes, and pretend that he's really a conservative, and that he really believes in traditional values. His reaction on the night of November 7, when the Democrats took the House and the Senate (or, as Colbert quipped, the terrorists won), was priceless. All fake, all play-acted, yes, but it was still kind of nice to see somebody portray - even satirically - how I felt on a mainstream American comedy show.

Yes, I think the Democrat victory is an unfortunate thing. But then I read James Taranto from the Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today November 8th column and think it might not be all bad. He makes a few key points:

  • The Republicans deserved to lose. When they took power 12 years ago, they promised smaller government and significant reforms. But the government size grew, deficits appeared again, and spending went up. When polled on who would be more likely to lower taxes & cut spending, Americans overwhelmingly picked the Democrats.
  • The result was not a referendum on the Iraq war. Of the five Republicans who voted against the war, three were defeated. Also, pro-war Joe Lieberman, who didn't receive his Democratic Party's nomination, ran as an independent and won his Senate seat back.
  • It was not a victory for the left. The Democrats openly admit they approached evangelical, socially conservative Christians to run for them, and they may find a hard time controlling that segment of their caucus if they don't change many of their overall policies around issues close to the hearts of those candidates.
  • The "Angry Left" may be rendered impotent. They complained that 2000 and 2004 were stolen elections because they were such close calls. So will they boast that they stole this one for themselves? Or will they fade quietly into the night, never to be heard from again? We can only hope.
David Warren also cast a prediction on this outcome:

...the event might actually free President Bush from many of the restraints of holding Republican factions together. We might paradoxically find that a lame-duck presidency quacks to new life in its final two years, as Mr Bush directs his sights away from mundane politics. He has been consistently underestimated by media that despise him.

All told, it's going to be an interesting two years until the next big election down there. It'll also be neat to observe a liberal America from a Conservative Canada.

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