It is fitting that the country music awards followed by one night the midterm elections.Ê It is equally fitting that Alan Jackson, the humble, deferential Georgia writer and singer of simple songs swept the table in stunning similarity to the President's sweep the night before.
Previously we have observed that certain people might shouldn't play poker with the current President of the United States.Ê That list now expands exponentially--to pollsters, pundits, the meek...oh, hell, to just about anybody who isn't Karl Rove and Karen Hughes.
In an act of political courage and conviction unequalled in the lifetime of many voters, a President who had been said not to have the cards bet the ranch that he did, drawing from an ace of clubs to a royal flush.Ê He won because the stakes didn't scare him, the bluffers fooled only the kibitzers and the sleeve cards couldn't hit the table.
For a change in national political poker, jokers didn't count.Ê Voters concerned about the economy reckoned that additional taxes won't fix it.Ê Voters concerned about national security were not comforted by the hand wringers and naysayers.Ê Voters concerned about the delivery of justice touchscreened away the obstructions.Ê Voters who live the plainspoken lives about which Alan Jackson sings just said no to the snake oil.
In truth, many who lost made fatal mistakes, among them believing their own publicity.Ê Reputed giant killer Bill McBride, running for Governor of Florida, with Clinton, McAuliffe and Gore as his corner boys, showed himself to be just another empty suit.Ê Governor Roy Barnes of Georgia, having encouraged talk about his position on a future national ticket, forgot where he is from.Ê Jean Carnahan and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend learned little from their apprenticeships.
Of the several Republicans who lost in hotly contested races, the cause was the same.Ê Doug Forrester of New Jersey made the mistake of winning in October, not November.Ê Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas got taught that if you campaign on family values, it's a good idea to live with them also.
The cryogenic politics of Walter Mondale were finally repudiated in his own state, although the bizarre dynamics of that race also played a part.Ê Erskine Bowles acted as if he had never heard of Bill Clinton; Carl McCall acted like Clinton's brother.Ê Massachusetts improbably rejected Shannon O'Brien for Mitt Romney, although there's an inkling that might well have been rejection of Hillary Clinton with Ms. O'Brien as proxy.
Frank Lautenberg, who won, may be wishing he hadn't, not having signed on to sit in a minority corner trying to remember all that legislation he thinks he may once have sponsored.
Neither of Vermont's senators was up for re-election, but both must be hoping for a real good maple syrup harvest, because not much pork is going to ship to Vermont for a spell.Ê James Jeffords, who jumped the Republican ship to become an "Independent" and give Democrats the majority in the Senate, may find himself a little lonely.Ê Patrick Leahy, who as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee turned judicial confirmation hearings into ugliness inappropriate for any government body, should probably reconfirm his reservations in the senate dining room several times.
In hindsight, Democrats of Georgia may be rethinking redistricting Saxby Chambliss out of his congressional seat.Ê When you play mean in politics, you may just face meaner.
Those who are paid large sums of money to apply sophisticated analysis to politics will undoubtedly do better than we have in explaining all of this, following their stellar performance before the election.
For the moment, we think the sum total boils down to a question:Ê If you were in politics now, would you rather be buddies with President Bush or Tom Daschle, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Richard Gephardt, Terry McAuliffe, Barbra Streisand and Al Gore?Ê Seven dwarfs in search of the lockbox.November 7, 2002