Unless the November 7 election is stolen, as blatantly as Robert Mugabe might steal it, Democrats are going to sweep to victory.
TV analysts aren't allowed to say this because the votes haven't been cast. They have to hedge their bets. Most are so accustomed to Republicans pulling rabbits out of the hat that they play along willingly.
But this election is, in every meaningful sense, already over.
Republicans have no issues on which to build a comeback. Even on terrorism and morality, voters now believe Democrats more. Want to change the subject? Let's talk about Iraq. They really are caught between Iraq and a hard place.
In terms of history this is not unusual. Most elections held in the 6th year of a President's term end up this way. It happened to Ronald Reagan in 1986. It should have happened to Clinton, but Republicans overplayed their hand. And that's about all they have to hang on to. The idea that Democrats will overplay their hand.
In fact something deeper is happening right now. It's not just that voters are questioning the policies of this President. Thanks in large part to the fecklessness with which people like James Dobson have treated La Cage Aux Foley (if he could get away with it he'd do just what Gene Hackman did in The Birdcage and come out in drag) the blinders have fallen off.
Millions of good Christian people, who honestly believed that their pastors cared about issues of sex and culture, have now watched those same leaders hem and haw and excuse and toss blame and generally behave like moneychangers in the temple, the only people mentioned in the Gospels whom Jesus actually went-off on.
Liberals don't like to admit this, but there really has been a “great awakening” going on in America these last few decades. Baby boomers who saw their cohorts sink into drugs and despair, and who sought something to believe in, came to believe fervently in the pastors of the megachurches, the very people who are now letting them down.
These good people (and they want to be good people) have come to their preachers this year with tough questions. What about the Earth, they have asked? What about Iraq, they have asked? What about the poor in New Orleans, and everywhere else, they have asked?
In response they have been given rhetoric. Political rhetoric about the evil gays, about the evil Mexicans, about the evil Democrats, about the evil Muslims, about The Other. Never, not once, have these preachers dealt seriously, in a humane and Christian way, with their congregations. And slowly, over the year many of these congregants (and some preachers as well) have fallen away.
It isn't La Cage that crystallized all this. It was the reaction to it. Every single excuse – it was the pages, it was the Democrats, it was the media, it was Foley himself (and taken care of) – every single talking point was knocked down. Sometimes almost as fast as it was uttered. Suddenly people realized just how they had been played.
It reminded me of something Orson Scott Card said in his “Secular Humanist Revival Meeting” about preachers attacking evolution, despite the evidence, despite the fact that “God could have used evolution to create our world.” When it becomes too much, everything becomes open to question. “If you lied about evolution, maybe you lied about redemption by grace.” Or “If you lied about Foley, maybe you lied about Iraq.”
I have heard many idiots on the television, these last few days, suggest that “Foley has driven Iraq off the front page” and maybe people have forgotten about it, so maybe it's all to the Republicans' good. This too is a talking point, which is to say nonsense. People know what's going on in Iraq. People know the Emperor has no Clue. People know that our treasure and a generation of believers in America are being sacrificed to no purpose. The Silent Majority is silently seething.
La Cage Aux Foley, and the nonsense associated with it, crystallized something that was already there. It set people's minds in stone. They won't be changed. Their choice can only be stolen.
If the Republicans do steal this election, it will be so obvious that all of them – all of them – will be destroyed. Not just pushed out of office. Their lives will be forfeit, their fortunes will be seized , their families will either be killed or die in exile like those of Third World despots. Because that's what they will have become.
Americans don't put up with that shit.