It’s good to be the king for a change

by Ogi Overman

It’s been a good week to be a Democrat. After six years of getting slapped around by the neo-cons, the xenophobes, the war hawks and the Rapture Right, the pendulum has begun to swing back in our favor. Maybe, just maybe, it’s our turn. And to think we owe it all to that little rosy-cheeked Republican from Florida. All together now, “Hang down your head, Mark’… Foley.”

Hey, I’d have been happy with the NIE Report, asserting that Bush’s war on Iraq has exacerbated rather than ameliorated terrorism worldwide. Of course, we already knew this, but it was good to see some vindication, some hard evidence that this invasion and occupation was unnecessary and continues to be counterproductive.

Then we got Woodward’s book, State of Denial, which again reaffirmed what we already knew: that Bush lives in a bubble occupied only by sycophants, that his administration ignored evidence of an impending terrorist attack, and that their incompetence, compounded by irrational stubbornness, has been one unrelenting train wreck.

But then this Foley fiasco’… This is manna from Beltway heaven. This is the gift that keeps on giving. This is the Perfect Storm of political payback. This is the straw that broke the GOP’s back.

The beauty of Foleygate is that it has virtually emasculated the one person who needed it most. No, not Foley, not Hastert, not the rest of the Republican congressional so-called leadership, but Karl Rove himself. Bush’s Brain. Remember, it was Rove, twisted genius that he is, who delivered the 2004 election to the Duh by devising a scheme to get their evangelical base out to the polls. He reasoned – correctly, as it turned out – that they needed 4 million fundamentalists to come out (oops, bad choice of words), I mean, turn out to the polls and vote their way. And what better way – better even than appealing to their compliant patriotism and inducing irrational fear of the unknown – than to appeal to their homophobia? And the way to do that was to float the gay marriage amendment out there, make it a wedge issue, and take the focus off the real issue of Iraq. By getting the gay marriage referendum on the ballot in, as I recall, 14 states, many of them battleground states, he basically ensured that this red herring would determine the outcome of the election.

Meanwhile, we were naively pinning our hopes on getting out the college-student vote, when, in retrospect, the only thing that would get them to the polls would be free beer and pizza. (If Rove were a leftie and needed the youth vote, he would have floated reinstating the draft and gotten that on the ballot. By God, that would’ve emptied the dorms and frat houses on Election Day.)

So now, the whole morals and values issues have been completely wiped off the table, thanks to my new best friend, Mark “Turn the Page” Foley. Without an issue to galvanize them, the Bible thumpers, who typically vote, well’… religiously, will likely vote in proportion to the rest of the populace. And that may be just enough to send the 15 GOP congressmen that we need packing. In fact, I saw one pollster last week who said their numbers had Democrats ahead in seven of the 11 Senate seats that are up for grabs. All we need, brothers and sisters, is six.

I’ve learned from bitter experience that, tempting though it may be, now is not the time to gloat. Even with less than a month to go before Nov. 7, Rove may still have another trick up his sleeve. He was counting on getting his Big Oil cronies to drop prices so that that issue would be taken off the table for the Dems, but that didn’t work. He tried to provoke the president of Iran into a confrontation, but Bush couldn’t pronounce his name, so that didn’t work either. Even the old fallback position of the three “I’s” – invoking 9-11, inducing fear, and insisting that only they can protect us from those Islamofascists lurking under the bed – seems not to have any traction lately.

And the real beauty of all this is that the one thing both the administration and the GOP-controlled Congress could do to turn the tide back in their favor is the one thing they cannot do. They could admit they made a mistake and it would all go away. Bush could have an epiphany and realize that Iraq is an unmitigated disaster and beg forgiveness, and the American people would give it. Likewise, Hastert and the rest of the gang could admit that they covered up for Foley’s sexual shenanigans all these years, and the public would forgive and forget.

But some folks are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves – and a goodly number of them are Republicans.

And a goodly number of them are going to be out of a job come Nov. 7.

Ogi may be reached at