Cross-posted at TPM and The Public Servant
The Bob and Ray version of the end of Curt Gowdy's Red Sox pregame show on the late WHDH had them saying that they were rounding third and getting thrown out at the plate.
With apologies to the superstitious among us who don't want to jinx anything, I hear the same tsunami on its way, and have no doubt about what's to come only its extent.
Still, this essay continues to urge perspective: something DailyKos does not necessarily specialize in, as we near an election that could change everything, or maybe just a few things. It will not be apparent on November 5 which happened, no matter what the bloviators say and there will only be so much that the progressive community can do in the short term to push this they way we want it to be.
Look at the difference between the 1928 and 1932 electoral maps and try to ignore the fact that blue (at least in 1928) was nothing more than the legacy of the confederacy which President Johnson bequeathed to the Republican Party almost 40 years later.
The reason for this spectacular change in the way Americans viewed the parties was named Hebert Hoover. But President Roosevelt and his supporters understood that Hoover would never be on the ballot again and that while he and his worn out party of empty, avaricious speculators and the forever wealthy had worn out their welcome in 1932, the substitution of Franklin Roosevelt for Herbert Hoover would not change the lives of Americans sufficiently to mean much in 1936, nor even in 1934, when the non-presidential national elections would next take place.
As Senator Clinton suggested lo those many months ago, the election of Senator Obama and Democratic majorities in Congress, even a supposedly "veto proof" Senate, will not cause celestial beings to commence singing, and we will not have the sense of liberation that, say, about 30 % of Germany felt when the Berlin Wall fell. We might have some sense of a lesser level "end of an era" but hardly the "end of history" that Fukiyama famously proclaimed in 1991.
But just as a unified Germany did not live up to the promises of nearly 50 years of division, the end of Bush, means very little beyond, well, the end of Bush. The people who elected or managed to get G W Bush the presidency will not have gone away and their vote for Senator Obama, from Christopher Buckley's to Ken Adelman's and, one supposes, David Brooks' is a reflection of that Bush, and of Senator McCain's selection of Sarah Palin. You can keep dreaming, if you would like, but neither Bush, nor Gov Palin will be on any ballot in 2012.
Yes, I am of the "first hundred days" school. There is no question that the 100 days after March 4, 1933 changed our country, the electorate and the very way we think about the federal government in ways that still apply today. (I intend to read Alter's book during the shorter interim between election and inauguration that we have today, but this lecture is worth listening to for those who want a shorter version of the argument. And, yes, though revisionist history refuses to acknowledge it, the first 100 days of President Kennedy and of President Johnson, while not as revolutionary, perhaps, made marks on our country that resonate today as well.
So, yes, thanks, oddly to George W Bush, our time has come. He has made his mark on our country and we owe some thanks to him for showing why more competence and less ideology is necessary in the presidency. But he will not be on any more ballots and will soon become forgotten (though Hoover managed to be a useful word to campaign on as late as 1964).
The point is not to replicate the Roosevelt hundred days. That is ridiculous. The point is to change the country in a way that will command the support of a large majority of the public before the general cynicism about government takes root. It does not mean sending Dick Cheney to prison, though that may be where he belongs. There are more important things at stake.
The other day, I heard someone say that it is not the socialism that Sen Obama is accused of proposing that should concern Americans. It is the "national socialism" that we hear from Governor Palin's campaign and many of her acolytes that should concern us: the branding of some Americans as not "real Americans" and the cause of all of our problems.
Because, my friends (as Governor Roosevelt said well before Sen McCain did), "our problems" are just beginning and they may well be deep, systemic problems ameliorated, if at all, by aspects of the New Deal which still operate to protect against the worst of what we experienced from 1929 until World War II. And, World War II, lest we forget, was the natural outgrowth of what the national socialists (the Nazis in shorthand) achieved by explaining that the economic troubles facing Germans was not their fault, but that of "outsiders" even some who had been born in their country and lived among them for centuries but yet were not "Germans."
In short, bad times almost always bring out the worst in humanity.
We are headed into times which call for a Roosevelt. I hope we have found him, but only time will tell, as the bloviators used to say and should again.
Celebrate indeed on November 4, but do not fool yourself in thinking our liberation is going to come that easy. Many dark days are ahead and we will need the leadership of the best among us to get us through this.