E.J. Dionne’s column in today’s Washington Post ponders the consequence of an extremely partisan Congress likely after the elections, no matter who wins. Of course, Bush has the better prospects in that it’s unlikely that the House would be in Democratic control, even if Kerry wins.
Other pundits have questioned whether Kerry’s options would be so constrained by the deficits Bush would leave behind that a new administration could do little more than ask Americans to swallow the castor oil admixture of spending restraints and higher taxes.
As we look post-Nov. 2, no matter who wins, the most intriguing question is what happens to the energy created by the dump-Bush movement. Will the unprecedented contributions by small donors and the activism by the fresh grassroots result in a movement that could impact either administration?
I sense a near revolt if Bush wins. He’ll likely ignore it, but will it be strong enough to form a coalition of moderate Republicans, as Dionne suggests, to rein in a lame duck Bush-Cheney juggernaut? Even if moderate Senate Republicans hunker down, nothing will stop the executive branch of a second Bush administration from running amok. What kind of civil protest would be required to stop it? And is the energy there?
Even if Kerry wins, will the grassroots, many of whom consider Kerry too cautious and moderate in his proposals, have the legs to lead a transformation of the country? Will we really see health care become a right, not a privilege of the rich? Will the economic disparity between rich and poor be addressed in a meaningful way?
There is a palpable fear of what a second Bush reign would bring. Even among the upper middle class people gathered for the MoveOn town hall meeting in Fairfax, Va., that I attended earlier this week, there was a deep mistrust of Bush. One guy said he was convinced that if the election were close — and by every indication it will be – he was convinced the Bushies would “steal” the election through some legalistic maneuver or electronic skullduggery. Many folks nodded their heads
When that kind of fear and mistrust spreads, who knows what revolt may result if Bush wins. But if he loses, will newly activated Democrats think Bush in Crawford is good enough? I hope not. There’s much work to be done – and undone.