The voting is over. The tidal wave has struck.
Liberals, conditioned by over a decade of pre-election optimism and subsequent slapdowns, found their wildest projections exceeded and the voting results climbing to the level of their secret and unvoiced dreams. Not only was there a seismic shift in the House (did we hit 30 pickups, or am I speaking too soon? I know that +29 has been called for certain), but the Senate appears to be at worst 50-50. (And at best, um ... about 50-50, since new Bush buddy Joe Lieberman is #51.) Democrats now control 28 out of 50 governorships and made broad pickups in state-level legislatures.
These elections were a victory. A clear, unambigous, victory for sanity. A repudiation of the crimes, lies, greed, excess, divisiveness, pettiness, and destruction of American ideals that we've suffered through continuously for the last 2,119 days. This is the beginning of the end of Bushism.
... A victory? Hell no, a rout! Not a single Democratic incumbent lost their House or Senate seat. This is unprecedented in modern U.S. politics.
Of course, this is not the end of the movie; there won't be any credits rolling after the good guys' overwhelming and improbable victory. There is plenty of work left to do. But we DID win, and this is a time to celebrate.
And more than celebration ... it's a time for schadenfreude. (* mp3 link)
As the song says: "That's not very nice!" "... Nope, but everybody does it!"
Because I love this country -- and its ideals of freedom; economic and social equality; and responsible governance -- the vocal mainstream of the right wing and its elected representatives have unloaded an unending stream of vitriol at me and my fellow progressive Americans since 2001. So, if sore losers on the radical right want to get a bug up their ass about a day or two of open gloating from our side of the fence? Fuck them. I would feel a little bit more guilty about my behavior if the same people complaining could go longer than, oh, two weeks without casually flinging diagnoses of "Bush Derangement Syndrome"  in our direction or trotting out the tired "aid and comfort to the enemy" line whenever the media offers critical stories about Iraq . And it's not just the blog wingnuts who have spent the last five years equating Democrats and liberals with terrorists. Thanks for your years of middle fingers, guys; now sit. and. spin.
I'll get this out of my system in a few days, and I'll be perfectly happy to return to my usual political maturity after that, but in the meantime, pop the champagne cork and hum along with the mp3 that should by now have finished downloading. Gloating at the misfortune of others begins ... NOW:
- First, the hard-core Republican reaction. Crooked Timber and Alicublog round up the devastation and recrimination among the foam-at-the-mouth wingnut crowd. And even Bush mouthpiece Tony Snow's favorite blogger wilted: "I don't think anyone can honestly look at the results tonight and say that we saw anything less than a trip to the woodshed for the Republicans." It's almost enough to make a fellow feel sorry for his opponents; another 2,118 days of their wailing and they'll have my sympathy for sure.
- It's been a real bad week for two old conservative friends in particular.
- And ... what? President Bush's campaign stops might have hurt his GOP allies? Say it ain't so! It's not like the guy loves throwing his allies under a bus or anything. The Bush administration: Where loyalty is rewarded with a helpful kick in the ass on your way out, and yet they flock to drink the Kool-Aid anyway.
- A conservative blog roundup shows that the shellshocked wingnuts have started to move from confusion to denial. (Or maybe that's the other way around?) Democrats may have won, but they're dragging down the stock market! Democrats may have won, but because Ned Lamont lost the liberal netroots are discredited! The Democratic sweep proves that the USA is really a conservative nation! And "Man-on-Dog" Santorum's loss is awesome because it frees him up for a SCOTUS seat!
- Here's one for kadyg: Go Kansas!
- You know, it's a lot easier to remember the Bush administration's worst misdeeds when we finally have some real hope we have seen the worst of them. Of course, it's also a lot easier to remember the Bush Greatest Hits when they're set to music. (No actual music at link, just lots of pictures and lyrics.)
And, extra credit bonus gloat:
- Has anyone ever bothered to point out that, according to the Rapture Index, the closest we've gotten to Armageddon was under Republican rule and near-universal Bush popularity; and the farthest was back when Democrats controlled all three branches of government?
Savor those links. Let them sink in for a week or two. There's a lot of hard work up ahead on a political, ideological, and cultural level ... but there will be time to get to it after the giddiness dies down.
If we want to truly save this country, we have to vaccinate the public (and, especially, the media) against the wholesale construction of false realities by GOP propagandists (edited to add: Bonus link) and corporate flacks. We have to fight to victory in the existing constitutional crisis. We have to build, probably from the ground up, an enduring and appealing liberal vision to inspire a mass movement behind our idealism and keep a public from falling back into the pseudo-fascists' arms once the inevitable disillusionment with the current crop of political winners occurs. We have to clean house of the ugly and disproven mindset that Democrats can only win by being Republicans-lite. We have to solidify the grassroots advantage that liberal bloggers and online communities have begun to build.
With a big victory under our belt, and a chance to finally set the agenda after a decade of invective and exclusion, maybe it's a challenge American progressives can handle after all.