Politics & Policy

Don’t Despair

Five reasons to keep your chin up.

The Democrats won control of the House and Senate. Nancy Pelosi will be the next speaker of the House. Rummy has been retired. John Bolton, probably the flyest ambassador we ever sent to the United Nations, won’t even get a fair up-or-down vote from appeasement-happy legislators. And to add a pinch of torture worthy of the Geneva Conventions, we’re bombarded by the details of the freaky, tonsil-hockey Scientology wedding of TomKat.

#ad#One may wonder, what is there to be thankful for this Turkey Day? It’s like signs of the apocalypse are knocking on the screen door (not to mention your relatives) and we’re supposed to just dig into the cranberry sauce.

In the interest of encouraging a shot-glass-half-full mentality in these darkening times, everyone should remember the Five Things To Be Thankful for (Even with a Democratic Majority):

1. Al Qaeda endorsed the Democrats’ victory. Of course we shouldn’t be thankful for the American voters casting ballots in a way that is met with approval from al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (“They voted for something reasonable in the last elections,” he said), but this episode of Spanish elections redux (post-Madrid train bombings) gives cause to scream “Told you so!” over the gravy to every appeasement-loving lefty this Thanksgiving. It’s as simple as mashing potatoes:  If al Qaeda hates George W. Bush with such vitriol (“the most stupid president,” said al-Muhajir), he must be doing something right. He’s scaring them. He’s keeping them on the run. He’s taking the fight to them. When al-Qaeda starts lashing out at Pelosi as their most bad enemy in the whole wide world, we’ll talk.

2. Iran probably won’t have nukes by next Thanksgiving. And Benjamin Netanyahu still has a microphone to attempt to warn the clueless of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nefarious intentions, in the face of entities like the Guardian using wussy terms such as “less-than-dovish demeanour” to describe Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Of course, Iran is pressing forward with its plans over anyone’s objections, and you may not be thankful that “Iran” doesn’t seem to be on the Democrats’ lips, but at least Mahmoud is probably thanking his lucky stars.

3. Sen. George Allen, fresh off his defeat by steamy-book-writer Jim Webb, will most likely not be the Republican nominee for the White House in 2008. And that’s a good thing, because I want the GOP to keep the White House, and Allen would not win. I admit I never was a champion of his candidacy even before he uttered the “macaca” heard ’round the world. I used to disagree with pundits who lifted him up as the next beacon of light for the GOP just on the grounds that the man is about as exciting as paint thinner. Put against a charismatic, if ideologically lamebrained, Democratic opponent in the presidential race, he would lose. After the Webb race, Allen’s political closet is now very obviously stuffed with things for the Democrats to use. And the Republicans can’t afford to go into such a key contest already limping.

4. John Murtha’s not as cool as he thought. Or as cool as Nancy thought. But the loss (149-86) of the antiwar poster boy to Steny Hoyer for the majority leader post is something to be thankful for, and for a couple of reasons. First, Pelosi, who pushed for Murtha, got eggnog on her face, and that alone was just fun to watch. “Pelosi did not have to choose sides in this fight,” wrote David Corn in The Nation. “But because she fiercely lobbied her fellow House Democrats for Murtha — after first saying she would remain neutral in this bitter battle — she begins her tenure as speaker with a loss that was self-inflicted.” Second is the possibility that moderation won when it came to war ideology. Perhaps, just perhaps, this means there won’t be another impetuous pullout in the spirit of a George McGovern.

5. Saddam Hussein is a dead turkey walking. Soon vast amounts will be saved by nixing the tyrant’s Doritos bill, and Ramsey Clark will have to find a new judiciary to annoy. Saddam’s appeal — which will take about 20 years less than a capital case in the U.S. — has been proceeding even as European progressives attempt revenge by ludicrously trying to nail Donald Rumsfeld on war crimes. We don’t yet know if Saddam will be executed by Christmas, New Year’s, or Groundhog Day, but it will be a holiday in Iraq nonetheless (except perhaps in pouty Tikrit).

Feeling better already? It doesn’t stop there, as there’s much more to be thankful for: You weren’t invited to the TomKat wedding. You’re not having Thanksgiving dinner with Pelosi and Murtha. You’re alive today because you decided not to wait in line for a Sony PlayStation 3. And John Kerry still thinks he’s a viable presidential candidate after his “botched joke”  (though he still hasn’t admitted that his 2004 White House run was a botched joke).

And thank goodness for all these reasons for thanksgiving, because things aren’t bound to look up anytime soon. Hugo Chavez is about to re-elect himself president. Charlie Rangel is the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (where’s that bottle of Kennedy cheer?). And T.M.X. Elmo promises to turn Toys “R” Us into Sadr City this Christmas season.

Okay, go ahead and drown those Democratic-majority sorrows in the pumpkin pie.

— Bridget Johnson is a columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She blogs at GOP Vixen.

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