Updated 11/3/98 4:35PM
Watch for an attempt to delegitimize any gains Republicans might make today. The outlines of the Democratic spin are already clear from President Clinton's interview on BET last night. Clinton, according to the Hotline, complained about the Republicans' fund-raising advantage (Democrats' difficulties in raising money legally he apparently considers unfair). More interesting was Clinton's reference to "what we know the electorate as a whole feels." In other words, the voters who show up don't accurately represent the country because they're disproportionately conservative. We got a foretaste of this in 1994, when Republican gains were treated as slightly suspect because they allegedly resulted from the decisions of "angry white males."
The answer is: So what? Votes are votes, and we still decide some things through a deliberative decision rather than a poll. Voting is pretty easy in the U.S.; if Democrats can't get enough votes, it's because people are against them or don't feel it's worth the effort to do anything for them. Either way, the results register the voters' hierarchy of preferences.
"When economist June O'Neill became director of the Congressional Budget Office four years ago," the Washington Post editorializes today, "the question was whether she would be able to defend the integrity of the organization against the wishes of the House Republicans who picked her. Our sense is that she has done so." Translation: There have been no major tax cuts. Hooray!
We're all familiar with the double standard toward expressions of anger in politics: The Left is righteously indignant; the Right spreads "hate." Ditto, it turns out, for "mean-spiritedness." Yesterday's Hotline contained two gems from the end of campaign season. First was our First Lady on the consequences of a victory by Illinois Senate candidate Peter Fitzgerald: "You will get an anti-woman, anti-education, anti-equal opportunity senator." And then there was ex-Governor Ann Richards demonstrating how she earned her "ex": "It makes no sense whatsoever to me that we are going to stand still and allow a bunch of right-wing bigots tell the women that some judge, or some policeman or some congressman or some legislator or some governor, is going to make the decision when we have children." Democrats still dine out on Newt Gingrich's long-ago description of them as the enemies of normal Americans. Casually calling someone "anti-woman," however, or calling pro-lifers bigots, is thought unremarkable.
Quote of the Week
"We all lie, all the time"
-Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., apparently speaking for American liberals.
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