The Democrats Won, Big Deal

Thank goodness it’s finally over. Well almost, anyway. Recounts are still going on out in Montana where Jon Tester holds a slight lead over incumbent Senator Conrad Burns. The Democrats swept the House last night and now they are oh-so-close to controlling the United States Senate. And the message voters sent Bush is being heard loud and clear: the Republicans and this war are not popular in America.

Pundits are claiming that it was the antiwar vote that helped usher the Dems back into power. It’s just too bad that the Democrats aren’t going to repay their constituents with anything worthwhile. For the war in Iraq will rage on.

Third party antiwar candidates didn’t fare as well as they would have liked. Aaron Dixon, who ran as a Green in Washington State, garnered a little over 10,000 votes. Green candidate Howie Hawkins, who ran against Sen. Hillary Clinton in New York, scored a little over 51,500 votes. Independent candidate Kevin Zeese of Maryland, who made his way into a series of debates in the state, cashed in over 23,700 votes, while Green Todd Chreiten of California topped 106,000 in his bid to take on Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Overall, it could have been worse — as all aforementioned candidacies were virtually ignored by the mainstream antiwar movement.

Whether or not you’re feeling good about last night’s results, you can rest assured that the Empire is still in tact. Impeachment of this outlaw administration isn’t going to fall down within the next two years. Nancy Pelosi, the new House leader, has promised as much. Deaths in Iraq will continue to mount and no exit strategy will play out in the coming months. Global warming will still not be addressed. Nor will our position on Israel, the war on drugs, free trade, or privatized health care. Basically things are still damn bleak despite the liberal take over of Washington.

As I sat at the bar last night watching the tallies roll in, cheers from across the room would interrupt my daydreaming — another Democrat had won. I have to admit, I too felt good about the defeat of Rick Santorum and a few other filthy Republicans. It’s nice to see a rabid homophobe go down in flames now and again. But it is just too bad that nothing substantial will come out of it. Bob Casey, Santorum’s replacement, is pro-life and anti-gay himself. But the lesser-evil won, so shut up and be happy about it.

In New York, K Street watchdog Eliot Spitzer was victorious in his quest for the governorship. And like Barack Obama, Spitzer is seen as a beacon of hope within the Democratic establishment. But like Obama, Spitzer has his sour issues. Aside from supporting the death penalty and the war in Iraq, Spitzer was one of the chief architects of New York’s own version of the PATRIOT Act.

It was an exhibit of what’s to come in 2008. Centrism in the Democratic Party is back. Not that it ever left, it’s just in power again. The Democrats won last night, not because they offered voters any real choices — they won because people were fed up with the Republicans and their deceitful ways.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush and edits www.BrickBurner.org.



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JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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