One of the great recurring themes in literature and entertainment is the consequences of getting your fondest desire. In the classic tale “The Monkey’s Paw,” a couple is granted three wishes — but each comes with a terrible price. The law of unintended consequences is pretty much insurmountable, and the old saying “be careful what you wish for — you just might get it” is very sound advice.
Right now, the Democrats seem to have a solid — but narrow — majority in the House of Representatives, and a good shot at taking the Senate. They’be been saying that if they could just get the votes, they’d be able to solve a lot of our problems.
Well, now they’ve got their chance. Let’s see what they’ve got.
Of course, they don’t have a solid lock on power. Their majority in the House is very narrow, and will be even tighter in the Senate, even if they take the last two undecided seats. Plus President Bush might find just where the Clinton administration hid the “VETO” stamp (I suspect it ended up with the “W”s from White House computer keyboards) and start using it.
But it will be interesting to see them try. To see what they will push for, what they will propose, what their answers will be. They will have to remember that the Republicans not only have the votes to sustain presidential vetoes, but will be able to filibuster and toss up all the legislative log jams the Democrats have been using for the last 12 years.
So, where will they go from here?
I see two ways. The first is to move forward, to accept the way things are and work to change and improve them. To find solutions that will have appeal across party lines and actually might stand a chance of passing.
The alternative I see is the way I fear things will go, the way that the omens and augurs portend: to try to erase as much of the last six years as they can. To undo the actions, decisions, and policies since the beginning of the Bush administration.
Bush’s tax cuts? Get rid of ’em.
Invasion of Iraq? Get the hell out as soon as possible.
Bush’s very elections? Impeach him.
It’s fantasy. The moving hand hath writ, and no matter how much the Democrats wish and hope and try, they can’t unwrite history.
Fantasy is nice. It’s comforting. It’s warm and fuzzy. But it’s downright dangerous as political policy.
There’s one bright side out of all this, however. For at least the foreseeable future, I ought to have a plethora of material to blog about. Just like George W. Bush’s election was a huge boon to late night comics and the best thing that could have happened to Stephen Colbert, a House of Representatives headed up by Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, Alcee Hastings, Charles Rangel, and their ilk promises to be a huge blessing to bloggers.
And if all else fails, I can just take this piece I wrote about a year and a half ago and update it. It has a certain timeless appeal.
One thing is guaranteed: it won’t be dull.