I was sitting at my table this morning, looking over my schedule for the day, when Mister Reality came by, poured himself a coffee and took a seat.
“I suppose you are feeling pleased with yourself this morning.” he began. When I said nothing but raised an eyebrow, he clarified. “Politically, I mean.”
“Well,”, I ventured. “New Jersey and Virginia were nice results, though I have to say I was cheering for Hoffman in New York.”
“Your side had a good night”, allowed the dour Mr. R, “but I hope I do not have to remind you that Barack Obama remains President of the United States, Nancy Pelosi remains Speaker of the House, and Harry Reid remains Senate Majority Leader.”
I nodded. “And our current Vice-President is a man regularly out-smarted by mannequins. Your point?”
Mr. R narrowed his eyes and gave me what I think was his attempt at a Robert Mitchum tough-guy stare. “My point, wise guy, is that you had one good night. The Left still controls the Machine.”
“I had a good night? Sure hope the missus did too.”
“You know what I mean.” muttered my dark-visaged visitor. “I figure your side believes you’ll take over Congress and the White House next time around.
“Won’t happen. You’re fooling yourself to think you can get back what you lost. What happened last night was a blip, not a trend.”
“First off, you’re right Mister R, or partly so.” I assured him.
“When the victories became apparent, all sorts of people started taking credit for it, both conservatives and moderates. In fact, even some Democrats tried to say it was good for their party, although that seems to me much sillier than what you are trying to say I believe. I agree that the Right remains fractured and uncoordinated, and we have a lot of work to do before we can start thinking about asking the public to trust us with the country’s leadership again.
“But I also noticed how well the Republicans fared yesterday, by margin. These were not just wins, they were easy wins. And in Virginia, the whole ticket did well. This election was relatively small, but it does carry strong trend indicators for the mood of the nation and their opinion of the present issues and their resolution.
“Considering your name, it seems a bit ironic that you seem to be in a bit of denial.”
Mr. R grimaced.
“Hey, I just act in character,” he protested, “and this president really plays the perception-is-reality trick a lot.
“So he’s really torqued about what happened yesterday, and he’s doing spin control like nobody’s seen since the blue dress showed up during the term of the last Democrat who was President.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t go there.” I suggested.
“Good idea.” agreed R. He relaxed a bit, sipped his coffee and peered at me over the rim. “Seems like you are not over-reacting here. What’s your take on why these elections turned this way?”
I shrugged. “Economy, mostly” I said. “It’s pretty stupid to try to sell folks on huge government projects when they are out of work or worried about their jobs, keeping their homes, and providing for their kids. But Obama doesn’t care about anything but feeding his ego. This was a wake-up for him, and it depends on what he does in response.”
“The economy will decide a lot. For all the rhetoric, most elections come down to the wallet and the bank account. If the economy recovers quickly, the Democrats can ride out the surge from this election and protect their position, and the same in 2012. But if they keep ignoring basic facts of economics, with things like Bank takeovers, Auto company nationalization, and Healthcare socialization, they will prolong the length and difficulty of the recession’s effects, keep unemployment high and the dollar weak, and the economy will still be sick when the people vote again, this time for the whole House of Representatives and many members of the Senate.
“Which reminds me. Given your name, I’d have expected you to be spending time over on the Hill, trying to get them to get real.”
R shook his head. “That’s why I’m in a bad mood, to be honest. Sorry for that. Ever since they took over Congress in 2006, they have been ignoring me. Won’t listen to me, won’t even notice my dogs.”
I blinked. “Your dogs? I don’t follow you, sorry.”
“You’ve seen them” reminded Mr. R. “Boy and a girl dog, a pair of really big mean mastiffs. I named them Consequences and Payback, everybody knows about them but for some reason they don’t notice them until they get bit. They’re over at the DNC right now, giving grief to Tim Kaine. You’d think folks would notice a 150-pound mastiff chewing on a guy, but CNBC just shifts the camera so the dog doesn’t show during interviews.”
I thought about that for a minute. “But you said the Machine was still running things. And you said from the start that the elections yesterday were not as big a deal as I thought.
“So why are you sending your dogs after the Left?”
“To be honest, they go where they want,” said R. “Some folks they never chase, while others might as well be wearing meat collars. There’s a few Democrats who must smell really good to Payback, ’cause she has about a dozen leading politicians she really wants to bite into. Not that there aren’t some Republicans they want to take down, too.
– continued –
“But as for the Machine, you know like I do, that it comes down to how it’s used. In the old days, a few used it for personal greed but most really did want to help folks. Nowadays, it gets hard to find anyone in office who’s really there to serve.
“And that’s your big problem.”
I knew what he meant. “The third-party gambit” I said, and R nodded.
“The lesson is clear from History: Third-Party candidates lose, period. But they can also take down a viable candidate from the party which splits. It’s how the Democrats lost the White House in 1968, and how the Republicans lost it in 1992.
“And already people are looking at last night as if it means History will be wrong this time, that shredding the Right won’t just help the Left stay in power.”
I nodded. As I put my coffee mug into the microwave to reheat it, I observed, “That’s a bit sobering. I know we have to work on party unity if we are going to stop Obama, much less regain the public trust, but who can get that done?”
R chuckled. I looked at him and he grinned.
“President Obama might just find that leader for you,” he said.
“Come again?” I asked.
“Look, in 2006 and again in 2008 the Republicans had some good people, especially W. But your party fractured and everyone started looking for a way to see their faction take control. Kind of like the 1974 and 1976 elections. Everyone was arguing that the other parts of the party were the problem, and no one was willing to give an inch, even if it meant losing seats and the majority. So that is exactly what happened.
“But by now everyone has begun to see how much Obama costs, and what his policies and plans mean. All the idiots who figured it would be okay to let him take office for a while because they figured he could not do much damage are beginning to realize what dolts they have been, though none of them will say so in public. Everyone realizes that the Left is made up of leaders who are either incompetent, corrupt, or both on a scale hardly seen in memory, even in Congress.
“You may not smell the smoke, but when you see the flames rising you know the fire is real. Folks are finally waking up to the real difference between the parties. The Republicans still need to show they have learned from their blunders and arrogance of the past, but if they do they can regain much of what they lost, and they can stop at least the worst of the Left’s plans to dismantle America.
“Just do me a favor, though. Look for your competent candidates, and shut down your own “machine”. You cannot win with another McCain or even a Fred Thompson. Reagan won not because of style, but because of substance. You have such people now, but you need to find them and support them. You, the grass roots, because the celebrities will ignore the candidates with substance and try to foist someone on you that comes from some Pelosi-approved background of appeasement and milktoast, or someone who talks the talk but wilts in the long contest.
R rose, stretched, finished off the last bit of his toast and smiled.
“Thanks for breakfast,” he said. “Have a good one and remember what I told you. My dogs have a taste for posers.”