I congratulate Barack Obama for becoming the 44th President of the United States. I also congratulate him for being America's first African-American President (a feat I didn't think I'd see in my lifetime) and also the first President elected by the American people since 1996. Mr. Obama should enjoy these accomplishments today, because tomorrow he becomes a hunted man.
Republicans took a bath yesterday -- and frankly, they're going to take another one in 2010. But they are far from powerless, not merely because because they'll likely still have the filibuster power they used to kill dozens of decent Democratic bills last term, but because they still have the "liberal" media in their grasp and because Matt Drudge is still (as Atrios puts it) America's Assignment Editor. Thus will we hear (for example) incessant gossip about the "Chicago mafia" the moment one Illinois-based individual becomes a candidate for a cabinet spot. Thus will we continue to hear about the "unanswered questions" regarding Mr. Obama's relationship with Antoin Rezko. Thus will the most disgusting fantasies of right-wing bloggers -- murders, affairs, secret ties to al-Qaeda, et cetera -- get treated by the "liberal" media as important questions to consider, and not just on Fox News. I hope that Mr. Obama's vaunted discipline discourages Republicans from trying to impeach him, but I wouldn't put that past these clowns. Maybe this time they'll try it during his first term.
More generally, we'll hear, despite the voters' resounding rejection of Republicans yesterday, that the people still want bipartisanship. When I hear such a thing, I have to wonder whether reporters and columnists ever talk to people they don't see in the mirror or hear in their heads. As smarter people than I have put it: voters don't care whether politicans "work together" so much as that politicians govern effectively, and this group of Republicans have demonstrated, time and time again, that they don't give a rat's hind-quarter about governing; they only care about power. I said it in 2006 and I'll say it again: the only reaching out across the aisle I would ever do would be to slap some Republican upside his damn head. How many more wars, how many more federal budgets trashed, how many more port cities left to drown, how many more Middle Eastern countries left without adequate utilities five years after an invasion, how many more neighbors and friends and family members divided from one another, will it take for the "liberal" media to recognize that Republicans are responsible for all of it? When Republicans are interested in governing again, we should listen to them. Obviously we should try to get along with other people. But that doesn't mean we should keep letting burglars into our house.
Unfortunately, that's why I never supported Mr. Obama -- I became convinced that he would be the kind of fellow who prizes "getting along" and "reaching out to the other side" more than he would prize the popular will and good government. This doesn't mean I didn't root for him every time the right-wing spewed filth about him, nor does it mean I won't root for him when they try to destroy him starting approximately by the end of this paragraph. But it does mean that I'll always push him to be a better President. That's my job as a citizen. And I expect the good folks at Public Citizen, the People's Email Network, the Union of Concerned Scientists, American Rights at Work, the Electronic Freedom Foundation, United for a Fair Economy, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (among others) will take it as their job as well. Nothing has changed. It isn't time to "let Barack take care of it." We are still Americans, and our counsel is still our greatest gift, and we must never withhold it out of a misguided sense of loyalty to the President. As I've said many times, it's not our job to be loyal to the President -- it's the President's job to be loyal to us.
One last thing: I will never, ever ever shut up about what a lousy so-called President Mr. Bush was, or about the hate and hurt he inflicted on the country I love so he could steal more taxpayer money for his cronies. It's not time to "move on" from that. There may come a day when it doesn't hurt as bad; there may come a day when I'm just weary of being angry; there may even come a day when I'm spiritually advanced enough to forgive him. But I won't shut up about it, because I want everyone to remember it. And I want everyone to remember it because I never want to see this great land elect an arrogant moron as its President again. If we forget, we might one day wind up with someone even worse. This is America, where we are, all of us, leaders. Of all the people on earth, we have the least reason to tolerate bad ones.