I know. Too terrible to contemplate. A second term for George W. Bush.
Or is it?
Think about it.
The situation in Iraq continues to crumble, albeit at an accelerated pace. Without a plan, without adequate ground support, we defeated Saddam Hussein, but we are clearly losing the peace. The elections in January will do not a lot to tamp down the insurgency, as Prime Minister Iyad "Sweetheart of the CIA" Allawi is increasingly perceived as a tool of the U.S. occupation forces.
[Note: And that's a damn shame! I supported the original intentions of the war in Iraq: to supplant a ruthless dictator with an elected government in a region of the world where democracy is rare as are igloos.]
The Moslem world increasingly views U.S. interests with hostility, young Moslem men from Indonesia to Morocco are more and more inclined to heed the call of Jihad and wage war against the Great Satan. Al Quaeda has evolved and changed, from a fairly simple operation lead by a very shrewd man to a many-headed international Hydra. Diplomatic relations with other countries are so soured that nobody will be joining any U.S.-led coalition anytime soon.
And here at home, the chickens of the enormous deficit caused by out of control Federal spending will surely come home to roost, with skyrocketing interest rates (thus quashing the boom in home ownership), private sector recession due to contractions in government spending, and it's only going to get worse as the baby boomers start to retire, taking their productivity out of the economy and spending their golden years demanding increased government funding for entitlements due to the expectations raised by our political leaders of every stripe.
And a government without money to spend is an impotent government. And that means a crumbling infrastructure. And even fewer resources to enforce (weakened) environmental and labor regulations.
Okay. So that's bad. Right?
It sure is.
Now, do the Democrats really want to preside over that?
Even a shrewd politician like LBJ was defeated by inheriting the Viet Nam War from his predecessor. And John Kerry may be a lot of things, but a adept political wheeler-dealer with an amazing ability to unite and motivate an ever more divided nation he isn't. The Republicans would eat him alive.
So even if Kerry doesn't pull it out in six weeks, would it really be a bad thing to have four more years of Bush's earnest and decent ineptitude?
After all, it's not like he's going to head off to some new foreign adventure. He can't! It seems to me that the worst he could do would be to unleash the dogs of Ashcroft here at home, playing on the growing fears and insecurities of many Americans, and heading down the path of jingoism and benighted moral certainty.
But I can't see that happening in any way that would really matter. It would quickly become laughable.
Here in Up-For-Grabs-Swing-State-Land, where you can't relax on the porch of Starbuck's with a latte and a cigar enjoying the final days of 2004 warm enough to wear shorts and tank tops without being accosted by that nutty nutty Theresa Heinz Kerry tottering over the cobblestones dripping diamonds big as banana slugs, I think this has even dawned on the Bush-Haters among the Kerry voters. Even though I have yet to meet anyone who actually loves loves loves W., I know a lot of people who plan on going to the polls and voting for him. But, I have also yet to meet anyone who thinks that John Kerry is Da Man, or that he'd actually be able to do anything as President to make the world a better place in even some small way.
Peace abroad, prosperity at home. Remember the Clinton years?
Dang. At the time, it seemed like this was what life was going to be like from here on in. Imagine: an oval office blowjob rising to the level of national crisis.
Now, I wonder if I will ever again see an era like that in my lifetime.