Ezy Reading: Political Nausea

Evan Kanarakis

It usually starts with a wince or a cringe and soon manifests itself as a sick feeling in my gut that wants to transform into bloody anger.

This is, of course, the sight of Republicans calling for ‘an end to partisan politics, ‘a push toward united progress’ and ‘no political reprisals’. The handful of months since Bush and his party were roundly defeated in the mid-term elections have been marked by this sudden knee-jerk shift in tone from Republicans now asking that Democrats behave with ‘the best interests of the nation’ in mind, consider the benefits of ‘teamwork’ between both parties, and a renewed, change-in-tact approach to try and woo alienated voters.

This was clearly apparent in Bush’s State of the Union speech as he heaped sugar-sickly praise upon Nancy Pelosi, waxed lyrical about the benefits of party cooperation and, no surprises here, spoke of needing to continue implementing measures to protect the environment. This kind of transparent rubbish really is enough to make someone ill, and we can only hope that most of this nation is intelligent to recognize the pathetic attempts of a beaten man to protect his ass. They are rich words from a man who, along with his chief cronies, came to power asserting he had ‘political capital’ that he intended to use, and always did so without any concern for alternative or conflicting opinions or advice, let alone consideration for a growing segment of his supporters who did not see him fulfilling pre-election promises.

It is tempting, then, and doubly so given Bush’s pandering of late, that the Democrats use this mid-term election win opportunity to get some payback –heck, if anyone deserves to have his face rubbed in the dirt it’s Dubya- but, to her credit, Pelosi, like several other leading Democrats, have declined to do so, and instead nodded sombrely in agreement at calls for ‘positive partisanship’. Taking the high road is, in this case, good P.R, though it isn’t always that satisfying.

That said, let’s not be ignorant here either. In that very same State of the Union speech where Bush curried environmentalist’s favour and asked Democrats to ‘play nice’ in spite of his bullying of the past six years, he also had the gall to lay out his plans for troop escalation in Iraq. During his Presidency George Bush hasn’t listened to some members of his own party, voters, the Iraq Study Group, the United Nations or Democrats- why, even in the face of the mid-term defeats would he start listening to them now, especially with the power of a Presidential veto firmly in hand?

Bottom line, little has truly changed so far on the American political landscape since November of 2006. Sure, especially when it comes to domestic matters, the Democrats have made significant gains, however in terms of the war abroad, Bush remains untouchable and continues to largely have his own way. He just asks that he have his cake and might eat it too. Effectively he’s asserting: ‘I still don’t care what you think, I’m doing what I want and however I like, so let’s not get too big a head about your little win and let’s just play nice about it y’all, okay?’

Ezy Reading is out every week.