TCS Daily

It's All Over But the Lawsuits

By Stephen Green - November 3, 2004 12:00 AM

From where I sit, it looks like Bush is going to win. Of course, from where I sit, I can also see an empty martini glass and a scotch tumbler I've refilled at least twice. What did you expect from a guy with a weblog called VodkaPundit?

That said, I must also say I'm enjoying the lovely election returns even more than the lovely adult beverages I've consumed while watching them come in. But I'm not going to gloat. No sir. Should Bush win -- and right now, it looks like it's all over but the lawsuits -- then what do we have to look forward to?

On the plus side, we'll stop jerking around with the insurgents in Fallujah. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and CENTCOM won't have to worry any longer about delicate domestic sensibilities. Finally, they'll be free to do the killing -- and there's no nicer word for it -- that needs to be done there.

Another plus: The US just gained some serious negotiating strength with Iran's mullahs. And when I say "negotiating strength," I mean, "the increased threat of superior firepower." Iran stands to lose a lot of money, men, and material in Fallujah, too.

If Arafat lives and somehow manages to sneak back into his West Bank compound? So what. We still won't have a President in the White House willing to pressure the Israelis into providing more concessions to the murderous bastard. As an added benefit, Ariel Sharon will gain some added cover for his plan to pull fully out of Gaza over the next few years.

Pre-emption will remain a viable foreign policy option -- there will be no "global test" to give the UN a near-veto on American actions. France, Germany, and the rest of the Axis of Weasels will know that no matter how much they carp, they'll still have to deal with Bush for four more years. I don't know about you, but the idea of Jacques Chirac having to make a forced-polite congratulatory call to Bush makes me want to light a Cohiba and pour another scotch. The fact that Chirac won't be speaking French with an American President makes me want to pour a double.

We'll keep our tax breaks, too, and that's nothing to sneeze at. Unless, of course, you're allergic to the color green. Most readers here, I'm assuming, could safely swim in it. Kerry's threat to repeal only "some" of Bush's tax cuts was always, in my opinion, a ruse. An excuse, if you will, to later claim that "things are worse than we thought, and we're going to have to ask more Americans to make a greater sacrifice." Our economic recovery, it can be hoped, is safe from the predations of the IRS.

It looks like we'll have a President willing to tackle the problems inherent in Social Security's pay-as-you-go system -- a systemic problem Kerry wasn't even willing to admit existed. A lame duck should prove more willing to touch the "third rail" of American politics than a new administration with its head in the sand.

Bush hasn't exactly proven himself a friend of free trade, although there is some hope for improvement in a second term. Given that he's lost Pennsylvania twice, maybe now is the time for some payback. Two years ago, Bush tried to buy Pennsylvania with his craven steel tariff increases. Considering how badly he was mauled there last night, those vote-buying days might be over. But only maybe -- so for now I'll stick with the cheap scotch instead of breaking into the Glenmorangie.

Then there's the downside.

Bush's lame-duck judicial selections -- especially with an increased Republican Senate majority -- might just give one pause. Will Bush stick to his promise of nominating strict constructionists, or might he feel free to nominate fundamentalist judges? I'm no worrywart convinced that Republicans are out to overturn Roe v Wade, but you can never be too sure. Even if the courts remain in good hands, a second Bush term might mean further intrusion on stem-cell research.

Republicans increased their majorities in the House and Senate. One thing majorities like to do is keep things exactly as they are -- and the safest way to do that is to keep buying votes... er -- keep increasing spending. Bush refused to veto a single spending bill in his first four years, and it's hard to imagine him becoming more susceptible to popular pressure to reign in spending during his lame duck term. You can also bet that those new Republican Congressmen and Senators will feel the need to prove their abilities to bring home the pork. Buh-bye, fiscal sanity.

And don't even get me started on Bush's insane Medicare expansion from last year. If that's an indication of how he intends to deal with our growing health care crisis, then there's hardly any difference any more between Democrats and Republicans.

All that said, all those drinks drank, and an entire cigar smoked -- the upside to four more years of W far outweigh the downside. As I finish writing this column, John Edwards is speaking, refusing to concede. This election could drag on for days or weeks longer. Democrat or Republican, I think right now we could all use a drink.


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