Yeah; it's kind of like that right now.
Roughly this is where I'm at, wrt electionblagh:
First of all, per who I'm supporting in the primaries: I'd vote for the exhumed bones of Wellstone + a Ouija board channeling if someone undertook the project. Gore I think we can rule out at this point. Beyond that...well, I keep saying Reply Hazy, Ask Again Later, but Later's pretty much now-ish, and you know, somehow, I still can't be arsed. I'll vote for whoever gets the nom, and I might even put some back into it, depending on...depending. No more money, though. Sorry. Been there, done that, got bills to pay and other shit, thanks.
Never would've thought I'd be this singularly unthrilled at the prospect of finally seeing the back of Dubya, I must say.
Which is not to say that I don't -care-, at all.
But I'm looking at the way this is playing out, -has- been playing out, and thinking: okay, so, assuming the least worst happens. Then what?
This is my analysis, for what it's worth (you might be able to get an espresso at Starfucks if you also rummage around inside the sofa for a while):
There's a...theme that I've been keeping an eye on for quite a while: that it's not smart to put too much faith in the whole, the populist -left- is gonna be the alternative to the Bush administration, even putting aside the whole "oh, yeah, actually the Democratic Establishment isn't really what you'd call populist, is
it. or Left, for that matter." The backlash to the whole Iraq adventure--well, we're seeing it play out already, with the nativism and the anti-immigrant ugliness, which of course all of the Repub hopefuls have been all over like flies on shit; still, it's understood that some of them -really mean it- more than others. Much more so the whole theocratic riff.
There are roughly two ways the whole "rawwwwh America, we're the best, Live Free Or Die" etc. thing plays out, I think, within the R/right. One is what we've been seeing, the neocons, neo-imperialism, combined with a superficially secular/modern/"moderate" appeal to status quo; the real radicalism plays out a little below the surface, Over There, same as it has been for most of these administrations, more or less. They tend or tended to include a lot of spooked former wealthy liberals/libertines of the Christopher Hitchens/Dennis Miller/Gerard Van der Leun sort.
The other is more radically right there in your face: it was partly embodied by the Ashcroft side of the Bush admin (there's a reason why he left, I would say). They might go to war, but it has a somewhat different flavor at least in the initial appeal. First of all they're turned inward and At Home, for better or for worse, depending on who you are. Secular comfortable queers like o say Andrew Sullivan or y'know a -lot- of us are probably going to -personally- be in a lot more trouble with this bunch. They tend to be much more nativist and hardcore reactionary; they also tend to appeal more toward the underclasses, the rural, the blue-collar workers, and, of course, the hard-core Religious Right. Essentially, I would say, we're talking about Tories versus Roundheads.
Now, the Bush administration--hell, the entire last twenty-five/thirty years or so, at least, has seen a sort of unholy/uneasy alliance between these factions: we're going to war in Iraq to protect Western-style secular democracy; we're going to war because it is our Holy Duty as Crusaders for the Lord. They co-existed particularly nicely when the added glue was "by the way, if we don't attack them over here there'll be more attacks over here, AHH AHH WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE." And fuck knows what happens if/when the next major attack on U.S. soil happens.
Meanwhile, what we're beginning to see now, I would say, among other things, is the beginnings of a major rift between the Tories and the Roundheads. Some Dems and liberals and so on are rather gleeful about the whole thing--there's a term, "Huckenfreude," even. The trouble is of course is that, well, the fundamental problem hasn't changed. Genuine populism on the left is, if not actually moribund, still deeply fragmented; and shifting back to Whigs is only going to be a temporary stopgap at best. There are far deeper rifts going on here than simply Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Democrats, and that's echoing across the world, not just here; call it the class struggle reasserting itself if you like, call it Jihad versus McWorld if you like; they both still work.
The real problem is, if we want neither of those options, we've got our work cut out
for us and then some; and the hour groweth late.