Sali, Simpson, Risch 

What the hell good are they?

Opening paragraph (take one): Remember last week when I hinted there was a slim, next-to-nothing, snowball's-chance John McCain might win? I was just kidding. "Pulling your leg," as they say. Really, there's absolutely no possibility McCain is going to win. Forget about it. If you still believe McCain might pull it out, you're a dope. If you still believe Sarah Palin will appeal to enough gullible hillbillies to turn the whole thing around, you're a dope. If you still believe some dreadful secret is going to come out and ruin Barack Obama, you're a dope. McCain's going to lose, Obama's going to win, and if you don't comprehend the divine justice in that, you're a dope. I normally don't say things like God is on our side (mine and Obama's), but this time, it's as obvious as the cold sweat dripping off McCain's brow that, sure enough, God is on our side.

Opening paragraph (take two): Remember last week when I hinted there was a slim, next-to-nothing, snowball's chance John McCain might win? I was just kidding. "Pulling your leg," as they say. Absolutely, there's every possibility McCain might win. Nothing is a done deal. McCain might pull it out. Sarah Palin could appeal to enough gullible hillbillies to turn the whole thing around. It's always conceivable that some dreadful secret could come out and ruin Barack Obama. McCain could indeed win, Obama could indeed lose, and if you don't comprehend that divine justice has very little to do with politics, you're a dope. I normally don't say things like God is on our side (mine and Obama's), so I won't now, either.

There. I think my butt is covered. If you're one of those who stores every column I've ever written in the cedar chest so your grandchildren can read them someday, don't put this one away until Nov. 5. And before you do, snip off the inappropriate opening, put it through your shredder—twice!—and then forget you ever saw it.

Seriously, on a confidence scale of one-to-10, I am six-plus confident Obama is going to be the next president. For those who are only now starting to pay attention to one-to-10 scales, that is confident enough to give me hope for a more enlightened, more sane future, but not confident enough to bet the house on it.

On another matter (and using the same scale), I am at the 9.3 confidence level when it comes to Democrats keeping the majority in Congress. Not only will they still be the majority, they may well pick up enough seats to make themselves filibuster-proof. For the last year, Republican mouthpieces were crowing that Congress' approval ratings have been running below even Bush's. But what they either didn't want their ditto-brained faithful to know, or were too damn dumb to understand themselves, the reason Congress earned those dismal ratings is that, in the minds of non-ditto-brained Americans, the nascent Democrat majority wasn't acting rapidly enough to rip up everything Republicans have been up to for the previous dozen years.

Here's the deal: Non-ditto-brained Americans (which at present are about two-thirds of the population) are not buying the notion that the surge made Iraq all better, because they realize you can put pretty icing on a crap cake, and it's still a crap cake. Non-ditto-brained Americans are not swallowing the excuse that our economy is belly up because Democrats tried to make home ownership more available, as they realize it was the unregulated manipulation of that impulse—made possible by this administration—that turned Wall Street into Skid Row. Non-ditto-brained Americans are no longer obeying the injunction to blame liberals for everything, as they are now turning to traditional liberal solutions to get us out of this mess.

So I repeat, Congress will remain Democrat—solidly so—and even if McCain wins ... which he won't, but if he does ... he will be overshadowed by a legislative branch in no mood to play second fiddle. The conservative tide that has been eating away America's foundations since the advent of Ronald Reagan is over. Kaput. Deader than George Bush's legacy. (Confidence level of what I just said: 7.8)

So the question is—and I address it to those non-ditto-brained local Republicans who are still lucid enough to read the writing on the wall—why would you vote for Sali, Simpson and Risch? For all the good they will do Idaho in the coming years, you might as well dress up three monkeys and ship them to D.C. in a crate.

Or perhaps you still believe there is something about Idaho—and Idaho conservatives in particular—that is so special, so unique, so rare that by their presence alone, they will revive the corpse of the putrescent Reagan Revolution.

Hah! If that's what you think, that just makes you a ditto-brained dope. These guys are no spring chickens, and given that Congress will be controlled by Democrats for at least a generation (confidence level: a solid eight), that means the main function of Idaho's paltry Congressional delegation will be to complain for the rest of their lives. Yes sir, that's what you will be paying them each $169,300 a year to do. To bitch and moan.

And look, I don't want you to think there aren't plenty of reasons not to vote for Sali, Risch and Simpson on their merits. Bill Sali is a dense ideologue and Jim Risch is an attention-hungry weasel. But Sali has always been a dense ideologue, Risch has always been an attention-hungry weasel, and the best thing Mike Simpson ever did was threaten to throw Sali out a window.

Yet you went ahead and voted for them anyway. From one public office stepping-stone to another, they have climbed to national non-prominence where, for the foreseeable future, they can be ignored by everyone who counts. And they couldn't have reached such a high degree of obsolescence without your votes.

But that was back when you still thought that whatever they stood for was working, right? And again, I'm talking to the pragmatic Republicans and independents who expect more in return for their tax dollar than moronic sermons about how the minimum wage defies the laws of physics and how abortion causes breast cancer. I know it won't be easy, voting for the better candidates after so many years of voting Republican. But think about it. The ditto-brained dopes will always do what ditto-brained dopes do, which is to vote for ditto-brained dopes (confidence level: 9.9). But that doesn't mean you have to follow them into utter irrelevance, does it?

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