Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hail to the New Chief

In the Roosevelt Room of the White House, the horseback heroic Teddy Roosevelt portrait has been hanging over the fireplace since January 2001. As Michael Gerson wrote in his 11/05 Washington Post column, in January 2009, the portrait of “Franklin Roosevelt will be moved back to that place of honor.” The good news for WaPo’s Gerson and Krauthammer and NY Times William Kristol is that they no longer have to defend an incompetent Republican administration. Instead they can indulge in sniping at a competent Democratic administration.

Actually, Gerson’s sniping has already begun. “And as the result of a financial panic that unfairly undermined all Republicans, Obama has stumbled into the most dangerous kind of victory,” he wrote. “Unfairly” and “stumbled” indeed. What part of the United States becoming “the first majority-white democracy on this planet to anoint a black person as a national leader,” as noted by the NYU educator Jonathan Zimmerman did Michael miss? In his op-ed piece A Victory for America, and the World, Zimmerman wrote, “Consider that the United States did not abolish slavery until 1865. The British Empire beat us by a half-century, outlawing the slave trade in 1807 and slavery itself in 1834.”

The conservative pundits have their work cut out for them. It falls on them to articulate what the Republican Party is all about and that will take some time. The country repudiated it and its base of bigotry at the polls. That should be good news. As Republican Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona put it, “The party is finally untethered from the ill-fitting and unworkable big-government conservatism that defined the Bush Administration.”

Let me offer a clue to the Republicans as they figure out who they are. I would like to think that the election’s repudiation precludes any candidacy for Sarah Palin, who actually thinks she has a roll in the GOP on the national stage. Ignorance is not bliss, it is dangerous. One would think that an endorsement by Alaska’s felonious Senator Ted Stevens would be sufficient to disqualify her from any part of a GOP rehabilitation. Maybe it works in Alaska, but Palin’s stuff does not play in the lower 48 except to bigots.

Let me call on the Obama-Biden administration not to pardon Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney for the “deception and criminality,” Mr. Gerson dismisses as “lunatic theories.” Both W and Cheney deserve a place in history – in a penitentiary. Let us all look forward to the changing of the portraits in the Roosevelt Room.

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