Saturday, November 04, 2006

 

Schadenfreude a Heady Brew for Bush Haters


Schadenfreude is one of the most potent intoxicants in politics and, when I can, I enjoy bingeing on it; in 1997 I was positively drunk for months though that should have been salutory in how winning joy can merely be the prelude to disappointment and disillusion. Just in case Democrat sympathisers like me are throwing our baseball caps in the air prematurely, Martin Kettle reminds us that, even allowing for a victory on 7th November, the party of FDR and Kennedy-still stumbling for unity and coherence- has quite a lot to do if it is to have a chance of taking the White House in 2008. It is also the case that the Republicans, directed by its election Svengali, Karl Rove, might confound all the polls and deny the Democrats the sweeping victory they feel, in view of the Iraq debacle, they deserve.

But to reopen that bottle of schadenfreude, I was delighted to see two items in the paper today. First was the denouncing of Bush by those who had earlier urged the Iraq invasion on him. Richard Perle, that dark high priest of the neocons, has condemned the 'dysfunction' of Bush's administration and declared that for it we have to 'hold the president responsible.' And former defence Policy Board member Kenneth Adelman- remember the guy who predicted 'a cakewalk' in Iraq?- now regards the Bush 'national security team... as among the most incompetent in the postwar era.' Now they tell us.

Second was the delightful case of Ted Haggard, US president of the 30 million strong National Association of the Evangelicals. This father of five has been the high profile, White House insider leader of the campaign against gay marriage. It now seems that the male prostitute with whom he had enjoyed monthly drugs and sex sessions, was so disgusted by the pastor's hypocrisy that he rang up a local radio station to expose their three year relationship. It's hard to say what impact this will have on voters but, along with the 'gay predator' Mark Foley story it might just persuade a fair slice of Bush's army of religious right supporters to either refuse to be part of the Republican's efficient election-day machine or to not bother to vote at all.

We'll see where we are on the morning of 8th November but I'm keeping a bottle of the 'S' stuff handy by my bed, in case I can start on it early once James Naughtie reports on the US elections for the Today Programme.

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