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 November, 2006


 Thoughts following the elections of November, 2006

It Wasn’t the Economy Stupid!

By Al Owens
It was clear by mid-evening on election night, - at least to anybody really paying attention – that the Republicans were about to lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives. But instead of being gracious in defeat, Bush supporters rushed to any available microphone to announce that since the Democrats would be in control of the House, President Bush would be willing to work with them. If, of course, they’d also come to the conclusion that we must win the war in Iraq. Isn’t that just like them?

It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the loser of anything designate the terms of their own surrender. They need to cut that out!

It wasn’t bad enough that they’d clung fast (and for too long) to a war strategy that must have been developed on an Etch-a-Sketch tablet. The President told the American public the main Etch-a-Sketchers would be around for the long haul. (I’m learning that that kind of praise usually precedes a fall from grace, i.e. Harriet Miers, and FEMA director Michael Brown. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigned the day following the election. You didn’t do a “heck of a job Donnie”!)

But before the election, instead of Americans perking up at the thought of two more years of Rumsfeld and Cheney – they cast a nationwide sigh.

Finally, somebody figured out that those sighs couldn’t possibly translate into votes. So a new strategy was drawn up. (This time, instead of an Etch-a-Sketch it seems as if they used crayons and a Clearfield Tablet) They switched to the economy. Not just any economy. The one that Conservatives see – but the rest of America can’t. You know, the one where you see those people rejoice and pop champagne corks at the sight of the DOW reaching some number, and you sit asking, “What does that have to do with me?”

Of course the main thrust of that new strategy was to convince the American public that if they win, those Democrats are going to put their hands in your pocket. They’ll steal from you. They’ll give all of your money to people who don’t deserve it. So, instead of Americans issuing a sigh on election-day, they actually yawned out loud.

Why didn’t somebody tell the Republicans that the economy they were talking about sounded more like they were playing on people’s sense of greed than a real discussion of economic issues?

That if Republicans held off the Democrats and saved us from their free spending ways, it would still only save most of us pocket change. And if Johnny can’t read, when you get that pocket change, buy a new car, take that car to the airport, get a round trip ticket to Hawaii for a two week vacation – when you get home - Johnny still can’t read.

That’s why the Democrats talked freely about Johnny and helping him read, while trying to keep him out of a war that the Republicans keep jamming down our throats.

It is worth noting that many of the president’s strongest supporters on the war like our own Rick Santorum and J.D. Hayworth of Arizona took the biggest tumbles on election-day. (Hayworth is known for his speaking skills, but lack of listening skills. He’s sort of a one man emblem of the Republican Party.)
And there were more noteworthy Republican casualties too! Republican Michael Steele lost in his bid to win a U.S. Senate seat in Maryland, despite nearly saying “George who”, every time somebody brought up the Bush Administration while he was campaigning. He preferred to stick to the “Democrats are sleeping in your wallet” line. They declared him a loser after about a dozen votes had been counted.

Meanwhile conservatives are now claiming that the election proves the American public is still largely conservative. I would have thought they could have come up with something better than that. After all, they’d tried to tell us we were stupid for not understanding the importance of the war in Iraq. Then they tried to convince us that a rising stock market is a cause for them to stop thinking about raising the minimum wage. Perhaps somebody should tell them, “It’s NOT the economy stupid”!