Finally, it's over, and normal people can go back to thinking of Florida as some distant island populated mostly by alligators, talking mice, and people who venerate Batista.

In the meantime, what are we to make of the newly-anointed winner? By no means am I particularly enthusiastic about George W. Bush — I am a registered Democrat, after all — but his presence in the White House is simply not likely to be the unmitigated disaster being predicted by some of the Democratic partisans. To hear them talk, W. will spend the morning of January 22nd, 2001 (let's give him extra time to recover from the Inaugural Ball) despoiling redwoods, cashing checks from the healthcare industry, building natural-gas pipelines across playgrounds, and issuing an executive order to the Human Genome Project to drop what they're doing and get busy cloning Antonin Scalia.

For one thing, W. is ideological only as a means to an end; he's not the sort of Gingrichoid who actually believes the Required Mythology. Everything about him — his demeanor, his discourse, even his religion — is casual. So while he's bound, by the rules of the GOP, to pay obeisance to the snarling dogs of DeLay, Bush will still play his own game. He's had plenty of practice with the Texas Legislature, as intractable a body as you can find this side of the Taliban, so he's hardly going to be overwhelmed by a deadlocked Congress. And besides, Congress should be used to being manipulated by the President — Bill Clinton's been doing it to them for eight years. The transition should be simplicity itself.

While so far no Democrats have nibbled at W.'s Cabinet-post bait, I'm just slightly thrilled to see Frank Keating in line for the Attorney General slot. Keating, a competent prosecutor who reached his level of incompetence as the governor of Oklahoma, will undoubtedly be happy to get back to the Beltway, and a lot of us here will be glad to see him leave.

How will We The People benefit from four years of George W. Bush? It's too early to say with any degree of certainty, but I'm inclined to think we'll get a smallish tax cut, the first steps towards serious overhaul of the Social Security system, and tremendous amounts of material for talk-show hosts. We could do worse. In fact, we almost did.

The Vent

#225
16 December 2000

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