The vast majority of rascals are getting reelected tonight. That’s the bad news.
But since I am a “glass one-eighth full” kind of guy, let’s focus on some of the bad guys going down in flames.
Here are two of my favs from the evening so far. Who else should we be celebrating here?
Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican and one of the most pious and greasiest members of the House, just conceded victory. He weaseled his way into another term in 2006 and then double-crossed voters who thought he had reformed.
Elizabeth Dole just saw her Senate career crash and burn. At least North Carolinians have repented of their folly in electing her in 2002.
I had some fun with Dole’s campaign for the presidency. Here’s the lead paragraphs of a piece touting her achievements from the American Spectator from June 1999:
HEADLINE: Liddy Dole’s Regulatory Ride
BYLINE: James Bovard.
Maybe it is my fault that Elizabeth Dole is famously terrified of “unscripted” encounters with the press.
Ten years ago, researching an article on a federal job training program for Reader’s Digest, I asked for an interview with then-Secretary of Labor Dole. Her press secretary put me off, first wanting to know whether the secretary’s picture would appear with the piece. (I told her that, since I was a mere freelancer, such matters were out of my hands.) Finally, after much suspense, I learned that a 30-minute meeting would be granted.
On October 12, 1989, Bill Schulz, the managing editor of Reader’s Digest, and I arrived for our appointment with Dole. We barely had time to enter her palatial office suite and sit down before the secretary launched into a filibuster about what the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) meant to her. She picked up a framed photograph from her desk showing her hugging a black teenage girl at a White House ceremony the previous July, and recalled: “She cried–and I cried–and we hugged!” Dole kept talking rapidly, seemingly to run down the clock.
I finally interrupted her in mid-sentence and asked, if JTPA was such a well-run program, why had it given $3 million to finance a gay job-matching network run by the Gay and Lesbian Service Center in Los Angeles?
Dole froze. After a pause, she said she did not know anything about that. Schulz and I asked for her response to findings of the General Accounting Office and the Labor Department’s inspector general about deep structural flaws in the program. Looking indignant, she declared that she had not expected to be asked those kind of questions. She showed no awareness of any of the major criticisms raised by the government’s own auditors. About this time, I noticed that the press secretary’s knees were visibly shaking and I feared that the young woman might faint at any moment. Dole soon made it clear that the interview was over.
Elizabeth Dole is revered by moderates and much of the media, hailed as the Republican answer to the gender gap, and treated as one of our most distinguished public servants. In fact, during her tenures as Reagan’s secretary of transportation and Bush’s secretary of labor–the most significant jobs in her political career–Dole blundered blindly from one wrongheaded and costly program to the next. Having helped open some of the worst public policy Pandora’s boxes of recent decades, she remains oblivious to the resulting damage. Now touted as a realistic possibility for the Republican presidential nomination, her record suggests that she would actually be more at home in the
pro-regulation, anti-business mainstream of the Democratic Party.