Monday, November 13, 2006

The "M"-word

In a classic, "Oh, no he didn’t," moment, Tom Vilsack splashed the big democratic uprising with the M-word. That’s right, Vilsack rocked my ears with the word I loathed only two years ago: Mandate. Now, I just don’t know how to react to that type of speech anymore. During my political career (of paying attention), I’ve never witnessed a Democratic government, everything has always been red, all I knew of Bill Clinton was good, but not really what he was doing to garner that term.

Then came the ultimate race, the presidential campaign of 2000. It marked the birth of my political pessimism. Every election year from then on has been met with disdain, until that special night when I run to and constantly refresh my hopeful candidates’ races. 

And here is the disturbing bottom line, if you will. I was so happy that Leach was toppled, and my roommate and I just kept maligning Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” with Loebsack-infused parodies as the topsy-turvy race, considered to the outside as a safe bet, rolled on throughout the night. I went to bed with the Democratic challenger up by a little over 500 votes, with 97 percent of the precincts reporting, sure that Johnson County’s remaining 2 percent not reported would ensure his victory.  

For the first time ever, I feel as though I finally impacted a race, after narrow losses throughout my early voting years. And ya know what? I felt bad for Leach, because as numerous bloggers and reporters have expounded upon, he’s a legitimately good guy. But I’m from Johnson County. We’re supposed to be the bastion of liberalism in Iowa. Somebody who votes liberal maybe three out of eight times might be admiral, but I’ll take the guy who skews closer to three fourths of the time any day. 

Now back to the mandate. Why that word, Tom? I still feel the kick in the mouth when I first heard that word just two years ago from some high up dude. Words like that tick people off; tick them off so much that nice guys do indeed finish last, at least in District 2. I don’t want that to happen to this precious new state and national governmental makeups. Big splash words can leave you soaking wet, Tom, and now that you’re a national candidate, let’s try to learn from ticked off voters in the first place.

Jon Van Dyke
DI editorial writer

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