Yet all shades of the Republican Party -- McCains, Rumsfelds, Condoleezas and Colins alike -- will swear he did, does and still can.
But just because we're faced with four more years of addiction to Middle Eastern oil, of Americans living below the poverty line and without health insurance, open-ended questions to Haliburton and Enron compounded by the Republicans' finger-pointing dismissals of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations don't mean squat.
What Bush faces now is a galvanized, fully awakened America, what I like to call a boiled-over melting pot of burning mad motherfuckers.
Throughout the poor and mostly black neighborhoods disconnected from Bush's support base, Republicans have been absent, sorely out of touch and overtly out of arm's reach.
Distant, yes. But segregated in a boys' club, we've-got-this way, with an arrogant certainty excluding the very segment of the underserved, first-to-get-drafted-and-die population they just finished ignoring. (Or that just finished ignoring them.)
Just as Sen. Kerry and his revolving-door advisers skipped the Viagra that could've made them harder on Bush's lying about WMDs, so Bush's people waited to dab him with anti-smirking makeup.
Bush never has and never will own up to his main shortcomings -- his visage of a wise-cracking, inhumane leader with little use for people of color unless they're cast in his Stepford image wherein patriotism equals blind loyalty to war-mongering and money-grubbing. Hardcore.
Bush's return manifests inflexibility long as Republicans keep closing ranks, unaware that neo-conservatism hangs an "out of order" sign on humanity's door.
Gore, Dukakis before him and Mondale before him ran way after losing and allowed at least two Bushes to run us/U.S. aground. At the outset of four more years, we might never dig out.
Now take cover.
President Kerry cannot save us. And by us I mean the U.S.
Still, all corners of the Democratic Party -- centrists, moderates and the far left alike -- had better get this message down cold.
That just because your man is in, just because his battle with President Bush sparked record voter registration and political engagement among the heretofore disenfranchised like poor whites and blacks, students, white T-shirted corner dwellers and the ex-hippies, upwardly mobile young professionals and soccer moms forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in accordance with one agenda don't mean squat.
What Kerry faces now is a Republican-drenched House and Senate, what The New York Times calls "a seared partisan battlefield where nothing can get done."
Along the high-tension wire leading to the election, Democrats have been thin-skinned, defensive, presumptive and overly emotional.
Cohesive, yes. But united in a last-minute, knee-jerk way, a threatened response to the distaste of four more years of the lying, bullying and rich white male power structure we just finished with. (Or that just finished with us.)
Just as Bush and his handlers waited a little too late to paint Kerry in broad liberal strokes, so Kerry's camp waited way too late to inject him with anti-waffling cream.
Though Kerry owned up to voting for -- and then against the funding of -- the war in Iraq, indecision remains the overriding complaint that Democrats can rightfully and respectfully lodge against their own party. Squishy.
Kerry's victory will go a long way to fertilize squishiness if Democrats rest on their laurels and drown in a pile of their own self-congratulatory sick.
Bush, the Bush before him and the Reagan before him methodically and with great care and decisiveness ran us/U.S. aground. It'll take more than four years to dig out, so there's no time for backslapping, folks.
Now get to work.
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