You know that old saying about "Don't count your chickens until they hatch?" Well, Slate senior writer, Timothy Noah, decided to discard that advice and gloat over the "inevitable" Barack Obama victory this November. Yes, Noah's gloating does grate on the nerves but we should thank him for the enormous public service he has performed for us by providing a look at what liberals will be able to say out loud "when" Obama wins. First, you need to sit through the annoying gloating on Noah's part but I assure you the payoff will be huge when we get to the revelatory part of his article:
There's a new scent in the air. If you're a Democrat, you haven't felt it tickle your nostrils since October 1996, when everybody knew that Bill Clinton was about to beat Bob Dole. The perfume hasn't been this strong since October 1964, the eve of Lyndon Johnson's landside presidential victory. It's the sweet smell of success that you can take for granted.
With every passing day, it's harder to imagine that the next president of the United States will be a Republican—even a "maverick" Republican like John McCain. A consensus is emerging that the next president will be Barack Obama, a Democrat. Obama may not win in a landside, as some predict, but the common wisdom is that he will win and that the Democrats will expand their majorities in the House and Senate. Like the houseguests in Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, swing states are disappearing one by one. Goodbye, Michigan; farewell, Ohio. Will Florida evaporate next? Colorado? Missouri?
And now we shall take a moment to allow Noah to savor the "victory" that has yet to happen:
Conservatives can carp all they want about the insularity of the cultural elite, but it's been a very long time since liberals had the chance to experience electoral complacency at the national level. You'll forgive them if they take a moment to taste it, savor it, perhaps bottle a little extra to tide them over during the next conservative ascendancy. Practically the only thing you can't do is securitize it, but it would be churlish to complain about that, given the central role the financial markets' collapse played in bringing the New Complacency about. Democrats, you want to worry about something? Worry about your portfolio!
Yes, Timothy, why wait for tiny details like the elections results. Pop open your champagne bottles and celebrate your victory now. In fact you better enjoy that champagne now because what you about to reveal might actually pull the rug from under your "victory."
During the past 25 years, there have been countless sentiments that respectable Democratic politicians were never, ever supposed to say out loud for fear of angering the all-powerful Republicans. It still isn't wise for Obama to say them, but maybe the New Complacency will loosen other tongues within the political mainstream. Even if it doesn't, it's fun to think about what those utterances might be. What follows is a list, compiled with help from my fellow Slate staffers. The views expressed don't necessarily reflect those of the contributors—one of whom is a conservative Republican—or even me. But they sure are a refreshing change from what we've been hearing since 1981. With a little luck, they may soon be orthodoxies.
And now here is a sampling of what Noah and his fellow Slate writers think it will be safe for liberals to say once Obama is elected:
I think Karl Marx had some valuable insights into capitalist economies!
I think abortion should be safe and legal. Rare is fine, too, but the way to achieve that is contraception, baby!
I think Mormons are kooks!
The Second Amendment does too allow government to ban handguns!
Let's standardize the federal age of consent at 16!
Gee, maybe you should have waited until after the Obama victory to say this because by revealing it now, all you do is make it much, much harder for Obama to win. And Noah isn't even close to finishing. Here are some more kooky statements that he thinks liberals will feel safe to say out loud:
I don't support the troops. I support some troops, depending on whether or not they've committed war crimes!
The military-industrial complex is a greater menace than most foreign nations!
If Israel isn't out of the occupied territories in six months, we'll cut off all aid.
America isn't the greatest nation in the world. We think it is only because it's our country. Duh!
America won't be the world's most powerful nation forever. And you know what? Handing that responsibility off will be a relief!
America's official languages should be English and Spanish!
Judges should legislate from the bench if they want to. Conservatives do it, so why not liberals?
Keeping digging yourself and your fellow liberals even deeper into the hole, Noah. More! More!
What's so great about the Judeo-Christian tradition?
Big-city values are better than small-town values!
I'm glad the Muslims whupped the Christians during the Crusades! Served 'em right!
We're going to need affirmative action for a long time.
We're undertaxed. Look at Europe!
Terrorism isn't that big a threat to America!
And now Noah finishes off in grand style:
I'm not a "progressive," for Pete's sake. I'm a liberal!
I'm not a "liberal," for Pete's sake. I'm a leftist!
I'm not a "leftist," for Pete's sake. I'm a democratic socialist!
I'm not a democratic socialist, for Pete's sake. I'm a Communist! Just kidding!
Perhaps you're just kidding but your humble correspondent regularly monitors the Democratic Underground and, believe me, they're not kidding. In any case, you have performed a tremendous public service, Timothy, by revealing the liberal agenda out in the open. And if Obama loses because of your premature revelation, may we dedicate his loss to you?