Top 10 People Most Affected by Election 2006

1) Rummy, a.k.a. the Donald.

It’s tough to take the fall for the damage you caused, but somebody has to be responsible for your actions - it might as well be you. Since the Iraq War began, which Bush & Co. still consider a positive endeavor, despite all contrary evidence, more soldiers have been killed than people in the WTC attacks, not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqi’s. You can run, but you can’t hide. So, it might be too late for the man that CNN’s Jack Cafferty called a ‘war criminal’ to hide from a possible surge of investigations.

2) Paris Hilton.

How did Bush help Paris? Well, the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy screwed up the US economy in a bad way. Separately, the GOP voted down every minimum wage increase, while, Congress voted itself 8 raises, but who’s counting? This continued until the last time the minimum wage came to the Floor this fall, during which the soon-to-be fired GOP said they’d consider approving an increase IF the Dems would repeal the estate tax – a tax that would allow Paris (and Tori Spelling) to keep more of her father’s fortune, after any inheritance kicks in. Hopefully, the estate tax repeal goes the way of her ex’s.

3) Kevin Federline.

Who knew Britney Spears had more foresight than Bush? Britney kicked K-Fed's butt out for good, filing for divorce on Election Day. This gave Bush the confidence to kick Rummy out, which was actually the biggest news of Election Day – the Dems winning Congress was second. Kevin Federline might find his future prospects as bright as Rummy does (see #1 above.) Britney on the other hand, showed that proper foresight (like creating an airtight pre-nup) is a skill that Bush lacked with the Iraq War and all of his other decisions.

4) Jeffery Kindler, CEO of Pfizer

Why does the government keep giving so much money to drug companies? Jeffrey Kindler, CEO of Pfizer was hoping to hit the lottery. His predecessor, Hank McKinnell, made it to Forbes richest lists. But, Jeff may not do so well. The Dems will hopefully take a good look at the dumbest Drug Bill EVER (that would be Medicare Part D – D for Dumbest Drug Bill EVER), and ask – why give so much money to drug companies (besides the fact that it’s a way to steal from Medicare patients to give to CEOs?) And why didn’t we retain the ability to negotiate drug prices, as opposed to say, letting drug companies charge whatever the hell they wanted? No good answer = less money for Jeff.

5) Nancy Pelosi’s fashion consultant.

Okay, there is no such person, that’s clear given her clothing style. But, here’s the thing; Ms. Pelosi is going to be getting more photo-ops as the first female Speaker of the House than Jennifer Anniston. Maybe not on the front of In Touch Magazine, but still, a lot of them. The right may consider her a staunch liberal, but the truth is, they’re quite a few centrist positions in her closet. And all closets need a thorough cleansing and editing now and then. And everything’s better with a good wardrobe behind you.

6) Dave Lesar, CEO of Halliburton.

Between Cheney in the Whitehouse and troops in Iraq, Halliburton stock had a great ride during the past few years. Lesar banked around $100 million since the war began. Halliburton’s contracting arm, KBR, booked $16 billion in Iraq contracts. If Representative Henry Waxman, (D-CA) becomes chair of the Reform committee, he’s gonna rip into them big-time. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, whose Halliburton options increased 3,281% (no, that's not a typo) since 2004, might need some better investments. He evaded disclosing whatever he was doing as head of the Energy Policy Task Force, yet as per Rummy - you can run, but you can't hide.

7) Quail.

Dick Cheney may need to lighten up on those hunting and leisure trips (ok, he took a vacation day on Election Day - but it’s hard to fit everything into your schedule, and the idea of the election, or democracy, or voters stressed him out, it’s understandable). With Bush in lame duck territory, Cheney may find enough fowl at the White House to keep him occupied. Or find himself wishing for the good ole days when he could shoot his friends, instead of dealing with Waxman investigations. All of which is good news for the quail community, and Cheney's friends.

8) MBNA.

The credit card company was the biggest donor to Bush’s first term presidential run, and creator (with friends) of the worst bankruptcy bill EVER. MBNA and others led an attack on consumers in Congress, stressing that all those dead-beats who weren’t keeping up with their 30% interest payments on plasma TV screens would have to face the fact: They’re screwed. They should stop dodging payments to those card companies making $16 billion a year off people’s late fees. Some Dems helped the Act pass on Tax Day, 2005 – but, time to re-think it. Or we're sending in Waxman after them, too.

9) Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon-Mobil.

Yes, Exxon posted its largest profit EVER last quarter, and yes, it was the second highest profit of any publicly traded company EVER – but it’s time to be afraid, very afraid. Wind fall taxes are coming hopefully, as Nancy promised. Sure, they stressed they shouldn’t be taxed on excess profits because they need that money for the hard times – like when they paid former CEO, Lee Raymond a $400 million exit package – but, we never believed their times were ever that hard. Now, we need faith in the Dems to divert windfall profits into renewable energy sources, and roll back the $5 billion in tax breaks the GOP gave the oil and gas industry.

10) Joe Lieberman.

It’s bad when the left and right sides of your brain are at odds. It’s worse when your personalities are duking it out in your head. But that’s a situation Joe Lieberman got over years ago. He was a Democrat in name-only. The Dems knew it. The Liberals knew it. The Republicans knew it – that’s why more Republicans voted for him than the Dems did. You got to give him credit for staging his comeback to Congress after being sideswiped by Ned Lamont and his entire party. But, now that Joe’s back, he’s got scores to settle. Payback’s a beotch. The Senate may seem tidily under Dem control, but if Joe’s got a memory – specifically of his own personality – it may be less clear-cut.


Moving Forward: Election 2006

Change comes in many forms, but the stronger the energy behind it, the stronger the momentum that can follow it. Last night's House victory was inspiring. So was tonight's Senate one.

Some of the Senate victories are more inspiring than others. Because the real change that can come from these particular victories, is even more exciting, more potentially helpful to the solidity of the country, socially and economically.

Like Bernie Sanders, the first true Democractic Socialist Senator, who started his DC career in the Liberty Union party, winning Vermont. Like Sherrod Brown, a populist man with whom I had the pleasure of sharing a panel chaired by Lewis Lapham (along with The Nation's John Nichols and Esther Kaplan, as well as Francis Fox Piven) two years ago, before a very different election outcome, winning Ohio.

Everyone else, you've got to gear it up a notch.

There's a ton to do. But the idea that Bush will veto anything that comes to his door should not be a deterrent. With the House majority gone, the Senate majority gone, and the man that CNN's Jack Cafferty called a war criminal, Donald Rumsfeld, gone, there aren't too many pillars for Bush to lean on. Nowhere else to hide. Hell, Cheney hasn't even shown himself to be a friend to fowl, lame or otherwise. (If we could just get him on any one of the pile of Halliburton/Iraq war frauds, we could get him 'gone' too.) Besides which, hey, impeachment is still an option.

Meanwhile, a win is not an opportunity to be complacent, it's a moment on which to build. More than anything, this election showed that our vote matters. The politicians that were given our votes, should do nothing less than make the best of them, for all of us.


Things to Believe: Election 2006

There are things I want to believe about this election. Things that go beyond the flashy media bulletin boards, the endless polls, the thrill of the competition, and the god-awful negative campaign ads. I want to believe that whoever wins, will take that win to heart. Will use it to make an everlasting difference in the lives of as many Americans as possible. In short, do the job he or she is elected to do.

The last Congress didn't help the average citizen. They created a wider gap between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the influential and the influenced. Aside from the buckets of funding that went to Iraq, they voted the largest set of corporate tax breaks in two decades. They cut medicare and medicaid, even as the health care system careens ever faster into crisis, with fewer Americans able to afford health care. They cut the higher education budget, even as university tuition skyrocketed, and fewer minorities and working poor have a hope of getting a college degree. They allowed gas titans to line their pockets with the dollars of the American driver, before prices conveniently fell into the election.

Whoever wins must do some serious soul searching. Whoever wins needs to put aside his or her personal ego and set about doing everything possible to help as many Americans as possible. Whether it's a first term victory or a repeat performance, this election should be about how to make the government formed by these people, perform as well as possible, for the rest of the American people.

Whoever votes must never let up on a simple demand: that every elected official put into Washington, or remaining in Washington is accountable to us. Their laws may be fashioned and financed by corporations, lobbyists and PAC's. But their jobs are secured by the American voters. And we must make sure that in the coming years of their terms, we never let them forget who hired them for the job, and what is required to perform it.

That is what I want to believe.