Making predictions is always a dangerous business, which is why we at the eXile decided that on this, our 250th issue, we'd roll the die and stake it all on a prediction that almost no one believes is possible. We'll stake ten years of hard-won credibility on just this one foolish prediction -- we're doubling down everything this paper is worth, and placing our girlfriends as collateral just in case. That's how good we feel about this. Ready? Here goes. THIS COMING TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2006, THE REPUBLICANS WILL KEEP CONTROL OF BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS.
Yes, we've seen the same polls you folks have seen, the ones showing the Dems supposedly up by 5000 percentage points. We've read the stories about how even in the safest, most Klan-infested, tornado-magnet, fuck-your-daughter Deliverance districts, the Democrats are poised for victory. But we don't buy it. Not for a single minute.
Part of the eXile's credibility has rested on the unusual success of some of our wildest predictions which, when they were published, made people not merely sneer at us, but even made them want sack our offices and drive us out of town. The most famous of all are still those we made in the spring of 1998, when we predicted the coming Russian economic crisis; on the eve of the default, we predicted that the word "default" would enter the Russian lexicon; and by the end of that year, we wrote that what Russia needed in order to get back on its feet was a war, such as a Second Chechen War.
In more recent years, we've had a spottier prediction record. Like for example, we correctly predicted that the arrest of Yukos co-head Platon Lebedev was a landmark event that meant the end of Yukos and Putin-As-Mr.-Nice-Authoritarian-Guy. But we also predicted that Putin's economic boom was about to go bust. Twice. Those predictions failed for the same reason that pundits are always wrong: we let our hopes for chaos and disaster get in the way of cold, serious analysis, which sometimes means accepting the possibility that things don't always go to shit, much as we would wish them to.
This time, however, we're sure we're right, because we're the ones operating with clear unbiased minds, rather than the hopes and dreams that drive most of the liberal media pundits who are convinced that the Democrats will trounce. You see we at the eXile don't really care who wins next Tuesday because either way, America loses, and we will have rich material to play with: if the Democrats win, it means raising the hate-heat up several hundred degrees in the American political discourse; if the Republicans win, well, that's just comedy that needs no explanation.
So we have no personal stake one way or the other. That gives us the kind of even-keeled sobriety necessary to predict such an important event. And that's why we know the Republicans will win.
In fact, I'm so sure that the Republicans are going to keep control of both houses after this coming Tuesday that I'm willing put my pride where my mouth is. So here is my Pepsi Challenge, which I offer up to any American who writes in telling me I have no idea what I'm talking about: if the Democrats take just one of the two houses, I will hereby register with the Republican Party by the end of this year, and have myself photographed doing so. Moreover, I will promise to write at least two straight-faced editorials in 2007 condemning the new Democratic-led house of Congress for a) playing partisan politics; b) giving in to the radical blame-America-first crowd; and c) giving aid and comfort to terrorists.
Alternatively, if the Republicans keep both houses as we predict, then here is your punishment... well, hell, what could be a bigger punishment than that? Already I'm laughing just reading that sentence. I can't think of anything more slapstick than another two years of Shithead & Gang in charge of the once-invincible United States Armed Forces, its law-making institutions, and its giguillion-dollar budget. It's classic cheap screwball comedy material, like an ambitious remake of Tommy Boy: fuck-up heir to the family's political dynasty winds up destroying the entire country faster than you can say "speedball," with hilarious results. And believe us-you-plural, when Tuesday's election results roll in, we at the eXile will be chortling like hyenas from our Starlite Diner Election-2006 Studio Booth. We'll be cackling even louder and more annoyingly than we cackled in November, 2004, as we watched Bush roll to victory, against what every sane person imagined possible... Bush's supporters waved and cheered at us from the TV sets, with a confidence that said, "If you think we've fucked things up badly in our first four years, then folks, in the words of the great Bachman Turner Overdrive: 'B-b-b-baby, you jus' ain't seen nuthin' yet!'"
That was a memorable day, capped off with the eXile staff warming ourselves at the burning, flailing corpse of Roland Nash as he screamed from his Starlite Diner booth, "I can't fucking believe it! How fuckin' stuuuuupid can Americans be? I mean, they can't be that fucking stuuupid! I can't...I just can't..."
And our table would respond, "America...FUCK YEAH!"
(Thank God Nash was heavily medicated that day, otherwise he might have gone into shock.)
You can see we're already celebrating this Tuesday's "Republican Shocker" in advance. We're so sure that, as you've seen, we don't even want to force you to pony up in case you lose. But since we have to accept the fact that you idiots out there, suckers that you are, don't think it's a fair Pepsi Challenge unless you also have to do something humiliating, well, we thought of something. Okay, if another two years of Republican control isn't obviously punishment enough, then here's your dare. Whoever challenges me has to agree to the following: If the Republicans hold on to both houses of Congress, then my challenger(s) must sign a statement confessing that America's experiment with democracy has failed. That America's democracy can no longer be excused as "imperfect," but rather, as your public confession will stress, democracy is the root of America's problem. Your solution? You pledge to support the peaceful transfer of power to a junta, which will work to "restore order." But it can't be a military junta, because the ugly truth is that most Americans would eagerly support a military junta. Hell, they've been trying to vote for the closest equivalent to a military junta for decades now; even the "liberal hawks" love the idea of a military junta. So that's not punishment, folks. No, the junta you, the bet-loser, must argue for is one composed of the American equivalent to Plato's "philosopher-kings": a feeble cabal of university academics and intellectuals drawn entirely from New England and California.
So what makes us so confident? Dr. Johnson once wrote that "a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience." The same is true when you watch a fourth election in which observers believe that the American public is finally going to come around and make rational choices, rather than the same proto-primate choices they've been making over and over again. Hope says that Americans will finally wake up; experience proves that the American public sides whichever brute picks up the biggest stick and bashes it hardest on the ground. And that brute has been, is, and will be the Republican Party.
Oh, and we already also have evidence to back up our allegedly crazy prediction. In fact, the first ripples of laughter pealed through our offices on October 31st, exactly a week before the election, after the Wall Street Journal reported that early election results from key races show that a). Republicans are getting a massive voter turnout, and b). they're already doing better in these key races than even they had expected. Meanwhile, Karl Rove, who knows America's mean, rank soul better than any do-gooder Democrat could ever hope to, recently expressed "extreme confidence" that the calculus was going to work in the Republicans' favor, and that polls, which have proved increasingly unreliable over the past ten years, are even less reliable now, given the prevalence of cell phones and increasing anger and suspicion towards strangers in our country.
Here is what you need to remember when reading all of the polls and reports about "the mood of the country." Americans say they care about Iraq, and they do, but not in the way sane, rational people think they care. To see what the American public means when they say that Iraq is the most important issue, just look at how John Kerry got disemboweled for his quip about how dipshits pay for their dipshitness by winding up as shawarma meat in the Sunni Triangle. What he said may have been tactless, but at least he said something true. For the first time in his political career, he came out swinging -- but it was purely quixotic and foolish, swinging with the truth in a nation of brutes. Even his own party, even supposed liberals within his own party are hounding the former presidential candidate into exile. Think about it: Bush and his goons can lie to the country to get us into a war which they then lose by fucking everything up as spectacularly as possible, and they still command mainstream respect; Kerry tells the truth about how bad grades = Army career = Iraq death... and he's suddenly the most hated public figure since Lee Harvey Oswald.
This alone should tell you where Middle America stands. Americans are pissed off about Iraq not because they were lied to, and not because America invaded and slaughtered tens or hundreds of thousands of people, or even because thousands of US soldiers have been killed and maimed there. No, what Americans can't stand is the bummer story that keeps seeping out of there. That's inexcusable. They want to blame someone for this bummer, to make someone pay for it. That someone whom they really want to blame is the Democratic Party, but the Dems have wisely spent the past six years hiding in a hole, keeping as quiet as possible, taking no identifiable stance on anything, if only to avoid being torched and pitchforked by an increasingly hate-driven Middle America. So today, only by default, the Republicans find themselves in the awkward position of being partially blamed for their own war. But that won't last.
The Kerry scandal shows how utterly tenuous Middle America's anger towards the Republicans is over Iraq, and how eager they are to shift the blame to the Democrats and liberals, if given even the slightest pretext. In part, this is because Middle America was at least as enthusiastic about the prospect of invading and Americanizing Iraq as the Republican leaders who made that dream a reality. Blaming the Republicans now, and siding with the Dems, is not only sleazy and unsportsmanlike on the part of Middle America, it's also dangerous. What will happen if the Democrats have the power to hold hearings? They'll expose not only the Republicans for the half-baked fascists that they are, but they'll shame the 55% of the country that's congenitally disposed to them, revealing them for the Vichy collaborators and fools that they are.
When it comes to voting-booth time on November 7, what will happen is this. Middle America will feel a pang, a gag reflex -- or rather, a fear of getting caught, of losing control to some horrible "other," that "other" being the part of America which doesn't drag its knuckles on the pavement -- they'll instinctively recoil at the thought of being busted for their role in bringing down the mighty Empire America. They'll realize that they have every incentive to block this scenario as Bush had in stymieing the 911 Commission. They'll realize, in other words, that their hands are just as dirty as the Republicans who supposedly led them, that they're stuck with each other, like a gang of murderers, and there's no way out. Which is why they'll vote, in just enough numbers, to stay the course.
For us at the eXile, that's just fine. Because America hasn't been this grotesquely funny in our lifetime. The Bush years have been a godsend not only to America's enemies, but also, to America's dissident comedians. All ten of us. And thanks to them, we're looking to two more years of fresh fuck-up-grist for the black comedy mill.
Altogether now: "Two more years! Two more years..."