November 8, 2006

Well, we got what we asked for

In giving control of the House and possibly the Senate to the Democrats in yesterday’s election, America sent an emphatic message to Washington that the Republican Government had gone far away from the “American values” they claimed they stood for. While several self-destructed with scandals of their own making, even many of the Republicans who hadn’t yet been caught taking bribes or molesting boys were ousted by fresh political faces, leaving no doubt that Americans were ready for a change. We got what we asked for: now I hope the Democrats will actually end the war and restore civil liberties. This is a free country and it should be legal to sin.

While Bush’s private Vietnam, Iraq, was certainly a lightning rod for the voters’ thunderous discontent, talking to my few Republican friends revealed that they too were disturbed by the party’s about-face from their traditional stance of fiscal conservatism and social libertarianism. Becoming a party of religionist socialist warmongers finally lost them their critical mass of support. With the Republicans spending our children’s inheritance on a severely unpopular war, suddenly there was no reason to fear the Democrats and their penchant for spending. If we’re going to spend billions, better on health care than bombs.

Given the circles I travel in, it’s easy for me to see reaction to the online gambling legislation as one reason for the shift in the political winds. It was a pleasure to see Leach, who sponsored the bill, thrown out, and tinglingly exciting to see the first numbers showing Kyl losing, although he closed to win it. Politicians are rightly frightened of the ability of the Internet to take whole economies out of their reach, and they saw gambling (at least the kind without the lobbying money of horse racing and lotteries) as low-hanging fruit to pluck back under their control. The trouble is, Americans do not wish to be told what they can and cannot do in their own homes and, beyond that, control of the Internet is to a large degree technically impossible. It will be an uphill battle to reverse this legislation now that it has been sneaked in, but with rumors of MGM-Mirage’s interest in buying Party Gaming, the lobbying dollars may soon be climbing Capitol Hill.

A reader emailed me about domestic Bordeaux blends. Last night my old friend Tony and I shared a bottle of 1986 Beringer Private Reserve, smooth and elegant. Drinking young wines day in and day out, it takes a moment to get used to the absence of tannins but we enjoyed it with a pair of filet mignons at Purple Café. It had just a hint of acid, less than the BV George Latour, and was deliciously balanced. I had been saving it because I had two bottles of it, which made it good to serve at a dinner party, but given my current wifelessness and therefore no dinner parties in sight, I figured at 20 years old it was ready to drink. And I have one more bottle.

I took some bad beats on Moola but with optimal bankroll management I’m only down to 17 cents and can easily rebuild. I should cash out for $10 million pretty soon.

No comments: