Are there any adults left in the room?

By Megan McArdle

Perhaps I'm getting too testy.  For the past two presidential elections, I've voted for the winning candidate.  For the past two elections, I've experienced near-immediate buyer's remorse.  And for the past two elections, I've been saddened and appalled to watch the people who voted with me display behavior they would be ashamed to find in their three year old in any other context.

I don't mean celebrating their win.  I mean celebrating their opponents loss.  I mean taking more obvious enjoyment in the fact that the people they disagree with are unhappy, developing fantasies of being the boot stomping into those peoples' faces--forever.  Four years ago (or was it six?) I told my commenters to stop gloating, only to be dismissed as a nannying concern troll.  They'd earned it, you see.  After years of abuse from the other side, they deserved to take joy in the disappointment of others.

How'd that work out, guys? 

Every time we have an election, the partisans confuse the fact that the independents disliked the opposition candidate, with the idea that the independents joined their party.  The independents did not want to stomp the Democrats in 2004, and they do not want to stomp the Republicans now.  They are not interested in advancing the electoral fortunes of the Democratic Party, any more than they were preparing to hand the Republicans a "permanent majority" in 2004.  And when the various parties act as if it is so--as if the independents had actually voted to join their power-hungry two-minutes-hate, rather than voting for the guy they thought would best shelter them from the vicissitudes of fate . . . well, for the last few elections, they've had their asses handed to them on a silver platter two years later.

I don't begrudge my fellow Obama supporters an excitement I certainly do not feel about the many exciting projects that may be undertaken with a large Democratic congressional majority.  But I'm kind of ashamed at the meanness.  The election of the President of the United States not a sports match, or a schoolyard battle for who's the biggest, meanest bully on the block.   I wish so many Obama supporters were not acting as if it was.  I especially wish they weren't doing so after complaining so bitterly that it wasn't fair four years ago.  If Obama gets blindisded by an intractable financial crisis, those people will deserve every bit of nastiness that gets heaped on them two and four years hence.  And the undoubtedly equally repulsive Republican gloating from people who really ought to have learned better will be no less nauseating for all that.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2008/11/are-there-any-adults-left-in-the-room/4324/