I spent much of election night at the Palm Court in Overton Square where the Steve Cohen victory party was held. I've been to a lot of "victory" parties in recent years that turned into wakes -- with somber candidates and their mopey supporters drinking cheap wine, eating steam-table munchies, and drunkenly watching their dreams fade into oblivion on television monitors.
To put it more bluntly: I've seen a lot of concession speeches at victory parties.
But not this night. The early returns had Cohen with 60 percent of the vote, and that percentage never varied as the evening wore on. The candidate was happy, wandering among his ecstatic supporters -- who were drinking cheap wine, eating steam-table food, and drunkenly watching their wildest dreams come true on television monitors.
Later on, the celebrants spilled into the adjoining Le Chardonnay restaurant. A rather woozy fellow seated at the bar seemed startled to see his cozy world invaded by noisy Democrats. He listened to the happy chatter for awhile, then started shouting, trying to interject himself into the conversation. He was ignored for the most part.
Finally, determined to make himself heard, he yelled, "I got two words for y'all, and they ought to scare the crap out of you: NANCY PELOSI!"
"Yeah, well, here's three words for you," someone said: "Tom DeLay, dumbass!"
Ah, political discourse. It's a wonderful thing.
The next morning, I turned on CNN to catch up on the races that had still been undecided when I went to bed. And who was the first face I saw? The first person to appear on my television on one of the best political mornings of my life?
Dumbass Tom DeLay.
Yep, there he was, the indicted former speaker of the House, the Hammer himself, spinning like a dervish about how the Democrats would "cut and run" in Iraq, and drag the country into ruin, and raise all our taxes, and all kinds of scary stuff. He reminded me of a tired, old hooker -- dyed wig and all -- trying to turn one last trick, trying to convince Americans that his corrupt and venal brand of political whoring was still the way to a happy ending.
Not this time, sucker. We're on to you. At last.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor