THE BLOG
11/24/2006 01:41 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Four Quiet Things to Be Thankful For



1. James Inhofe (R-OK) will no longer be chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Last week, Senator Inhofe explained that global warming is merely "due to the sun," and the world needn't be concerned because "God's still up there." After you're done twitching from the utter senselessness of his comments, remember that the problem is not that Mr. Inhofe is on the committee (which is bad enough) - but that he is chairman. He is in charge of the senate's committee on the environment. There will always be people who believe the world is flat, but you don't make them head of NASA.

Global warming is a scientific issue, to study scientifically. This isn't a matter of faith. With the potential stakes to mankind so disastrous, thinking you can leave them to prayer is like jumping off a skyscraper and trusting you'll land safely because you believe in divine intervention. The last time humanity ignored a cataclysmic natural disaster because "God's still up there," the only ones who got out okay were Noah's family and a bunch of animals. James Inhofe's chairmanship is proof why religion should reside in the heart and not in the head of a government gavel.


2. Ted Stevens (R-AK) will no longer be chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Senator Stevens described the World Wide Web: "And again, the Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes." And again, when the numbing pain in your head subsides, remember that Senator Stevens is not just someone's uncle befuddled about technology - but he is chairman of the committee that oversees regulation of the Internet. He is in charge.

This is a case of not having a clue. This is someone intentionally hiring a school bus driver who doesn't know where the school is. Or where any of the students live. Or how to drive a bus. This is being named chief surgeon by your pals even though you've never been to medical school. But you did watch an episode of "Grey's Anatomy." Putting Ted Stevens in charge is evidence of the adage: Republicans know how to win elections, but not govern.


3. Bill Frist (R-TN) will no longer be Senate Majority Leader.

Dr. Frist called the Senate together to proclaim, "Based on the footage provided to me, which was part of the facts of the case, she does respond." With crippling problems facing the United States - with a disastrous war raging in Iraq, and a collapsing one in Afghanistan - Bill Frist had the Senate meet in Special Session to pass a bill that dealt solely with the private life of a single, brain-dead woman who he diagnosed via remote control. Inaccurately. (As if it would be possible to diagnose someone by remote control accurately...)

This is the man in charge of running the United States Senate. Setting the serious agenda for America. And he played it as if it were an out-of-tune ukulele. A game where rules don't even matter, just as long as you win. This is the man who tried to buy off the U.S. public with a $100 rebate check for gas, hoping they wouldn't notice that the pump remained sky-high. His irresponsible handling of the Terri Schiavo embarrassment is the metaphor for Republican reign: the facts don't matter, science doesn't matter, just click the remote and see if everyone will forget what they were just watching.


4. George Bush will be a lame duck President with a Democratic Congress.

George Bush thinks the lesson of Vietnam is "We'll succeed unless we quit." If anything summed up his complete misunderstanding of the entire Iraq debacle, that was it. If anything explains the horrific mess of his Presidency, that was it. This is jumping into quicksand, flailing away and, as you sink up to your chin, gurgling that the lesson you've learned is that you'd get out if only you struggled even more.

Then again, this is the man who relentlessly proclaimed, "I'm a uniter, not a divider." Of course, now that nearly 70% of the American public understands united that Iraq is a disaster we should never have gotten into...it may be that, finally, he was right.


I'm thankful for these changes. The Democrats in charge now have to act well and work for the American public. The Republicans, too. But after six years of government by blind faith, ignorance, misdirection and foolish division, I'm thankful we have a chance.