Ross Mackenzie

Good to see you again, Mr. President.

It's been a long time. When better to renew our ongoing (virtual) conversation than following the elections?

Exactly. So what are your thoughts on the outcome?

Well, as I said in my day-after press conference, we got "shellacked." I think I didn't communicate well, and I take full responsibility for that. It's a chastening, almost humbling, experience.

"Shellacked"? Wouldn't "crushed" or "clobbered" or "eviscerated" be a better word for the most significant midterm turnaround in more than half a century? Or "killed"?

That's the trouble with you conservatives. You're so ungentle and immoderate. For a mere failure of communication you use such harsh, extreme, in-your-face rhetoric.

Sir, in all sincerity, it's simply the candor you say you respect. The voters didn't tag you and the Democrats for a failure of communication. They ripped you for failures of program and policy. The Democrats didn't lose six Senate seats, more than 60 House seats, eight governorships, and at least 500 seats in state legislatures because of bad communication.

It was a lack of effective communication and education. The voters were ignorant of the facts. They were confused and misled by Secretary of State Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy" in the media -- particularly Fox News. That's my line and I'm sticking to it.

Sir, across the vast American heartland, you and the Democrats lost at the polls because you lost the middle -- the independents. They broke bigtime for teapartiers and Republicans -- moderates and conservatives all. The center that flirted with your side two years ago proved fickle. It simply doesn't want to dance anymore.

My policies are moderate, centrist, and mainstream. What the voters insufficiently understood was that two years ago we were tasked with cleaning up the Republican stable, where my predecessor, George W. Bush, was stable master, and the Republicans have refused to help us Democrats -- primarily me -- in a bipartisan fashion.

In just two years, with heavy Democratic majorities in both houses, you and your ideological clique moved the federal-spending share of gross domestic product (GDP) from 21 percent (where it had stood for decades) to 25 percent.

Bush turned the Clinton surplus into a persistent deficit.

You also set the national debt on a path toward 90 percent of GDP -- from 40 percent. And you force-fed the citizenry a socialized medicine plan it found unpopular when you signed it -- its unpopularity increasing since then with every passing day.

The Republicans nationalized the elections.


Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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