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Humming a different tune 

Remember that awful song from a decade ago, whose chorus went "I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so ..." It's one of those songs that, once remembered, won't go away. "I think I'm turning, think I'm turning, think I'm turning ... aargh!!!! Begone, vile verse!!

Anyway, that little ditty kept running through my mind early this week as I headed toward the County Clerk & Recorder's offices on South Cascade to change my registration from Republican to Democrat.

Now this might not seem to be an auspicious time to join up with the Donksters. Consider the obvious: Republicans rule, not only here in Colorado Springs where Mike Merrifield (aka the Lonely Democrat) is the sole non-Republican elected official, but also throughout the state.

Both Colorado senators, and five of seven of our members of Congress are proud GOPsters, as is the governor. Republicans control both houses of the Legislature, and most county governments. Nationally, Republicans hold the White House, both houses of Congress, and a substantial majority of governorships.

Overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts recently elected a Utah-born Republican Mormon as governor, while overwhelmingly Democratic New York City has yet another Republican mayor. The smart, irreverent populist Democrats like Alan Berg who used to rule talk radio are long gone, replaced by smart, irreverent, populist Republicans like Rush Limbaugh.

Walter Cronkite? Dan Rather? Americans seem to prefer the likes of Bill O'Reilly and panderer-for-all-seasons Geraldo Rivera.

And if we're gonna continue in this dismally realistic vein, what about next year's elections? Well, if things continue to go badly in Iraq, a supportive nation will rally around its besieged leaders, and elect Republicans. Conversely, if things improve in Iraq, a grateful nation will reward the wisdom of its leaders, and elect Republicans.

Certainly, there are scenarios that might lead to a Democratic sweep. For example, if it were revealed that the Republican National Committee financed itself by operating a kiddie porn Web site, or that George W. and Saddam had a joint account in a Swiss bank, then the Dems would definitely have a shot. Failing that, they'll just have to hope for double-digit unemployment rates, more corporate scandals, multiple foreign policy disasters ... you get the picture.

In other words, Dems are in the unenviable position of hoping that things go really badly for our country, so that they can win some elections. Just makes your chest swell with patriotism, doesn't it?

So why would any sane person wish to become a Democrat? Doesn't it make more sense to remain a Republican, and be grateful for whatever crumbs might fall from the tables of the ruling class?

Back in 1981, the brother of the then-conductor of the Colorado Springs Symphony, Charles Ansbacher, published a little-known volume titled How to Profit from the Coming Stock Market Boom. In it, Max Ansbacher argued that the market, having been unnaturally depressed for over a decade, was due for explosive gains.

Naturally, the book was widely ignored. The market had been in the pits for years; most investors expected that it'd stay in the pits for years to come.

Well, we know what happened. In less than 20 years, the Dow increased by around 1,300 percent. Had you listened to Max (I did not), you'd be rich and retired.

So maybe the Democrats -- down, derided, disorganized and disrespected -- are due for a revival. Let's look past the current crop of nine presidential candidates and think about the future. When you get past the demagogic smoke and mirrors that the Republicans are so good at (Weapons of Mass Destruction! Pledge of Allegiance! Gay marriage! War on Drugs!), you find that Democratic policies are far more closely attuned to the American majority than are those of the Republicans.

From the environment to jobs to tax equity to workplace safety to health policy, Democratic positions are supported by large majorities, myself included. So why do people vote Republican?

Simply put, because they've been duped. The Karl Roves and Newt Gingriches of the world have convinced a lot of us that the Dems are a bunch of bloviating political hacks, out to raise taxes, lower morals and coddle obnoxious special-interest groups. That's BS and sooner or later a majority of Americans are gonna figure it out.

So I missed the stock market boom, but I'm climbing on this particular train before it pulls out of the station. I'm coming out of the closet, and joining the few, the proud and the presently irrelevant.

Yup, send me an invitation to the Jefferson-Jackson Day BBQ "I'm turning Democrat, I think I'm turning Democrat, I really think so ..."

-- jhazlehurst@csindy.com

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