The really good news
The official story is in--the Jesus freaks won Bush the election. This sucks, because it means that we are at the mercy of their "morals" for the next four years. Their morals amount to little more than punishing everyone else because they suspect that everyone else is probably having better sex than they are, but there you go.
Here's the good news. The Jesus freaks will be the end of the Republican party's majority.
I think that instead of pandering to the Jesus freaks, the Democrats should openly reject their notion of "morality". Whenever anyone brings it up, say "I remember Jesus talking about the poor, not so much about gay marriage." Repeat until they are a slathering mess.
As much as it sucks policy-wise, in the realm of politics, it would be a godsend if they had a bunch of slathering religious weirdos running the party. Most people who voted for Bush are not Jesus freaks. Sure, they may be bigots. Most of them are at least comfortable enough with bigotry to vote for the Republicans even after they hear some pretty apalling stuff. But most of them will start to get defensive is the Jesus freaks start intruding on their territory. Most Republicans are not scary social conservatives. Or even if they really are, there are enough hanging in that aren't to destroy their majority if those who aren't abandoned the party.
The members of my family are probably a stellar example of the moderate Republicans that the party could lose if they push the social wingnut stuff hard enough. My mother voted for Bush, but really would like to see gay marriage legalized. My sister cast her vote for the Shrub and voted for some local Democrats because the Republicans in her local races were bug-eyed racists and wanted to ban Planned Parenthood. Nearly every woman in my family is adamantly pro-choice, and nearly every one voted for the Smirk.
More importantly, we behave in that "immoral" way that the Townhall-style wingnuts are always screeching about making illegal, and no one seems to mind. My boyfriend is completely accepted by my family, even though we are not married. No one seems to feel any particular need to pressure us into it. My Limbaugh-loving dad cheerfully puts us in the same room together when we visit--why wouldn't he? I'm the big liberal, but I'm not a big pot smoker. Can't say the same about certain Bush-voting relatives.
They're not the big, scary hypocrites that we love to needle in the leadership on the right, either. My dad may occasionally hold forth on how we need to turn the clock back a little, but when pressed, he'll usually support most progressive positions on sex and family life. He would never think it wise to tell another adult how to live his/her life, but he still votes for the party that would do such a thing. So where's the disconnect?
The Republicans are allowed to hide their right wing social agenda too much. The good news is now that they've been given a mandate, the belief in enforced "morality" will hang out a little and scare more people. But that's not enough. The Democrats need to call them on their coded language directly. More than anything, Kerry dropped the ball during the debates by not asking the Shrub to explain himself when he coughed up that Dred Scott nonsense. Granted, Kerry might not have been aware of what the hell the Shrub meant by that. Well, consider that a lesson learned. In the future, candidates need to be more aware of what the code words are and ask their Republican opponents directly to explain them.
Is the Shrub going to get Roe v. Wade overturned? Probably. There's no way around this--he really, truly thinks he has a mandate. But the really good news is if he does it, that's it for his party.
Edited to add: Molly Ivins, as usual, hits the nail on the head.
Some people think you cannot break a dog that has got in the habit of killin' chickens, but my friend John Henry always claimed you could. He said the way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast. Thing'll smell so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.
The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.