The election, sadly, is over. And, while it is not official yet, President Bush's second term has already begun. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Or is he the same? Bush II, Take II plans to usher in big changes. New directions, new faces, bold policy shifts, carving out a Rushmore-sized right-wing legacy for the ages, etc. etc. It will be discombobulating, yes--I still haven't quite come to terms with the first term--but I'd like to think this will be a good kind of shock, like a bracing slap of Aqua Velva across the jaw after a particularly bloody shave.

So goodbye old Bush regime, hello new Bush regime. Like an abrupt parting of old friends, we must bid a hasty adieu to the first four years, that golden age of peace and comity. Still, our sadness is tempered as we look forward with expectant, childlike eyes to all that is yet to come. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but thanks, President Bush, for all the first-term memories, and thanks, in advance, for all those second-term memories yet to come:

Goodbye, blind man in a room full of deaf people. Hello, blind man in a room full of sycophants. Goodbye, Colin Powell. Hello, Condi Rice (your husband needs you more than ever). Goodbye (and good riddance), John Ashcroft. Hello, Alberto Gonzalez (and goodbye, Geneva Conventions). Hello, PATRIOT Act II. Goodbye, privacy.

Goodbye, thin veneer of moderation. Hello, culture war. Goodbye, compassionate conservatism. Hello, ownership society. Goodbye, social security. Hello, privatization. Goodbye, entitlements. Hello, financial risk. Goodbye, progressive income tax. Hello, regressive sales tax. Goodbye, $413 billion deficits. Hello, $513 billion deficits. Goodbye, social welfare state. Hello, corporate welfare state. Goodbye, well-paying jobs. Hello, McDonalds.

And from the campaign trail: Goodbye, John Kerry, and goodbye, John Edwards. Hello... Hillary? (Hello, resounding defeat in 2008.) Hello, Howard Dean (for DNC chair). Goodbye, André Gide. Hello, Jesus. Goodbye, Tom Daschle. Hello, crusade against the "rampant lesbianism" in the Oklahoma public schools. Goodbye, Columbus. In fact, goodbye to all of Ohio, may your economy rest in peace under the reign of the righteous. Goodbye, Florida. Hello, Jeb in 2008. Goodbye, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Hello, Iraq War Veterans for Truth.

Goodbye, Falluja. Hello Mosul. And hello, Baqubah, and Ramadi, and Tall Afar and Sadr City, and... Goodbye, legitimate Iraqi elections. Goodbye, Iraqi security forces. Hello, American casualties. Goodbye, grand coalition. Hello, stay the course. Goodbye, Saddam Hussein. Hello, Arab street. Goodbye, Yasser Arafat. Hello, Greater Judea and Samaria.

Goodbye, Howard Stern. Hello, Bill O'Reilly. Goodbye, Bill O'Reilly's marriage. Hello, sanctimonious right-wing hypocrites. Goodbye, CBS. Goodbye, Dan Rather (please). Hello, Sinclair Broadcasting. Goodbye, coarse cultural programming (unless it's on Fox, in which case, hello). Goodbye, John Dilulio. Hello, James Dobson. Goodbye, Christ's crusade for social justice. Hello, Christ's crusade for deregulation. Goodbye, cosmopolitanism. Hello, know-nothing nativism. Goodbye, suburbs. Hello, exurbs. Goodbye, Costco. Hello, Wal-Mart. Goodbye, reality. Hello, blind faith.

Goodbye, blind justice. Hello, Federalist Society. Goodbye, liberal activist judges. Hello, conservative activist judges. Goodbye (soon), Chief Justice Rehnquist. Hello, Chief Justice Thomas. Goodbye, Arlen Specter. Hello, litmus test. Goodbye, Roe v. Wade. Hello, coat hanger. Goodbye, contraception. Hello, 14-year-old moms. Goodbye, daycare. Hello, permanent underclass.

Goodbye, gay marriage. Hello, FMA (from the Republican establishment). Hello, keep those perverted fags away from our children (from the Republican grassroots). Hello, it's all your fault we lost, you uppity homos (from the Democratic establishment). Goodbye, craven Democratic establishment (from the Democratic grassroots). Goodbye, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Hello, Mitt Romney.

Goodbye, universal healthcare. Hello, health savings accounts for the wealthy. Goodbye, cheap Canadian prescription drugs. Hello, drug company profits. Goodbye, affordable health insurance. Hello, insurance company profits. Goodbye, ANWR. Hello, energy company profits. Goodbye, environmental regulations. Hello, arsenic (and hello, chemical company profits).

Goodbye, evolution. Hello, intelligent design. Goodbye, science. Hello, global warming. Goodbye, rationality. Hello, fear of witches, spooks, and bogeymen. Goodbye, federal embryonic stem-cell research. Hello, California.

Goodbye, my yearlong Stranger column on the presidential election. Hello, Dino Rossi?

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