November 28, 2003


GOP has many reasons to give thanks: Party stole Democrats' thunder (Marc Sandalow, November 28, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle)

The Democrats' straightforward attack on Republicans as more conservative than compassionate suddenly got a lot more complicated.

Developments on a range of complex policy matters -- from Medicare to marriage -- have confused rather than clarified distinctions between the two parties, and by most accounts made the Democrats' uphill fight to unseat President Bush and reclaim a majority in Congress an even steeper challenge.

This past week, Republicans were joined by more than a handful of Democrats in passing a $400 billion drug plan for seniors that marked the largest expansion in the liberal Medicare program in its 38-year history. The week before, Democrats running for president had a hard time distinguishing themselves from Republicans when reacting to a Massachusetts court's ruling on gay marriage. As Congress finally adjourned for Thanksgiving, Democrats stood up to Republicans on a pork-laden energy bill, but only after the GOP spent the final hours branding them as obstructionists.

And the week was capped when Bush made a top-secret Thanksgiving Day visit to the troops in Iraq, giving him another chance to appear as commander in chief.

While partisans are able to construct scenarios where each of the events might eventually help Democrats, most neutral observers -- and even many party strategists -- acknowledge that the new terrain favors Republicans.

How can such a straightforward man as George W. Bush manage to confuse his opponents so much?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 28, 2003 6:59 PM

I know this isn't to the topic, but:

That "Reasons to be cheerful, Pt. 3" title--is that a reference to Ian Dury...or is are both you and the late, great Mr. Dury making a reference to something I'm not familiar with?


Posted by: Brian McKim at November 29, 2003 8:07 AM

Yes, and the Blockheads--good on ya' mate!

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2003 8:54 AM

In this respect Bush is a sound Voltairean. Voltaire, as you may remember, had one standard prayer: "Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And, as Voltaire pointed out, his prayer was always granted.

Posted by: Josh Silverman at November 30, 2003 6:58 PM