September 28, 2005


Demoralized Dems: Why the party has so little faith in its political prospects. (Howard Fineman, Sept. 28, 2005, Newsweek)

With George W. Bush’s presidency mired in the muck of hurricanes and doubts about the war, you’d think Democrats would be bursting with energy, eagerly expecting to regain power. But, in a roomful of well-connected Democrats the other night, I was struck by how gloomy they were. They can’t stand Bush, but didn’t have much faith in their own party’s prospects. [...]

The president’s nomination of John Roberts was a ten strike, knocking apart whatever united front the Dems might have been able to muster on judicial issues. However genial and cerebral he may be, Roberts also is a board-certified conservative, blessed by the James Dobsons of the world.

No one doubted that at least a few Red State Democrats would vote for him, but the defection of Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont (no less), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, was a stunner—and a demoralizing one for the party faithful.

Democrats are vowing to remain unified over Bush’s next pick—which almost certainly will be a woman, a Hispanic or both. So the party could find itself in a tough political position once again. [...]

The GOP has Rudy, Colin, Arnold, McCain and Condi—just to name a few: big, bold, controversial characters. Good copy if nothing else. The more or less official roster of titular Democratic leaders includes Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean and 2004 nominee John Kerry. ‘Nuff said. [...]

What Big Idea would a Democratic presidency be about? No one seems to know, which is perhaps the main reason why the party faithful in that room seemed so lost.

In the end what's the effect of Katrina other than to drown out the Democrats while allowing the president to advance his agenda under the guise of rebuilding? And when all the Democrats have to offer in the wake of the storm is the kind of Great Society programs that made New Orleans a cesspit in the first place, how can it possibly help them?

If your message is a winner, all events, even those beyond your control, will fit within it. If your message is a loser there's no likelihood that events will salvage you. It's instructive that the only exception to this rule was the most significant event of last century, the Great Depression. Would you want to be the Democrats, stuck waiting and hoping for the next one?

House GOP Uses Storms to Ease Energy Laws (H. JOSEF HEBERT, September 28, 2005, AP)

Legislation that would end the longtime ban on energy development along most of the country's coasts and open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling advanced Wednesday in the House.

Opponents said Republican leaders were exploiting the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita to pass pro-industry measures that they failed to get included in an energy bill signed into law only two months ago. [...]

The bill will be combined with proposals intended to spur expansion or construction of refineries — an idea being worked on Wednesday by a different House committee.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2005 8:05 PM

The Fineman article is a hoot. Fineman is a certified member of the liberal media. His punch line is revealing:

I led my last NEWSWEEK piece with an anecdote about President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. When a huge hurricane hit New Orleans that year, he hustled down to Louisiana and was on the scene within a day, offering the full resources of the federal government to help get the region back on its feet. ... But the anecdote contains a lesson for Democrats, too: LBJ stood for a big ideathe healing power of government.

Clearly Fineman is nostalgic for that idea, what he can not get around is that it was a bad idea. Like a drunk looking for his keys under the street lamp, Fineman and other Democrats continue to look for their big idea under the heading of government. Things will get better when the sun comes up, they have slept off their binge of BDS and they start to look somewhere else for their big idea.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 28, 2005 11:43 PM

You don't understand -- we all look for our keys under the street lights, there is no other place to "look".

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 29, 2005 4:59 AM