October 28, 2006

WHAT COLOR IS THE SKY IN HIS WORLD? (via David Hill, The Bronx):

Democrats can win House, but can they keep it? (Rick Perlstein, October 27, 2006, Chicago Tribune)

Apparently, Americans have had enough, but will a post-Republican Washington look any different? Democratic House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi has promised it will.

She has proposed that the new Democratic Congress' "first 100 hours" will break the link between lobbyists and legislation, enact every recommendation of the bipartisan commission that investigated Sept. 11, halve the interest on student loans, open up federal funding for stem-cell research and negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower Medicare drug prices.

Democrats also will vote for an increase in the minimum wage and dare President Bush to veto it--it's a reform favored, a Pew Center poll suggests, by 86 percent of the nation.

It's powerful, practical stuff but can it begin to turn the battleship of Republican Washington around?

Next year, there will be a passel of new congressmen returning home to districts that have just voted Democratic for the first time in decades. Some of their constituents, in places such as Colorado Springs, consider liberals such as Pelosi familiars of the devil. What can Pelosi and her new Democratic Congress do to turn these districts into Democratic strongholds? How can the Democrats cement their own new culture in Washington?

That will be far from automatic. Democrats have enjoyed earthshaking congressional landslides before, only to see them melt away. In 1964, scores of new Democrats were swept into Congress on Lyndon B. Johnson's coattails; Republicans then won an astonishing 47 of those seats back in 1966. In 1974, there was a class of "Watergate babies" and in 1976 a Mr. Clean Democratic president--much of those gains swept away by 1980, by a grass-roots tax revolt and a popular sense that America had lost its way. In both cases, Democrats weren't able to turn their temporary advantage to a bedrock sense that they could best protect the interests and anxieties of ordinary Americans.

How do Democrats make a sea-change stick?

Uh-oh, while Friend Perlstein remains delusional about the quality of the respective pols of the two parties (the only difference being their ideas, not their inevitable corruptibility), even he's apparently starting to realize that this is just going to be two and out. Indeed, John McCain could easily defeat Hillary by a wide enough margin to increase the GOP majority over what it is today.

One fears though that he hasn't processed the fact that because Democrats, upon losing in 1994, changed the rules of the game so that nearly everything in the Senate requires 60 votes and because a George W. Bush with whom Democratic leaders almost never cooperated wil retain the veto pen, a Speaker Pelosi would be able to accomplish next to nothing.

What Democratic control of Congress would set up is a situation where Ms Clinton is obligated to vote in favor of every crackpot notion the far Left hasn't had a chance to bring to the floor for twelve years and John McCain gets to position himself as a leader of those stopping these lunacies from being inflicted on the American people. There's little chance of Democrats winning back the White House if they squander this election, but none if they win it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 28, 2006 10:08 AM

oj. This is too easy.

Posted by: erp at October 28, 2006 11:23 AM

--How do Democrats make a sea-change stick? --

Nuke an enemy when we get attacked. W/O UN approval.

Kick the UN out.

Posted by: Sandy P at October 28, 2006 12:15 PM

I don't want to nitpick, but how did the editor let this one slip?:

"How do the Democrats make a sea-change stick?"

Um, ain't the point of a sea-change that, by definition, it's going to "stick."

It's a bleedin' sea-change innit?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 28, 2006 12:53 PM

Friend Judd indulges two fallacies:

1) The logical fallacy that, given that all humans are corrupt, all politicians will be equally corrupt. No. The different between the corruption of Democrats in power and Republicans in power is the different between the ill-gotten gains from Jim Wright's $50,000 book deal and Duke Cunningham's $2.5 million earmarks-for-bribe deals.

2) that passing, and forcing the President to veto, proposals supported by as high as 84 percent of Americans in the case of the minimum wage increase is a formula for political failure.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at October 28, 2006 1:51 PM

Jim beat me to the "sea change" line.

Just as we all revere and applaud precision and clarity in speech and writing, so we must react to intentional abuse of language with contempt and loathing.

Surely the author must know that a hope of picking up a few legislative seats in a lame-duck mid-term election is not a "sea change." On the contrary, that someone should attempt to call it so is testimony that another sea change has already taken place.
Thus we must keep reminding ourselves that truth means less than nothing to those people.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 28, 2006 1:59 PM

Rick - OJ's right - what color is the sky in your world?

84% support for minimum wage hike? never.

The Dems have said they will raise taxes, defund national security, prevent any reform to SS/Medicaid, reverse the Patriot act, and so forth. These are winning issues with the American public? No.

The list of corrupt Dems this cycle alone (Reid, the one in LA with money is his freezer, etc) matches if not exceeds the GOP.

Posted by: AWW at October 28, 2006 2:02 PM


Acting like a naif ill becomes you. How much wealth did LBJ start with and how much die with? The difference is the GOP prosecutes the Cunninghams and Abramoffs and dumps the Foleys.

Minimum wage is the exactly the kind of feel good legislation with no real world effect that the president can easily sign if they can get it past the Senate. They can do pointless stuff--they just can't make a difference.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2006 2:03 PM

Naif is right. Harry Reid has corrupted his entire family, William Jefferson was selling his soul to African interests, and Bill Clinton's pockets still have fortune cookie crumbs in them.

The congressman from WV 'sold' more than Cunningham, and Dianne Feinstein's husband has made tens of millions on Homeland Security contracts. And for mere venial sins, we have Barney Frank, Cynthia McKinney, and a host of others.

Corruption knows no party. The GOP has its share of crooks, but if Rick wants to argue on this lily pad, he's going to fall off and drown.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 28, 2006 3:26 PM

Trading favors is petty bribery. Bribing the electorate on a massive scale through welfare, nationalized health care, union privileges, jobs for life in government, and the like is corruption on a trillion-dollar-a-year scale. The whole Democratic agenda is corrupt. It is the trading of massive favors in exchange for power. They have almost no other agenda.

Posted by: pj at October 28, 2006 4:55 PM

The Dems have an agenda. They are the party of "look the other way".

Look the other way when people maintain multiple registrations and cast multiple ballots.
Look the other way when Dem officials are caught with their pants down.
Look the other way when caught in a lie.
Look the other way when a Dem official is shown to be surrounded by crooks.
Look the other way when the resume inflation is exposed.
Look the other way when the facts get in the way of the slogan.
Look the other way when a "spokesman" is shown have been an inciter of riots.
Look the other way when a Dem leader was a former Klansman.
(A list that's far from complete, in either generalities or specifics).

And these people still present themselves as our moral superiors.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 28, 2006 5:55 PM

Democrats are just easy. Difference between a $10 streetwalker and a $1000 call girl.

Posted by: Bob at October 29, 2006 12:42 AM