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Democrat ’06 plan: politically positive points and investigations
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, May 07, 2006

Buoyed by polls which show that 51% prefer Democrats to Republicans in Congress, Democratic leaders are finally putting together a plan to take the House in '06.

Let's review how the Repubicans did it in '94:
To seize control in 1994, [Dick] Armey said, Republicans needed three key ingredients: scandal, which was provided by House members' abuse of the House bank and postal system; a policy fiasco, provided by the Clinton administration's failed national health-care plan; and a coherent plan of action, which came with the "Contract With America."
Two of the three ingredients have been present for some time. But what has been lacking is the third item - "a coherent plan of action" by the party.

That was then, this is now. Democrats are now promising the following during their first week in charge:

  • Their leaders said a Democratic House would quickly vote to raise the minimum wage for the first time since 1997.
  • It would roll back a provision in the Republicans' Medicare prescription drug benefit that prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services from negotiating prices for drugs offered under the program.
  • It would vote to fully implement the recommendations of the bipartisan panel convened to shore up homeland security after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Democratic leaders said.
  • And it would reinstate lapsed rules that say any tax cuts or spending increases have to be offset by spending cuts or tax increases to prevent the federal deficit from growing.
Now, that's a plan to take the House who's four points even Armey has to admit "really, frankly, are not too bad."

And if they stopped there, with four politically appealing points on which to base their campaign for the House, you'd have to tip your hat to them and say, "not bad!"

But not content to stop there, they do a bit of overreaching in my estimation, and promise investigations which might make their stay as the majority in the House to be rather short:
Pelosi also vowed "to use the power to investigate" the administration on multiple fronts, starting with the task force convened in secret by Vice President Cheney to devise the administration's energy policy. The administration has successfully fought lawsuits since 2001 that sought to reveal the names of energy company executives tapped to advise the task force.

"Certainly the conduct of the war" in Iraq would be the subject of hearings, if not a full-fledged House investigation, Pelosi said. Another subject for investigation could be the use of intelligence on Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction to make the case for the 2003 invasion.

Hoyer added that he would like to see investigations into the extent of domestic wiretapping by the National Security Agency, and the billions of dollars wasted by contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, again, this is my opinion, but investigations on multiple fronts isn't the most politically savvy thing to do when you first take power. It smacks of, well, politics and revenge. And if anything should have been learned in the Clinton years, the American people get very tired very quickly of repeated investigations of their presidents and their administrations.

Do the positive stuff first then consider the negative. Or said another way, get past '08 by demonstrating the ability to get things done, not attack past perceived problems.

That's not to say all investigations are out of bounds. For instance, it wouldn't bother me at all to see the "wiretapping" questions investigated and settled. But there's a good way to do that, politically, and there's a bad way.

Given how inept Republicans have been during their time in power, you'd think this would be a no-brainer for Democrats. But apparently it's not. Their four points will be politically appealing because they're easily quantifiable and easily attained, and could, if they act on them promptly and in positive manner, carry them through '08. But go negative early and the possibility exists that even if they win in '06 it could all go away in '08.

UPDATE: John Dickerson of Slate comes to exactly the same conclusion.
 
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And it would reinstate lapsed rules that say any tax cuts or spending increases have to be offset by spending cuts or tax increases to prevent the federal deficit from growing.
And this is good how? We will REPEAL THE TAX cuts and INCREASE spending? If you think this means that the Democrats have "got it" about spending or deficits I think you’ve got another think coming.... It only means that the GWoT and OIF II and the tax cuts will be cut so that Democrats can spend money, probably more money than they "save" in the process of cutting funding and repealing tax cuts.

Bottom-Line: You’ll see INCREASED FEDERAL SPENDING and lose your tax cuts. I thought the bug-a-boo hereabouts was that the Fed’s were spending too much, not that they weren’t taxing you enough...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe: The post is about the politics of what they’re doing, not whether, necessarily, anyone agrees it’s "good" or not. It’s about the politics of winning an election in ’06. Those on the left will tell you the points are "good". Those on the right will probably disagree. The question, however, is will they win politically.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I see your point, but I I’ll comment again, on the politics....So the Democrats raising my taxes is going to get my vote? Is it going to get YOURS? Will it get the votes of many independent voters? Because that’s whet the point of the program means... and it’s obvious. It only took me about 10 seconds to figure it out and I’m not Karl Rove. The rest is OK, but that point is OBVIOUSLY a not well-veiled call to increase taxes.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Now, again, this is my opinion, but investigations on multiple fronts isn’t the most politically savvy thing to do when you first take power. It smacks of, well, politics and revenge. And if anything should have been learned in the Clinton years, the American people get very tired very quickly of repeated investigations of their presidents and their administrations.
I am sorry McQ. But the Bush administration will not have the Mainstream Media cover for them as they did with Clinton.
 
Written By: Paul L
URL: http://kingdomofidiots.blogspot.com/
PaulL,

The public seems to not always follow what the MSM says, otherwise we’d be talking about President Gore right now.

I think a large majority of people are willing to give Bush benefit of the doubt on wiretapping decisions taken after 9/11 and the Iraq intel.

and if I am a GOP strategist, I would be make damn sure any investigation of Iraq intel includes the intel that was used for Operation Desert Fox in 1998. Because it never changed.

Also, since we know the CIA is full of principled individuals willing to leak "the Truth" to the media, why don’t I remember any major stories screaming, "CIA: NO WMDS IN IRAQ"

Because its a 20/20 hindsight game.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Will it get the votes of many independent voters?
That’s the gamble Joe ... will the combination of a scandle, a policy fiasco (whether your agree or not that the policy is a fiasco) and a politically positive, easy to understand and fairly easy to pass agenda work again as it did in ’94?

Even one of the Republican architects seems to think the 4 points are "not to bad"? Given the public’s seeming fatigue with all things Republican, it would seem a pretty good gamble, wouldn’t you say?

All I’m saying is that even if it works, if they go play the "lets investigate everything", they stand to hand it all back in ’08.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Also, I wonder what happened to the Kerry plank about lowering the overall corporate tax rate while cutting out some loopholes that encouraged US investment in foreign countries.

That seemed like a smart Dem plank to me.

I guess the economy is doing too well for them to think they need to look like they want to help out business.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Okay last comment:

How about war fatigue?

Does the public really want the news blaring day after day about congressional hearings on these subjects?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Pelosi also vowed "to use the power to investigate" the administration on multiple fronts
And the GOP just "won" the midterms (by win I mean retain control of both houses)

Thanks for firing up the base and alienating those in the middle Nancy....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
But not content to stop there, they do a bit of overreaching in my estimation, and promise investigations which might make their stay as the majority in the House to be rather short:
You hate Democrats. Your estimation of their actions is - frankly - worse than worthless.

And your insincere, unsolicited advice is nonsense.
Now, again, this is my opinion, but investigations on multiple fronts isn’t the most politically savvy thing to do when you first take power. It smacks of, well, politics and revenge. And if anything should have been learned in the Clinton years, the American people get very tired very quickly of repeated investigations of their presidents and their administrations.
Really? Whitewater started early. Of course it came to nothing. But the GOP eventually re-took the presidency, running in large part on Clinton’s various ethical problems.

If you think investigations accomplish nothing politically, you have been asleep for the last 12 years.

You have done this before, McQ. You offer these words of caution to Democrats when truth be told you would prefer to see Dems crash and burn. (In the end, your hatred of Dems - real, unadulterated hatred, is what most defines you as a winger.) Why do you even waste your time?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
MKUltra,

What I think McQ would like to see is the Democrats become a real contender by moderating its left wing, and thus drive the GOP to do better as well.

What I think you would like is to have the Democrats win without moderating and rule with a ’hard’ liberal stance.

I guess that might drag the GOP leftwards if it happened. But I doubt it will happen.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
But the GOP eventually re-took the presidency, running in large part on Clinton’s various ethical problems.
Not to mention that President Clinton couldn’t run again and the Democrats attempted to run a robot for their presidential candidate as a replacement.


But sure, MK. Whitewater did wonders for the Republican party. Y’all just go ahead and go for it.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
You hate Democrats. Your estimation of their actions is - frankly - worse than worthless.

And your insincere, unsolicited advice is nonsense.
It’s not advise, MK. It’s an analysis of their apparent plan. Who I like or dislike ideologically has little to do with my point here.

The fact that the best you can come back with is a juvenile whine about hating Democrats is telling.
Really? Whitewater started early. Of course it came to nothing. But the GOP eventually re-took the presidency, running in large part on Clinton’s various ethical problems.
And what were the results for various Republican leaders in the House after impeachment (the House being the subject of interest in this post). Ask Bob Barr for instance.
You have done this before, McQ. You offer these words of caution to Democrats when truth be told you would prefer to see Dems crash and burn. (In the end, your hatred of Dems - real, unadulterated hatred, is what most defines you as a winger.) Why do you even waste your time?
As I’ve said any number of times in the past, I’ve become a fan of gridlock. The institution I’d want to see go to the Democrats would be the House. I don’t think either party as they’re presently configured and led do any of us any good. So frankly I would like to see the House in Dem hands (I think a "Speaker Pelosi" would be the gift that keeps on giving) and the Senate remain in Republican hands and then, unless it is Kerry, Clinton or McCain, I don’t much care who ends up in the WH.

But you’d know that if you could get past your 4th grade analysis.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ,

"As I’ve said any number of times in the past, I’ve become a fan of gridlock."

Which would seem to be an endorsment of—’steady how she goes’—the mean course of the last several decades

You like how it’s been going?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl , & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
You like how it’s been going?
Actually Tom, I’ve come to discover that the Republicans seem to make a much better minority party than majority party, however I’m willing to live with them controlling the Senate and the White House for the time being and until that third seat is filled on the SC (and I’d probably want them to remain in control of the Senate for a while since they’d be an excellent anchor to the House Dems).

Frankly, I like a divided congress ... so, yes.

I’ll point out that the last gridlocked (or mixed) government, in terms of size and fiscal reasponsiblity was much superior to this single party administration we now have.

So yes, domestically, I liked how it was going then much better than now. Surpluses (which should have led to tax cuts), less government, less spending.

On the foreign policy side, I’d tend more toward a conservative Republican than another Bush Republican and certainly any moderate or liberal Democrat. But I could probably live with a Joe Lieberman Dem in the WH.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’m more okay with McQ giving this sort of advice than psuedo-democratic tacticians giving it, which makes them want me to gut them like fish. I’ll get to that in a minute.

McQ, as this version of the "Democrats- stay timid" argument is structured, it’s somewhat logical. You’re right that the investigations didn’t work well for the Rethugs - or are you? Clinton’s approval ratings stayed high, but we lost 2000 anyway. You can argue that that the GOP investigation leaders sacrificed personal popularity and short-term success to further confuse, intimidate, and splinter the democratic party, reinforcing the "weak and bloated giveaway artist" image that led the Republicans to capture all three brances of government.

In this argument, the only thing that matters , long term, is driving home a smear on the other guy with ruthless intensity. That’s how I see the basic Republican game book since the late 70’s. (sure, there were policy ideas in there, but I’m talking about political tactics. I’ts kind of like actual war - focus on the jugular and never back off it.

Even if you don’t buy that argument - which implies that investigations, period, are the way to go for democrats, especially with such a ripe natural target, because aggression wins power -

even not buying that argument - investigations don’t always backfire. See Watergate.

Argument 2B is that all investigations are not created equal. I.e., the Whitewater investigations backfired because they were full of doody, massively overpursued, overhyped, and over-consiprized, and pursued with much dishonest and rule-bending conduct all out of proportion to the vague and marginal ethical lapses that might or might not have existed relating to property-value inflations from decades ago.

On the other hand, secret prisons... that has more inherent weight to it. It’s less likely to backfire. Especially with a public face of somber concern.


However, the prior poster had a valid point, in that we hear this a lot from pseudo-democrats, as well as from partisan republicans who definitely do want us to lose. They tell us "stay timid, ignore the "moonbats"", because they’ve been able to rape us politically by portraying us as timid, indecisive, and unwilling to fight for our beliefs since Dukakis. And they want to keep doing it. They give us advice so that we may choke on it, and choke still blaming ourselves for it.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
McQ, as this version of the "Democrats- stay timid" argument is structured, it’s somewhat logical.
I didn’t at all say "stay timid". You can’t stay timid and pass the four points outlined in the article.

What I said was:
Do the positive stuff first then consider the negative. Or said another way, get past ’08 by demonstrating the ability to get things done, not attack past perceived problems.
IOW, do the positivie stuff, gain the confidence of the voters going into ’08 and then, after that election, if so inclined, start investigating.

BTW, read the John Dickerson cite (from Slate) I posted in the update. He finds the same problem with investigations all over the place as well ... and for the same reason.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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