May we live in interesting times Posted by: mcq
on Thursday, November 16, 2006
Dale mentions the fun blogging should be for the next few years as the Dems take Congress and the Reps try to get it back. What's been interesting here lately is to watch triumphant Dems turn on each other. For instance, you have James Carville saying, in the wake of taking both houses of Congress, that Howard Dean, the Chairman of the DNC, should be shown the door for incompetence. And not just plain old incompetence, but a far worse category: "Rumsfeldian incompetence":
Asked by a reporter whether Dean should be dumped, Carville replied, “In a word, do I think? Yes.”
He added, “I think he should be held accountable.” He added, “I would describe his leadership as Rumsfeldian in its competence.”
What has Carville angered is the belief that had Dean been willing to turn loose of some more money for certain races, the Dem tally on Nov. 7th could have been in the 50 seat area instead of around 30.
You can't help but believe that Carville speaks for the DLC Dems and especially the Clintons who have no love for Howard Dean. My guess is, given the obvious run Hillary Clinton is going to make in '08, that this is the opening salvo in the war to replace Howard Dean.
And then we have the Murtha/Hoyer race for House Majority leader. Neither are particularly wonderful choices but it doesn't take a very bright person to know that Hoyer is going to be less controversial and probably a better face for the Democrats than would John Murtha.
Pundits have said this is Pelosi putting her stamp on the 110th Congress and rewarding those who were loyal to her. Funny but this sort of loyalty, at least in my opinion, is part of what has landed Bush in hot water. And it seems a strange fight to pick prior to even actually assuming power. Obviously if Murtha wins, Pelosi "wins" in that she got her man. But with John Murtha speaking for the majority for two years (along with Pelosi), Democrat fatigue may come at light-speed. On the other hand, if Hoyer wins, Peolsi's leadership is weakened before she ever takes the gavel.
Strange fight, strange timing, but entertaining as can be.
Jules Crittenden also sees the political theater in the fight, but says it is more serious than that:
It isn't theater. Lives hang in the balance. Possibly thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. None of what I've described above, if you care about the future of America and American values in the world, is much good. All of it carries the threat of grave consequences.
We've entered strange territory since last week's election. We are waiting to see where power will reside and how it will be exercised. What vision will emerge and whether it has a prayer. We can only pray our leaders summon up the will to push forward a robust plan to destroy the militias and stabilize Iraq. But it may be that the best we can hope for is a bloody holding action at the White House and, along the 2008 election track, a Democratic leadership trainwreck.
Not a good start.
And on Iraq, it seems that consensus, at least among the generals, is "no" to any immediate pullout, er, redeployment ... and that would include those which fall into the 4 to 6 month category. As Dale noted, those generals even include the so-called "anti-war" generals who, if truth be told, were much more anti-Rumsfeld than anti-war. In passing, it is also interesting to note that their true sentiments about Iraq only managed to be published a week after the election. Regardless, they recognize that such a move would completely undermine the effort in Iraq and should be taken off the table. Carl Levin and John Murtha, obviously, don't agree. Still waiting for a comprehensive plan from the Dems, however. Time is running out for them as they are now going to have to come up with something besides "not what they're doing".
And to add to the fun, the Blue Dog Dems are feeling their oats. With the slim majority the Dems have in the House, they feel their little caucus of 44 should have some definite say in the legislative agenda. According to USA Today (apparently only in the print version):
Republicans "did not lose their seats to liberal Democrats. Republicans lost their seats to Blue Dog Democrats, said Rep. Mike Ross, D-AR. "We'll have a lot to say about what passes and what doesn't".
The Blue Dogs were formed in 1994 after Republicans swept the long-entrenched Democrats from power. They tend to be social conservatives on such issues as abortion and strong proponents of fiscal discipline — balancing the budget and reducing the federal deficit.
Or said another way, much more natural allies with Republicans in "fiscal discipline" department, than traditional Democrats. What their bloc will most likely mean, one hopes, is group which can help defeat the worst spending inclinations of the more liberal side of the party. But it may also mean a leadership tussle for Pelosi.
And the Republicans don't escape unscathed. Trent Lott? Mel Martinez? Sheesh.
In addition to Iraq/Iran policy, congressional debate on free-trade issues could terminate the Dem’s fragile coalition. If CAFTA, or another regional accord like NAFTA, is floated, I expect the party’s America-phillic, big-business factions to peel-away from it’s Euro-socialist, anti-capitalist wing.
One example: the debate over Free Trade in Central America intersects neatly with renewed public pressure to reign in illegal immigration from Central America. If Republicans and Democrat centrists play this line-of-intersection very carefully - that is, if they confidently and clearly make the case that developing Guatamala, Nicaragua, and Mexico will stem the flow of immigrants in the long-term (something every sensible person can understand), then the Dem’s Kucinich, "anti-Globo" wing will have to explain why nurturing systemic Central American poverty is good for America, and Mexicans.
I’m beginning to understand why Mel Martinez was chosen to head the RNC. -Steve
Pundits have said this is Pelosi putting her stamp on the 110th Congress and rewarding those who were loyal to her. Funny but this sort of loyalty, at least in my opinion, is part of what has landed Bush in hot water.
Yes, and it’s also the cronyism that Pelosi railed against. She was right that the Publicans were engaging in it, but did anyone believe that either of the two major parties don’t engage in cronyism? The Black Caucus is doing it too, as they want a black committee chair to replace the corrupt William Jefferson, so they demand a crony get a high position. Pelosi will oblige if at all possible, and it looks like she will oblige with Alcee Hastings, a man possibly more corrupt than Murtha.
WOW, what a tragedy: the Dems have independent thinkers! It’s so much more comforting to trot out talking points nitwits. That way, we can all just read from a common script, and we’ll be saved the necessity of thinking or weighing contradicotry viewpoints. It’s so difficult to take off the party-line goggles, why even bother. Bring on the robots!
Laime, you seem to miss the less-than-subtle point that the Democrats are no different than the Republicans. Both engage in corruption, cronyism and self-aggrandizement. Democratic independent thought? No.