I desperately want the far right Republican party out of the Whitehouse and out of Congress and out of our lives. Our country was founded on principles that they do not believe in. They are non-patriots, despite all their flag waving, and we need them gone. And gone soon.
I am careful to say the far right Republicans because I'm not against all Republican planks. I just can't stand the hypocritical- morality driven, big deficit, big government, big brother Republicans that are running their party today. I've heard them called the American Taliban and I think the shoe fits. If there was a real revolution and the party came back to represent true American values of liberty and justice for all, I might consider their candidates. In the mean time I want them out. Did I mention that I want them out soon?
In our system there is but one choice: the Democrats. I like the way the Democratic party has run our country in the past. I think that if the Democrats were in control again we'd have a balanced budget. We'd have less intrusive government. We'd have a more "American" America. I don't subscribe to all that I hear Democrats espouse, but on the whole, I'll take it. And I will certainly take it over the mean spirited tax-and-spend Republicans of today.
So, we know that the polls show that President Bush and the Republican party is on the ropes. If the election were held today the Democrats would be back in power by a handy margin. Oh! But the election is not being held today. And that's where the problem comes up.
The title of this article says it all. I'm afraid the Democratic party is going to blow it. I'm the first to admit that I'm no great political analyst, but I've seen a few things that bother me. I thought it was time to write them down here. The first entry will catch up on some observations to date and as time progresses I'll add more.
September (?) 2005
Howard Dean and Letterman - My God. Did you see that man? First Dean said some promising things about knowing that the party has to win more than just the states on the coasts. The party knows that it has to move to the center some. Then there was the meltdown. It went something like this:
Letterman: What are the Democrats all about this time?
Dean: We're the party that's going to clean up Washington. Dean smiles broadly.
Letterman, with a sour face: Oh come on, that's what every party says. There are a few scandals on both sides. What are you going to do to solve our problems?
Dean: Ummm, ahhh, we unh, are umm, working... planning... what a boob! He sounded like Bush taking questions at a news conference.
Dean was totally unprepared for the most important and basic question of all. He hemmed and hawed a lot and finally came up with a couple of old saws about education and blah, blah. His presentation was embarrassing.
Then Letterman brings up Dean's previous night on Larry King Live. King had asked about a brewing Republican scandal and cover up. Dean fumbled for an answer and came up with "they're not going to be able to... ahhh... hide the salami on this one." HIDE THE SALAMI??? Shit. This guy is trying to appeal to a more conservative middle of the country and he comes up with this. What's worse, his explanation on Letterman left me cold.
I was so outraged by this that I fired off a Letter to Feinstein to complain. Not that it will do any good.
A point for the Republicans.
President Bush has clearly broken the law. I don't agree with the nicely presented arguments of Alberto Gonzales; the only one I've heard defend the President in a logical manner. I'm not buying the revisionist history Bush presents... "Oh let's see. We had three tests that we considered. First, would it be legal? Second, would... blah, blah, blah." I've been caught in some dust ups in my time and after the fact thought about how it should have gone down. Might have gone down. Oh right, that's how it did go down. Bullshit, I say. The fact is that President Bush believes he has a divine right to do whatever he wants, even if it violates our Constitution.
The fact is, Bush broke the law. The fact is, more than half of Americans polled believe he might have broken the law.
The Democratic party is deeply offended by this. They love the fact that many Republicans in congress are also offended by Bush's actions. The Democrats have used the issue to pump up the Bush hating moderate voters that will be their swing votes in the next election. I see people who already think Bush is a bad president revved up over the spying charges. They are more outraged than ever! Great! Super! Go, go, go!
Now the Democrats should drop it.
Why? The Democrats think this illegal action by President Bush can be pushed to their advantage. They think it's payback time for the impeachment of Clinton. Well it is not. Payback in politics only comes after you win an election, never before.
In my opinion more than half of the voting population doesn't think the illegality of the actions is any big deal. I think the majority of Americans are buying his "I had to do what it took to protect us from terror. Oh - and of course it was legal." A majority of voting Americans don't see this warrant less domestic spying as part of a systematic process to erode our fundamental rights. They just don't care that much. I think this is born out by the aggressive stand the White House Republican propaganda machine is taking. They are unapologetic about their actions. They are even proud of what they did "to defend America."
If the Democrats keep pushing this they will lose more of the voting public. They are giving the far right Republicans a platform to stand on while painted the Demos as soft on terrorism.
The Democrats have gotten a lot out of this issue, but they've gotten all they can. I fear that they will not be able to stop and this will turn into another positive event for the Republican Taliban.
Alito - good or bad? Bad, I think. Obviously evil? Hasn't been proven yet. Sneakily evil? Maybe, we won't know until we see how he rules. Filibuster? Dangerous.
That's kind of the bottom line: a filibuster is dangerous to the Democrats. They had days of hearings to ferret out some obviously evil history on Alito and were unable to do it. And, certainly they were not able to do it to the satisfaction of the majority of American voters. And in the end, that's what counts.
So. We have a nominee that is too far to the right for my tastes. I would very much prefer a very liberal Supreme Court. We just don't have a winning argument against him. If the Democrats go to a filibuster with this weak case I'm afraid they will be painted as "obstructionist." In fact, if the Republicans are smart they might let the filibuster continue for a week before they break it. They might just let it continue until the polls show that Democrats are seen as no better than Republicans at running government.
Let the filibuster run until the polls say that Americans "want the government to get back to business." That should put another nail in the Democratic coffin.
LATE JANUARY NEWS - Well, not *all* the Democratic leadership is in favor of the filibuster. This is very good news. By splitting the party it can be seen to appeal to both the strong left who wants to stop Alito at all costs, and also appeal to those in the middle who might even like Alito's view on morality. Sweet!
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I'd postulate that the Democrats arranged this so that they could keep their loyal base and yet still hang on to the middle ground voters. Ah, if only they were that smart.
Ok, I was wrong. Way wrong. The Dems held it together and took back congress. Thank God. I worked on the MoveOn get out the vote calling. I hate telemarketing, but odd times call for odd actions. I made a couple of hundred calls to close races all over the country. I'd like to think that made some difference. The question now is what will the Dems do? I hope we get some middle ground legislation. The Dems won with the help of centrist voters and we can't alienate them now. We have to remember how Newt lost power by playing powerball politics. The Dems need to show that they can represent the majority of Americans. That's the way to the Whitehouse in 2008.
At last I feel like the tide has slacked. Not turned, but slacked.
Jim Schrempp is a sometimes freelance writer (only Vanity Press will publish his work) living in Saratoga, California. His writings have appeared on numerous pages on his own web site. The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else.