Sunday, December 23, 2007

Their Own Worst Enemies

John Judis from The New Republic and Ruy Teixeira from The Center for American Progress have a piece in today's Washington Post entitled "Get Ready for a Democratic Era". I have been saying this for a long time - the vaunted "realignment" Karl Rove and other Republican operatives carried on about only showed how myopic he and they were. The Republicans have had the kind of run over the past forty or so years that should be the envy of most political parties. They have set the agenda. They have controlled the White House for all but twelve of those years. They controlled Congress, either directly or through alliances with conservative Democrats, for most of this same period. Even now, some Democrats, too used to being cowed by Republican dominance, do not realize they no longer need to fear them. Indeed, while Judis and Teixeira are correct, they miss the fact that the coming Democratic era will not include the current Congressional "leadership" unless they recognize the changed reality around them. The game has changed, and with a new game, new players are needed.

The opening of the article is succinct, and needs to be memorized by every Washington insider who still believes that Karl Rove is a political genius:
Karl Rove's grandest aspiration was to create a Republican majority that would dominate American politics for a generation or more. But as the effects of his distinctive brand of fear-mongering fade, it's the Democrats who are poised to become the country's majority party -- and perhaps for a long time to come.

While the Democrats continue to cave in to President Bush's every "demand", for reasons I can only assume are based in the fear of Republican name-calling, a habit of cowardice that, while understandable, is inexcusable, this paragraph sums up why Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Harry Reid need to thumb their noses at the President and his lick-spittles in Congress and go about their work without a thought for the hissy fits they will throw.

The Republican's time is up. Unless these folks, and many others like them, want to be pushed aside, they need to recognize the changing political climate around them, and change themselves. In other words, lead, or get the hell out of the way.

The article itself is an object lesson in how the parties need to see the country. With the exception of the invocation of the non-existent "Reagan Democrats", the article is a profoundly good one. With a slew of retirements, with the political, demographic, social, and cultural changes that have been moving forward since the mid-1990's, the prospects for any Republican candidate at the national level is not good; for some, retirement seems the better option than losing.

The fracturing of the Republican coalition, personified perfectly by the libertarian Ron Paul facing down the war-wongering John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani, even as Republican crowds boo him, should be evident for all to see. Meanwhile, the emerging Democratic coalition of liberalized suburbs, racial minorities eager to move civil rights to the next level, and a general nation feeling that Washington-based politicians are not listening to the people on the issues that matter, including health care reform, the environment, fiscal soundness and probity, and infrastructure investment - one wonders how the ceaseless babble from the nattering classes, the mindless invocations against taxes and terrorism are anything else than the memorized choruses of those whose imaginations are as shriveled as their souls.

Yet, the Democrats, as they have amply shown this year, can still screw this up, by refusing to yield to the new realities around them, and giving pride of place to such useless people as Reid, Hoyer, and Pelosi. They are a drag on the party's fortunes; their constant babble is not matched by anything but the actions of political cowards, and they have yet to accept they stand against a President who's approval ratings have not even been close to 40% for over a year. Yet, still the wipe their brows, and shuffle their feet, afraid the Republicans will mangle them in the press, or at the polls, if they stand up to Bush. They have failed to accept the most basic reason they were handed responsibility in the first place - to stand up to Bush.

I have no doubt that 2008 will be a Democratic year. Should the next Congress re-elect Nancy Pelosi Speaker, Steny Hoyer Majority Leader, and Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader, I fear that all the possibilities will be pissed away, as they continue to defer to Republicans, who will howl even louder in the minority than they ever have before.

Virtual Tin Cup

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