Sunday, October 02, 2005


George Bush's numerous lies and blunders would seem to present the Democrats with opportunity after opportunity to weaken his and the Republican's choke-hold control of our government. The reality is, however, that the Democrats have not forcefully and consistently exploited those opportunities and there are two principle reasons for that. The first is that they have no compelling, agreed upon alternative vision to offer the American people. And the second (which, in part, explains the first) is that the power of the Democratic party is too much in synch with what the Republicans are doing to effectively distinguish themselves to voters. I have asserted before in my posts that we really do not have a two-party system because, in practice, the policy and program similarities between the two are greater than their differences.

For example, despite his rhetoric to the contrary, Bush has promoted "big government" in several areas, to the point of alienating true conservatives. Traditionally, big government has been identified with the Democrats. So, they can't take him on on that account. Moreover, with few exceptions Democrats in Congress voted to support Bush's war on Iraq. Even today, only a few lonely anti-war Democratic voices can be heard. All the Democratic noise criticizing the John Roberts Supreme Court nomination turned out to be empty bluster. Time after time, when the opportunity to offer a different, hopefully better, position on an issue has presented itself the Democrats have abdicated their responsibility as an "opposition" party and simply conceded to the President and the Republican majority.

So who in government now represents the majority of Americans who want an end to the war? In truth, no one. Once again, the people are out ahead of their so-called representatives and are resorting to mass action to drag their Senators and Representatives forward to do their will. The reluctance of those elected officials, of course, is tied to their own self-interest--they place their chips on the colors they believe will get them re-elected, regardless of what is in the public interest.

Since the Katrina tragedy/Bush travesty the buzz has been about the large opening it has given the Democrats to make hay for the 2006 elections. There is lots of talk about impeachment. Ramsey Clark has collected over 600,000 citizen signatures on his website. Though there is no chance now for initiating impeachment with this Republican controlled Congress, some can taste it with the possibility that the Democrats may be able to wrench control in 2006. The bad news for Republicans keeps coming: DeLay indicted, Scooter Libby decides to reveal himself as the second White House leak in the Plame case, Delay's replacement, Blunt, looking like he too has skeletons in his closet, and so on.

I suppose even a mindless backlash in 2006 would be an advance. Hopefully, it would serve to contain the remainder of the disastrous Bush agenda. Of course, I would prefer that Republicans (and fellow-traveling Democrats) get dumped because progressive politicians running on platforms favorable to the real needs of our people and our country simply beat them on the strength of their offerings. Alas, this is but a fantasy. Even if the Democrats take control of one or both houses all we can really expect is a continuation of the ping-pong, tweedle-dee tweedle-dum pattern of American politics every 4 to 8 years going back forever. Unlike science, technology and medicine, which continually progress and improve, American politics and government only moves laterally--two steps forward, two steps back. It is built into the system. The system needs an overhaul!

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